Adapting to the Next Normal using technology

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The pandemic has forever changed how businesses and workforce operate, communicate and collaborate. According to a Gartner survey, 74% of CFOs plan to shift some employees to remote working on a permanent basis. Organizations are also considering to replace full-time employees with contingent workers to save money and stay flexible. New models like sharing of talent pool and paying in proportion to the work done are also on the rise. And it is only a matter of time until these novel practices become the standard operating procedure.  

Accordingly, the role of HRs is evolving too. Right from hiring to onboarding to the training of employees, HRs are having to re-invent and revamp the pre-established policies and processes. The enablement and engagement of its workforce, as employees shift to an anytime-anywhere work style, is also the HR's responsibility. And an increasing number of HR professionals have turned to technology for the required support on this new journey to:

Overhaul HR systems

Mundane HR processes, such as recruitment and onboarding, processing leave requests, and payroll should be automated to streamline these processes. A single HR management software can be used to take care of these routine processes, freeing-up HRs to take up newer, more critical responsibilities in workplaces of the future. HR management software such as Workforce Now and Zoho Recruit can be explored to streamline and digitalize the recruitment process. Tools built on data and predictive analytics capabilities must be introduced to HRs for a data-driven approach to tracking of employee productivity, increasing employee engagement and creating meaningful employee experience. 

Digitalize employee onboarding

Onboarding has always required face time, but the pandemic has shown that virtual onboarding too (when done right) can be just as successful. You can create a well-structured virtual onboarding program using software such as Oorwin and Fresh team. Gamification software and tools can be leveraged to create a fun and engaging virtual onboarding experience. To do away with the paper-intensive onboarding processes, HRs can consider emails and newsletters for communication, e-forms and digital signatures to collect candidate data and online sessions for employee training. A dedicated portal can also be built to automate the entire onboarding journey for a new hire; giving the employee one-stop access to all resources and credentials they need to kickstart their new responsibilities. 

Though considered an IT responsibility, working remotely now needs HR intervention. The IT and HR teams need to work in tandem to create the right policies and framework, and to provide a virtual work-friendly infrastructure. This includes providing employees with laptops that have integrated webcams, speakers, heavy-duty software such as CAD/CAM to enable remote design, ideation and collaboration. Besides this wifi dongles, headsets and ergonomic furniture need to be part of the work-from-home kit. Having a digital ticketing system in place can enable HR to streamline and facilitate the virtual work system.

Double-down efforts to reskill employees

Organizations have either accelerated their digital transformation efforts or taken incremental steps towards it. This has made certain roles, such as data scientists and cloud architects, highly valuable. The current crisis has also highlighted the need for leaders to develop soft-skills, such as leading with empathy. Third-party learning platforms such as Coursera, EdX and Udemy can be utilized for reskilling and upskilling your workforce. Building virtual online campuses for training and development, and encouraging senior managers to hold in-house training sessions using Webex or Zoom tools can help the workforce stay relevant.

And whilst doing all this, it shouldn't be forgotten that remote working is not for everybody. Some employees may have started to feel a sense of isolation and anxiety. Virtual workshops can be conducted to create a sense of mental wellbeing and connectedness, so the workforce continues to stay engaged and productive.