If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s to expect the unexpected and be flexible. Businesses globally have required radical new thinking about what HR does and how it is built to deliver. Never has there been a time whereby looking after employee wellbeing has been so important. Whether maintaining the office practices, working from home, or on furlough, our teams have had to develop their resilience to adapt to a new environment. And who would have guessed that ‘furlough’ was to be such a topic of conversation.

But there’s more to 2020 than just the furlough scheme. Continuing conundrums in employment status and the use of transparency to drive social change have emerged as key themes and trends and look set to continue in 2021. A tremendous amount of reviewing, planning and expanding has been required to meet the organisation’s needs. As well as automating processes and embracing technology in an unexpected remote setting, all whilst embedding a culture to bring individuals together as a team.

Despite the early focus on processes, procedures and compliance, we must remember the importance of the people aspect of our work. And so, in early 2021, we switch our focus to designing an employee experience that responds to evolving demands. As we move into the New Year, our priorities move towards shaping a workforce and people function fit for the future. The challenge in such an innovative organisation is to become a pathfinding Human Resources function, focusing on distinct capabilities to chart our course to the future in a disrupted world:

  • Shaping and maintaining a purpose-led culture aligned with business strategies and higher level purpose.
  • Seizing the opportunity to empower the workforce to deliver for the future.
  • Creating a ‘customer-grade’, simple, and engaging experience for employees at work.

If the lasting legacy of 2020 wasn’t enough, we’ll also be preoccupied by some of the bigger questions thrown up by the past 9 months, which have fundamentally challenged our ideas of how we work. Now is a good time to listen to the people within an organisation, look to utilise the technology to truly understand the needs and motivations of employees and develop individual capabilities to land the overall objectives.

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