The year 2020 has been unique in more than one way. It sees the beginning of the 20s in the 21st century and is the year when the worst pandemic hit the planet in over a hundred years. In sum what the year 2020 has done to the world of employment is exacerbate the pace of embracing technology to assist humans, and in some cases, taken away the latter’s employment and replaced the same with better and faster output that with time may prove its costs. The pandemic and humanity’s response to it has cast quite a shadow on trends in HR solutions for the year and from the looks of it, could influence HR decisions for quite some time in the future. Here are the likely trends in HR solutions in the coming year.
Increased use of AI in HR-related decision-making
HR decisions aren’t simply a tactical decision these days. They are long-term, strategic, and in most cases, decide the direction and scope of an organization’s growth. HR decisions today aren’t simply about filling the blanks with apparently “capable people” without in most cases knowing fully if the person’s attitude matches that of the job’s necessities. There was a time when the entire HR exercise right from deciding about recruiting to actual recruitment right down to employee exit was a matter of routine with precious little going in the name of thought. With stiff competition and the need to succeed at all costs, getting and retaining the right person(s) is becoming quite a task which nevertheless has to be done with speed so that the organization goes quickly from strength to strength. Helping the organization take the right decision at every turn could be the big-data assisted AI system where organizational data and those of the industry or even the entire economy is scanned using proprietary systems to decipher precise trends about what employees want, be it in terms of money, position, responsibility, growth, productivity-cycles, times of downturn and many, many essential details, basis which the most appropriate decisions to recruit can be taken.
Less of structures in HR recruitment and more about experiences
Gen Z does not understand the dynamics of structures, and why an organization needs them. Bolstering their view is the outcome of the present pandemic where the concept of “work from home” is gaining grounds not only in the present to obviate a tough situation but is likely to be around as a way of employment. Structures, the pandemic shows, are quite unyielding and truly unnecessary when the situation so demands. The world of employment, in times to come, will be more about getting work done and less about pandering to one’s ego in terms of position and designations. As such, the world of employment could increasingly be flat where an incumbent joins an organization to do specifically assigned activities in which he or she has some specialization and likely an education. Such a person, at no stage, would seem obligated to the organization. In fact, given half an opportunity, most could want to start an enterprise of their own which would match their capabilities, ideas and thoughts, and deal with an employer as an equal. In such a situation, the HR recruitment cannot be commanding (or demanding) activity in an organization and would have to go out and make the right impression on the likely recruit as to why he or she ought to join the organization. The ascent could be on giving Gen Z the right experiences right at the beginning so that the latter gets the right feel of the organization.
Competition isn’t only in the field of products and services. It extends also to getting and retaining the right employees. For this reason, on the same lines that employers use to promote their products and services, organizations may themselves have to be promoted as ideal places where prospective employees may want to work. Remuneration and emoluments remain central to an employee’s needs without a doubt. But when it flattens out across a spectrum, the elements that catch the eye are issues like the organization’s culture, their views towards women in employment, work from home, holidays, free-time, on-the-job education and upskilling and so on. These days employers are rated on their work in CSR, environmental conservation, girl-child education. Such social initiatives shall all be ideal grounds on which an employer’s brand may be developed in days to come.
Reskilling and upskilling existing employees
Even before the pandemic, the issue of reskilling and upskilling has been central to the issue of HR. The pandemic only exacerbated it by increasing the numbers who today are without a job. This in addition to being an outcome of the industrial slowdown brought about by full and partial country-wide lockdowns, is also due to the increasing trend in most industries of going for robots and other mechanized systems for jobs of fixed and repetitive nature. For the HR department of organizations which have the wherewithal, the issue of reskilling and upskilling is very pertinent for many reasons. First, the manpower itself may have skills which can be diverted to other uses. Second, it’s a dire need which makes a great way of serving society, and third, it is one of the best modes of branding where the commitment of an employer comes across very clearly.
Flexibility in place of work
Deloitte, A US-headquartered Audit, Consulting, Advisory, and Tax Services MNC has closed all its four brick and mortar offices in the UK while giving its 500+ employees the option to choose where they would like to operate from, home or any other place. Most software consultancies, Fintech firms and those dealing in services worldwide learnt lessons from the lockdown phase of Covid-19 pandemic and are in the process of scaling down operations and investments in Brick and Mortar and are instead moving data and systems online to facilitate decentralized operations from wherever their employees and associates deem fit. It’s not without its own share of drawbacks but those don’t count in the face of savings in travel, renting, upkeep and related staffing. This could be another trend in HR solutions for the new year!
Accepting the entry of Gen Z
There were the millennials who couldn’t understand Gen X and Y and the oldies before them. Be it the way they see jobs, the need to keep jobs, education, hierarchies, pay structures and so on, they have views that are rooted completely into the present with everything in the past being a legacy which serves either no purpose or very little. With time unlikely to roll back to the “Good Ol’ Days” any time soon, it’s for the industry to accept the Gen Z with all its apparent eccentricities which include a penchant (from birth) for gadgets, systems and things that remain anything but rigid and give more than a passing chance to change for the better.
In the end, what shall remain is human needs which changes with time, and is most evident across generations. The year 2020 could then be the watershed year which brought with it, unprecedented pain as also barely expected gains to the world including all our industrial and economic activity. Looking ahead, the years from now could see some very obvious changes and adjustments. Only time will tell whether all of them survive and bear fruits.