As many companies look forward to post-pandemic operations and consider ways to trim staff and be more competitive — an “an enabler of business transformation,” according to a 2020 Deloitte report — they are also looking for human resources to be more efficient.
The coronavirus pandemic has provided a unique opportunity for many to reassess the value of HR, according to HR Dive. In recent years, the drive to outsource everyday functions such as employee training and paycheck processing has “led to a fractured employee and candidate experience” as employees are directed to more and more outside resources. But the demands of the pandemic, including setting up and abetting remote work, handling higher levels of employee stress and burnout, tending to health and medical issues, handling the cybersecurity concerns of a distributed workforce and now helping coordinate a return to the office, have sparked a reconsideration of the role.
HR professionals are being asked to take a more strategic role in the company and work more closely with organizational leaders. A survey by outsourcing firm Paychex found 9 in 10 HR pros had a voice in larger strategic planning, and another report authored by The Hackett Group noted that strategic advisory was a priority for the field in 2021.
Some see this outgrowth and shift beyond merely administrative tasks as a temporary pandemic-era shift. But in light of the challenges of talent retention facing the CRE industry as well as a widespread desire to attract and promote more diverse talent, it may follow that the work of HR intersects with many more key company decisions. New opportunities, such as recruiting remotely to help attract talent from underrepresented groups, require the unique expertise many HR staff have gained in the previous year.
Written by Patrick Sisson