This article is part of our new State of Employee Feedback Series which will interview a diverse mix of HR experts and thought leaders with a goal of better understanding their perspectives on the current state of and future of HR.
The following is an interview we recently had with Murad Salman Mirza, Corporate Management Advisor & Global Thought Leader.
The HR industry is generally going through a period of profound self-reflection while engaging in meaningful transformation as it recalibrates the conventional notions of sustaining a motivated and productive workforce. It is trying to be as lean as possible by embracing relevant technology that can lead to efficient solutions, especially for organizations that are in a ‘survival’ mode while overcoming the challenges associated with the COVID-19 pandemic. Consequently, the operational nature of HR is steadily yielding the way for the strategic nature of HR with raised expectations from senior HR professionals in terms of being business-savvy and not just being functional-savvy.
However, the increased pressure driven by the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic in terms of being at the forefront of ensuring massive layoffs and derailing career aspirations of fellow employees under the directions of a desperate organizational leadership in ‘survival’ mode has also forced HR professionals to rethink their own career paths as they revise their priorities with a renewed emphasis on health and wellbeing. Many are opting to go into consultancy/advisory roles or work for employers who are more open to a human-AI partnership model, rather than seeking replacement options for minimizing the ‘humanistic’ element.
The nature of the workforce is also impacting the HR industry since the presence of multi-generational workforces requires a delicate balance in terms of managing specific expectations, especially, in terms of enriching experiences during the employee lifecycle. The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly upended the institutionalized workplace policies/procedures/practices as hybrid working has become a significantly preferred option for employees during lockdowns and restricted contact conditions.
Consequently, the astute organizations are opening up to technological solutions that are aligned with the ‘new normal’ emerging due to the revising/refining of the existing workplace policies/procedures/practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic for maintaining a veritable status as a viable ‘going concern’ as they lay the groundwork for the post-pandemic phase.
I work as a Corporate Management Advisor and have observed that the sensitivity of employees in my client organizations has increased significantly about having a ‘voice at the table’ during the time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Following are some of the most common challenges that my clients are facing in terms of managing employee feedback and reporting:
I work with clients in multiple industries so generally my advice for organizations looking to improve employee feedback culture is:
HR will continue to become more and more strategic with the transactional nature of its conventional processes becoming a permanent part of its technological suite. The lines between a HR professional and a peer from another function will become increasingly blurred as organizations will rely on multi-talented individuals to take up the reins of its various functions.
Additionally, many of the conventional HR responsibilities will be transferred to functional heads/authorized representatives since they are the direct beneficiaries of the new talent and primary responsibility will be given to them for the growth and development of their team members under broadly defined HR policies/procedures/practices.
The name ‘HR’ is also likely to get diminished within the corporate landscape in the same way that the early notion of ‘Administration’ got marginalized as organizations evolved into mature corporate entities. Functional terms like Talent Management, Employee Experience and Organizational Development/Effectiveness will likely be more widely accepted successors to provide a more meaningful incorporation of ‘human’ talent within the corporate hierarchy in partnership with AI-driven entities that will acquire employee-like stature.
My role will increasingly take the form of an HR evangelist who enables professionals within the HR departments of my client organizations in becoming better at proactively managing employee needs and expectations with enriched experiences that galvanizes them to enhance their organizational citizenship behavior (OCB). Some of the relevant steps in the respective context include; the astute use of the most appropriate technology for operational efficiencies, streamlining succession pathways judiciously for ‘real’ talent growth and development, broadening channels of DIBE (Diversity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Equity) to augment core competencies of the organization, exhibiting a keen embrace of the ‘human factor’ in the refinement of business processes, cultivating and developing leaders who are futurists (focused on the dynamics of the evolving ecosystem surrounding the organization) and not just confined to being visionaries (focused on taking the organization to a higher level), etc.
It is prudent to always remember that it is easier to extinguish a spark of discontent with policies/procedures/practices that have empathy and kindness woven within them than to control an inferno of employee rage that has been fueled by consistent failures of the psychological contract from the organizational leadership, especially, during precarious times like the ones being seen during the COVID-19 pandemic.