Wednesday, March 22, 2023

Will HRs Be the Lead Torch-Bearers for Organisations To Thrive in 2020s?

Deserted office spaces. Unwanted layoffs. Rapid forced changes across organizations. A decade that many predicted to be a potentially lucrative one has gotten off to a moribund start, casting dark clouds of anxiety across HR departments and boardrooms.

But at the end of every storm, there is a golden sky. Yes, we’ve all been dealing with challenge after a challenge during the first year of the 2020s, but let’s not lose sight of the opportunities in front of us. India, for instance, is slowly but surely enhancing its standing as a nation that is increasingly able to attract talent after it climbed eight positions in the latest Global Competitive Index. With the country reported to house the world’s youngest population this year and have the world’s largest workforce by 2027 (according to United Nations population-projection data), this decade still presents plenty of room for optimism.

The key to thriving over the next nine years and beyond is how we manage every organization’s greatest resource: our people. This is where the role of the HR function will be magnified, especially in dealing with the newfound challenges faced with recruitment and employee engagement, as well as finding the solutions to build a company that is competitive and innovative.

Winning the battle for top talent

Pandemic or not, the best companies want to hire the best employees. Like in cricket where the best batsmen get you the most runs, outstanding employees positively impact revenue and add an edge over competitors.

But COVID-19 has bowled us all as a bouncer. Prospects can no longer be courted by physical benefits of the job such as swanky office spaces with foosball tables, free-flow buffets, and fancy travel.

The battleground is now digital. One way that recruiters can attract the best people is through building up a well-known track record of investing in employees’ growth through digital talent development. A recent LinkedIn report revealed that 59% of employees joined companies that provide learning opportunities, which ultimately aids in their career growth. The power of digital learning is set to intensify, especially with more professionals working remotely and digital natives playing an increasingly important role in the workforce.

With a killer combination of embracing technology and valuing employee growth, recruiters can hit their competition for six in their quest to hire the cream of the crop.

Moving away from obsolete criteria when hiring

Another important shift that recruiters should prioritize is how they evaluate candidates for vacancies. For far too long, factors such as university degrees and years of experience have taken precedence during hiring processes. This would have worked in the 90s and 00s, but the harsh truth is that the workplace has moved to a different playing field. There are a variety of other skills that are more crucial in today’s landscape, especially with significant portions of professionals working remotely. Hiring employees who are good on paper but lack the ability to thrive with the new norms could hamper a business’ quest to be relevant and competitive.

As a result, what we need to look at today, for example, is a candidate’s ability to collaborate with teammates virtually. Do they have the project management skills when working with colleagues dispersed all around the world, across numerous time zones? Can they operate independently and do they have the resilience to thrive while dealing with the distractions of working from home? Are they agile and proactive to the rapid changes we are going to continue facing in this decade?

The challenge, therefore, is to differentiate candidates who are doing well in today’s virtual and unpredictable world from the paper professionals of the old school. This can be done through understanding a prospect’s ‘digital behavior’, and how they work virtually. With learning made extremely accessible through digital means today, it is also worth finding out if candidates have invested in personal development to adapt to today’s unique circumstances. Factors such as a person’s level of curiosity, desire to learn, and the ability to adapt paint a more comprehensive picture of their potential as compared to what they learned in university ten years ago.

Making this a roaring decade for HR leaders

Not many of us can predict how long this downturn will last, but whether or not we come out of this grim period stronger is all in our hands. This is a time where the strength of employees will be required the most – which is also the reason why the role of HR professionals has never been more important than it is today.

With a strong desire to invest in employees’ growth, an agile mindset when adopting digital solutions, and a sharper eye for relevant skills, people leaders are well placed to enrich our companies with the spectacular talent required to not just survive but thrive in the 2020s.