Adapting to Change in the Workplace: It’s Time to Empower Your HR Team

Like never before, organizations everywhere are being challenged to adapt to change in the workplace at a rapid pace, and their Human Resources (HR) departments are feeling the pressure.

Let’s examine the landscape. People are leaving the workforce or changing jobs—and even careers—at an unprecedented pace. Labor costs are going up. The exodus of workers leaves those who remain with unmanageable workloads, which leads to burnout. Meanwhile, the talent pool is getting confidently selective in its demands, while employee mental and physical well-being have become (in part) the responsibility of the organization that employs them. And that’s just scratching the surface.

Who in the organization is responsible for creating harmony from these agents of chaos? “Human Resources” (HR) refers to the systems and framework an organization uses to manage its people, including human capital strategy, talent acquisition, talent management, rewards and benefits, legal, and talent development. So, when solving for these complicated dynamics, companies look to their HR team.

Adapting to Change in the Workplace: Navigating an Undefined and Shifting Landscape

In today’s increasingly complicated workplace, it’s more important than ever for companies to consider the human side of their business. As obvious as this may sound, it’s actually a fairly significant shift in thinking.

Traditionally, it’s been commonplace for a company to see its employees as a replaceable commodity. Companies can no longer afford to take that approach. A recent study by Gartner shows that 82% of employees expect their organization to see them as a person. And HR leaders don’t need to be told twice, with 96% indicating that they are more concerned with employee well-being today than they were before the pandemic.

In addition to ensuring employee well-being, human resource leaders are tasked with finding innovative approaches to attract–—and retain–—elite talent. Among the problems they face is the fact that traditional approaches to incentivization are becoming less effective. To complicate matters, in today’s world there simply is no such thing as a one-size-fits-all approach to human capital management. Each generation of employees (and each subset within that) has its own set of engagement criteria. What’s more, this is all so new that there is no blueprint for what works and what doesn’t.

One thing employees seem to have in common is the desire to feel that they are on a well-defined route that is “leading somewhere” (i.e., not a dead-end job). They want clear objectives, and they want to feel that they are part of a purposeful, successful team. To remain competitive, this value orientation must be addressed by implementing human capital management solutions that automate, streamline, and improve workforce management operations.

Redefining Human Resources: Beyond Just Talk

The pace of these changes is untenable for companies that refuse to adapt their human capital management strategy. And for organizations that are struggling to adapt to change in the new workplace, HR is feeling the burden. A study by the Society for Human Resource Management reported that “burnout and exhaustion are widespread in HR, with 42% of teams struggling under the weight of too many projects and responsibilities…”.

In our rapidly changing landscape, where people issues have become the focal point of disruption, many companies have failed to redefine their perception of Human Resources and its vital role in the sustainability of the organization. After all, it is the HR team that sees, hears, and feels the brunt of the demands of the people in the workforce. But they too often don’t have a voice in influencing their organization’s strategy to address those demands.

Take as an example a company whose executive leadership has issued a blanket return-to-work mandate. With its ears to the ground, the HR team understands that several high-performing employees plan to resign before they would agree to return to a full five days in the office. The HR team understands the reason for the mandate from leadership: a belief that working in the same space builds camaraderie and improves teamwork. But they also understand the employees’ concerns: perhaps they feel that they have demonstrated the ability to work effectively in a remote environment and are not keen to return to a daily commute. No one is in a better position to craft a mutually agreeable solution to this conflict than the HR team. Too often, they are not empowered to make the kinds of decisions required to affect these solutions.

In many of the conversations happening surrounding burnout, overly simplistic solutions are suggested. Go for walks during the day. Practice mindful breathing. Go to the gym. Though perhaps well-intended, these platitudes place the burden of solutioning on the individual, deflecting the fundamental and systemic issues at play.

What overworked HR teams need right now is discussion and solutioning. They need to be heard and empowered (and staffed) with the people-power, tools, and decision-making ability to address the issues that they see in front of them on a daily basis. This includes:

  • Best-in-class tools to help them assess workforce capabilities and performance

  • A robust learning and development program to keep employees engaged and knowledgeable

  • A seat at the table in all decisions regarding human capital management within the organization

With the right tools and resources at their disposal–along with the inclusion and authority required to address human capital concerns–the HR team serves as a powerful ally to executive leadership in solving issues such as skills gaps, vacant positions, and employee turnover. This partnership between Human Resources and other areas of leadership helps the organization run more efficiently. An empowered HR team is motivated and engaged to design programs that directly contribute to hiring the right employees, designing professional development programs, creating cultures of resilience, and more.

Does Your HR Team Need an Experienced Helping Hand

GSX helps organizations develop innovative talent management and human capital strategies using multiple forms of credentialing and learning solutions. We work with your HR team to build resilience in your workforce through improved hiring tools, smart analytics, and a holistic plan that addresses today’s and tomorrow’s concerns. If your organization is struggling to adapt to change in the workplace, Global Skills X-Change can help!

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Kevin Edwards ⋅ (703)

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