I was recently asked what International HR Day means to me and it got me thinking! 

The theme of this year’s day is about our role as a profession in leading change to improve working lives. Also it is about not slipping back into traditional ways of thinking and working.

The theme implies we are leading a future that will be more inclusive, flexible, participative. One which will benefit workers, organisations and society as a whole.  This links in perfectly with the CIPD’s Purpose “to champion better work and working lives for the benefit of individuals, businesses, economies and society.”

2020 was a year like no other and 2021 promises more of the same.

This has and will continue to represent an unbelievable opportunity for the HR profession.

To demonstrate its value in terms of playing a key role in sustaining organisations through these times and contributing to the success of the UK’s economy. 

The enormous changes that have been seen in our social and working lives have resulted in Boardrooms, Line Managers and entire workforces looking to their HR Leaders for support and guidance on how to navigate the “new normal”.

The challenges to date have proved extraordinarily demanding to navigate:

  • Furlough
  • Flexible furlough
  • Social distancing
  • Dealing with symptomatic absences
  • Shielding and self-isolation
  • Flexible working
  • Home working
  • Redundancy
  • Ensuring employees’ wellbeing is supported
  • And so much more

HR in the future

The ongoing challenges present HR with a tremendous opportunity, and responsibility. This is to provide guidance on the strategies, skills and capabilities that will be needed to be successful over the next decade as the “new normal” continues to evolve. 

This will mean rethinking HR’s focus and priorities.

Issues such as individual and organisational resilience, organisational trust and safety, creativity, innovation, team working and data literacy take greater and greater prominence.

HR will need to rethink its raison d’être and find ways to generate:

  1. Flexibility and peace of mind for its workforce
  2. Coaching solutions to keep leaders and teams on track
  3. New ways of setting and managing achievable goals
  4. Even greater wellbeing with a focus on healthy mind, healthy body
  5. Creative ways to look after their people
  6. Ensuring purpose continues to drive company values and ethos

Looking after your people

There’s no doubt business performance is coming under increasing strain.

This is as the  economy seeks to recover and businesses re-establish themselves in familiar, or even new markets.

Because of this, the phrase “we can’t….” is going to have to be turned around and adapted to “how can we…?”

High performing, successful teams are founded on strong engagement and wellbeing, supported with inspiring leadership.

So, it makes absolute business sense to look after your people. 

The latest Good Work Index Report from the CIPD highlights the importance of employers promoting healthy working practices. The CIPD advises companies to ensure that its managers are well trained in having supportive, sensitive discussions on wellbeing.

For more on this topic, read A Basic Guide for Managers: Addressing Mental Wellbeing in the Workplace

What’s more, companies and managers will need to recognise the importance of promoting existing health and wellbeing benefits. 

Find out more on Reward & Benefits here

The stats found by Engage for Success are incredible – and hard to ignore. They found that:

  • Employees with high wellbeing are 35% more engaged in their work
  • Employees who eat healthily are 25% more likely to have higher job performance
  • Absenteeism is 27% lower for workers who eat healthily and regularly exercise
  • Employees who feel cared for are 27% more likely to stay with an employer

Inspiring leadership will be critical and HR must be able to support leaders, managers and their employees to adapt to a new set of requirements.

What’s next for HR?

Do we have all the answers?  Absolutely not.  Are we ready, willing and able to take on the challenge?  For the future of the HR profession…..absolutely!

#InternationalHRday #HRshapingthenewfuture