The changing role of HR in the New Normal

Industry leaders need to look beyond the pandemic

The changing role of HR in the New Normal

The role of HR has evolved over time. Previously tasked with compensation, compliance and benefits, today’s HR professional is charged with supporting every aspect of the success and well-being of a company’s greatest asset: its employees.

Factor in advancing technology, increasingly intersectional and diverse offices, a new generation of forward-thinkers, and the rapid workplace culture changes brought on by the pandemic, it’s clear that HR’s role is taking centre-stage in the “new normal.”

According to a recent study by Udemy, 55% of HR professionals believe the field is radically changing and the focus going forward won’t be on recovering from the pandemic, but transitioning to digital roles completely, requiring new and diverse skill sets. 

Beyond hiring, retention and growth, HR professionals are now stewarding the employee experience and are seen as strategic partners for every department within an organisation.

HR leaders also understand the importance of diversity in the workplace. Organisations are evolving to cater to and attract employees of diverse backgrounds.

According to Peter Kokkinos, Vice President, APAC at Udemy Business, HR’s commitment to Diversity, Equality and Inclusion (DE&I) in the workplace is paramount.

“It is now more important than ever to build an atmosphere of inclusivity in any organisation. HR leaders should be constantly striving towards making DE&I a committed pillar of organisations and their employee experience,” says Kokkinos.

Organisations are best positioned when they empower their employees to adapt to work and seamlessly transform towards agile learning. This helps employees face future challenges because they’re encouraged to always be learning, which can  make them more resilient problem solvers.

“I believe companies are stronger when they foster a robust learning culture, empowering employees to be more adaptable,” highlights Kokkinos.

“At Udemy, one way we embrace a learning culture is through our monthly DEAL Hour — that stands for ‘Drop Everything And Learn.’ It’s one hour, once a month, where employees across the organisation focus on learning about anything they’d like to learn about,” said Kokkinos.

“When the pandemic hit, we wanted to make sure our employees had the opportunity to develop a variety of skills, including soft skills such as resilience, coaching, stress management and well-being courses,” noted Kokkinos.

“Encouraging our own employees to learn new skills that may help them during this time is not only important for their own mental well-being but also important for our overall employee experience.”

A learning culture also goes hand-in-hand with a feedback culture. By learning how to give and receive feedback with a growth mindset, employees become more aware of development opportunities.

Kokkinos added, “At Udemy we focus on the concept that ‘feedback is fuel.’ Strong leadership skills depend in part on having the courage to receive feedback. I think that’s the only way you’ll know whether you’re effectively leading, and be able to acknowledge the areas you need to improve.”

HR is undergoing a massive transformation. But the pandemic is not entirely to blame. The pandemic merely highlighted and accelerated a trend that we believe had been growing for years — a focus on the people who power organisations. In practice, the new function of human resources sees HR managers building agile teams that work across every facet of the employee experience.

Udemy has recently released a free ebook titled ‘The Skills that Will Define the Future of HR’, showcasing how HR is changing and how to face these changes head-on. You can download it here

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