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What will the HR industry see in the post-pandemic era?

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As the country begins on the path of recovery post-pandemic, workplaces are starting to look at how the past 14 months have shaped the business landscape and what this means for 2021 and onwards. Here are some of the key trends and changes the HR industry could witness in the not-too-distant future.


The pandemic kickstarted the shift to digitalisation for all types of organisations, and it’s no different for HR. Many departments have now integrated digital HR database systems and apps into their practices, and it’s safe to say these will most likely take over any old modes of working for good.

Digitalised systems allow for ease and time-efficiency when it comes to storing and processing data such as employees’ personal information and career progress. A centralised location containing employees’ data can also improve overall employee experience by making leave requests, training and goal-setting more accessible. Digital-first can also help with recruiting by allowing companies to track candidates and streamline the on-boarding process.

However, some organisations have yet to make the jump to paperless. Those who still work with manila envelopes and paper-clipped files are taking dangerous risks such as irreversible element damage, security risks and breach of confidentiality.

Whilst nothing can replace the personal interaction of a recruitment process, digitisation will at least ensure a quicker and more efficient process.

Adapting processes for graduates

During the pandemic, many 2019/2020 graduates have been made redundant, taken career changes or are still searching for employment, and the question of when they will catch up in terms of skillset and salary remains. Research by UK-based graduate jobs website, Milkround, has found a mere 18 per cent of graduates secured jobs in 2020 compared to the typical 60 per cent.

When hiring graduates, employers and recruiters alike must consider that they are seeking employment in one of the worst job markets since World War Two. They may have large gaps in their CVs and experience will have been scarce, so while an applicant’s CV may not be the perfect fit, it’s crucial to look beyond this and instead focus on their transferrable skillset.

An applicant may not have landed a high-flying marketing executive role in the last year, but they may have spent their time volunteering with foodbanks and building their portfolios and interests in other ways – a true testament to character.

Data-driven culture

Conversations around sustainability, identity, wellbeing and mental health will only become more commonplace so the need to implement processes and policies to make for a happier, more inclusive and productive environment will be crucial.

The current method of yearly staff surveys simply doesn’t do the job. According to research featured in Talking Talent, 58 per cent of respondents believe annual survey results do not help managers gain a better understanding of employees’ needs and wants.

More frequent and more in-depth data collection will undoubtedly be the way forward and this puts further emphasis on the importance of integrating digital HR tools and systems. Data recording can allow organisations to track and monitor patterns, celebrate successes and improve on areas where cracks may be beginning to show.

The future of remote working

For many of us, working from home has become, and will continue to be, the norm. The debate around remote working and its impacts on wellbeing and productivity is ongoing.

Concerns remain around the true impact on staff productivity, presenteeism and potential IT security risks, and the shift has resulted in many UK workers overworking and struggling to switch off. Therefore, employers and employees will need to work together to set boundaries which may help better manage implications of remote working.

On the other hand, many employees have reported to reap the benefits of remote working including an improved work/life balance, flexibility and financial savings. Business leaders unwilling to become more flexible may risk losing staff.

Nevertheless, this is an unlikely story. Our most recent Welfare Report found 93 per cent of employers will be offering their staff a hybrid working model. Whilst a fantastic step forward for all employees, employers and HR teams must now look towards new challenges such as the costs of office overheads, managing the flexible schedules of large teams and allocating days at home whilst ensuring the office is manned five days a week.

Over the past year, we’ve seen many changes to the HR industry, and we will continue to do so. Employers and employees alike have already made impressive efforts and steps to adapt, so to continue this upwards trajectory, businesses will do well to take advantage of the opportunities that have arisen.


Read the full article at HR Director.


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