How exactly has HR been impacted by the pandemic and how have HR roles changed in the fallout? Sage People conducted a research report across 1,500 HR leaders, executives, and employees to investigate just how COVID impacted HR. Here are the top 4 ways HR has changed, potentially forever.
Here are some high-level findings:
- 87% of leaders believe the pandemic has accelerated changes in HR
- More than a third of employees believe HR has become more responsive
- HR is getting the recognition it deserves across organizations – the time to capitalize and drive your organization forward strategically from a people perspective is now!
1. HR is More Influential and Visible Across the Organization
Since the pandemic, there is an increased understanding of HR’s role as part of the organization. Here are some stats:
- 72% of survey participants think the pandemic helped HR teams demonstrate their value to the organization.
- 65% of HR leaders said their teams had a vital role to play in the pandemic. This included driving valuable change, enabling remote work, and instilling more work-life balance.
HR is more needed now than ever before to disseminate important safety information regarding COVID and updates as well as hiring challenges in the fallout. HR is now a very visible department. If you’re not measuring your impact as an HR department, here are 7 key HR metrics you need to start measuring today (and how to measure them!).
2. New HR Focus: Enabling the Agile Workforce
Priorities continue to shift and adjust as we enter this post-pandemic phase. HR leaders are less focused on productivity, paperwork, and compliance – new priorities have taken shape.
The new HR agenda is directly affected by the challenges driven by the pandemic: almost-daily CDC updates, testing mandate news, opening and closing branch office, COVID outbreaks at the office, the “Great Resignation”, employee scarcity, and more.
The new HR agenda is: Agility! HR departments now must be able to swivel on a dime to relay news and safety information to the company at large including safety and wellbeing, effective work-from-home setups, sustainable performances, and evolving regulations.
3. COVID-19 Transformed Perceptions of HR
A View of HR from the C-Suite
According to the Sage survey, 87% of c-suite members say the pandemic has accelerated changes in the HR field. Since the pandemic, 57% of c-suite leaders now see HR leaders as equal partners in the organization, whereas prior the value HR brought to the organization was more opaque.
It seems that pre-pandemic, there was a perception gap in which the c-suite underestimated HR’s workload and role in the organization. At one time, 57% of c-suite leaders thought that HR was largely an administrative function. Nowadays, 79% of the c-suite say that the HR workload isn’t manageable and that the amount of work they need to take on is boundless.
A View from the Employees
60% of employees surveyed noticed a change in HR’s role: to be more people-focused and less organization-focused.
57% of employees think the pandemic was a catalyst for HR to drive more business-related decisions about employee health and involvement in the workplace. Finally, probably the most important statistic is that 54% of employees feel they have an improved understanding of HR’s role and value to an organization including how HR has a direct impact on: flexible work policies, workplace safety, and workplace policy management.
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COVID-19 Powered the Digital Transformation
Company-wide digital transformation was already a priority pre-COVID, according to 94% of c-suite and HR leaders.
During COVID, 58% of HR managers thought that the need for digital transformation increased during COVID-19, 75% of respondents reported they now use HR tech software programs, and 67% of HR leaders have an increased interest in HR tech investment compared to before.
Ways to Push for Digital Transformation
- Address overwhelming workloads with automation
- Build flexible working days with remote capabilities
- Make business cases for HR tech adoption
- Enhance c-suite relationships
- Put more confidence in HR teams
As an HR leader, you’ve seen tough times in the past year+, but you’re not alone. We know that if you’re in HR, you are strong, resilient, and ready to tackle what’s next – we’re here to help! Join one of our upcoming webinars, subscribe to our industry magazine HR Jolt, or check out any additional free employer resources.
- Fully Interactive Onboarding Template
- Request Employees for your Open Roles
- Emergency Preparedness Checklist
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