Agility and essential skills
One of the biggest challenges HR professionals set to encounter is acclimatising to a hybrid working environment – and knowing the difference between a distributed, remote and flexible workforce. Workforces will shift from being remote first to a blend of some employees working strictly from the office, others permanently from home, and those that move in between.
HR professionals will need to be curious and think fast to be able to redefine the HR competencies and capabilities required to lead workforces in these different scenarios. There’s going to be no one-size-fits-all scenario.
That means understanding and defining the different business models and strategies that are needed to manage those different demographics and situations, and how you’re going to define performance. When back into the office, how to achieve the same connection, social community in collaboration, innovation, humility and enjoyment with those who remain working from home?
This is where heightened EQ skills or ‘essential skills’, come into play. There are new rules of communication and engagement in a 2D versus 3D environment, and HR professionals will need to be able to get the sense of wellbeing, position, frame, body language and intonation in these different settings.
Essential skills are going to be fundamental for HR to assist the management cohort to understand how each of those groups of employees are going to work, as well as how they themselves are presented.
Data literacy and business acumen
The need for data has never been more pertinent in the HR profession. Crunching numbers to measure employee performance and wellbeing during periods of remote work, return to work and hybridisation will be necessary to identify any new trends that may impact delivery.
Employee surveys can help both HR, managers and the business to know where they need to invest their energy, what the risks and opportunities are, as well as assist in the decision-making. HR professionals need to become strong data analysts; crunching numbers and provide facts.
It’s not just about gathering quantitative employee data, but again using essential skills through observation to contextualise this data.
Another vital HR skill will be business acumen. The only way people analytics can be utilised effectively is through financial literacy. HR needs to understand what the financial mechanics of the business are, why the business operates, what market it operates in – and particularly what it is trying to achieve including identifying resources.
Knowing when, where and how to hire in an increasingly unpredictable job market can free up HR for more strategic tasks. Competing for talent can be made more straightforward with a strong employer brand and messaging.
There should be done a lot of work around the employer branding. With a hybrid workforce looking set to become the norm, HR also needs to consider sourcing talent from a wider pool of candidates. There’s also the need for a keen sense of cultivating internal talent. With limited budgets, HR should help managers figuring out how doing more with less.