Back to business? HR’s role in the new normal

'You can see the influence that HR can have on not just corporate strategy but actual corporate success going forward'

Back to business? HR’s role in the new normal

How can companies go ‘back to business’? What’s HR’s role in managing the transition into our current ‘new normal’?

If CHROs have learned anything from the past few months, it’s about the company’s ability to support employees “almost exclusively”, said Mark Barling, senior sales director at Achievers.

As some countries like Singapore make plans to open up and dive into a ‘new normal’, it’s become clear that that exclusivity may not be the best course of action. It’s thus leadership’s job to strike the best balance and find the new ideal working model for the company, said Barling.

Read more: Back to the office? The HR checklist for returning to work

“What does the new normal represent for [companies] that potentially means back to business?” he told HRD. “The next step is [asking] what our new operating model will be.

“What’s now going to be a priority for organisations is what actually makes the most sense from an operating model perspective for us, the business. Because what the employees may want, as a result of the COVID impact, i.e. working from home, great flexibility and all those sorts of things may actually not be the best thing for the company.

“The company’s lens now needs to start to come back and almost balance up that, ‘yes, we had to send everybody home and everybody liked it, but actually, it's better for the business if at least 75% of our workforce is in the office at any point in time’. It's that type of balance that’s now needed.”

Read more: Return to work: What employees expect from HR

Opportunities in the new normal
Barling, who will be speaking in an exclusive webinar on HR’s role in the new normal, added that whatever happens next, HR will continue to play a pivotal part — if leaders banked on the opportunity to do so.

“What’s absolutely vital is that the new normal represents an opportunity for HR to elevate themselves in conversations when it comes to corporate strategy,” he said. “This is a high chance moment.”

This is the moment that CHROs can really make real impact on the long-term viability of an organisation, he said. This means that leaders can be involved in everything from setting policies and procedures to secure business continuity, to being the custodian of the ‘human’ in human resources.

“You can see the influence that HR can have on not just corporate strategy but actual corporate success going forward,” he said.

“I think this is a moment for HR to grab with both hands and really assert themselves that isn't just about compliance, governance and ticking boxes around safety and all of those sorts of things. This is now about HR being deeply involved in corporate strategy.”

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