As businesses incorporate technology and make advancements in structure and teamwork, human resources (HR) must keep up in order to continue advocating for employees and helping businesses meet industry standards. Here are five new practices you can implement to improve human resources at your organization.
1. Prepare for a more diverse workforce
As the workforce diversifies in many social aspects, it also diversifies in the types of jobs people are doing. Many employees are contracted or gig workers and the workforce overall is more open to switching jobs more often. Your HR team must be prepared for these new workforce priorities and trends. Make sure there is information available for each common set of priorities. Remote work and increased automation will also have an impact on the support HR teams must provide. You will need to be able to create a reliable online infrastructure to assist and support remote employees, whether they work remotely due to distance, travel or the pandemic. You’ll also need to be aware of how automation affects the transient, permanent and remote workers and be prepared to assist workers in reskilling during and after automation if necessary.
2. Leverage new technology
Technology is helping many businesses advance their product and service offerings, as well as streamline workflows and improve accuracy and efficiency. Your HR department can use technology to automate repetitive tasks such as scheduling and payroll processing in order to allow the team to focus on more strategic endeavors. You can also leverage machine learning and data analytics software to quickly and easily research and disseminate important information to employees, facilitate automated helpers like chatbots to help employees find information about things like benefits and create retention strategies. You can even incorporate different apps and software options into one HR department intranet or webpage for more streamlined interactions between employees and your HR team. For example, an online time card calculator can make it easier for your employees to keep track of the time they spend on various projects, keep their schedules organized and get help with their time cards or organization from your HR department when they need it.
3. Encourage Human Resources education
Aside from just providing new and improved talent incentives and more ways to access information and resources, HR departments should turn some of their focus inward. The same employment and workforce trends that affect the wider talent pool, such as contract work and new technologies, can affect HR too. You can work with these trends by encouraging continuing education and job training for your HR team. You can encourage employees to seek certifications or take business strategies courses and provide training with new technologies.
4. Be agile
Like many other departments, there is a trend toward agile workflows in HR. Your HR team must be able to keep an eye on modern workplace trends and work on ways to provide competitive benefits and policies. For example, make sure your benefits packages offer broad appeal to the more diverse modern workforce. This can include implementing financial and mental wellness programs, expanding maternity leave to last longer and/or include paternity leave too or expanding flextime and paid sick leave. While you can’t change these programs as easily or as quickly as you can make software updates or provide maintenance, you should allow your HR team to regularly review your policies and implement changes when appropriate.
5. Focus on individual support
All of these changes require your HR department to provide increased individual support. Business strategies such as retention and recruitment are becoming more intertwined with HR, so your team will likely be more involved in designing and implementing those strategies. Additionally, as businesses compete more for the most skilled employees, values like work-life balance and healthy workplaces become more integral to these strategies. This means your HR team will benefit from increasing the focus on individualized support, consulting with employees on what they need as individuals rather than focusing exclusively on ensuring compliance.
Keeping abreast of HR trends can be incredibly beneficial to your employees and your business as a whole.
Mikkie Mills is a freelance writer from Chicago. She is also a mother of two who loves sharing her ideas on interior design, budgeting hacks and DIY. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing the little ones around or can be found rock climbing at the local climbing gym.