HR Management & Compliance

The Evolving Role of HR: Redefining Responsibilities Post-Pandemic

As a tenured HR employee, you’ve likely worn a variety of proverbial hats over the years. HR inherently requires its people to stretch themselves and fulfill many different roles and requirements—from talent scout to employee therapist to conflict mediator.

The pandemic forced many in HR to explore their adaptability further. In 2020, HR professionals had to create work-from-home plans and provide the resources and platforms necessary to keep workers productive, motivated, engaged, and healthy.

In turn, these challenges highlighted how HR’s role in business strategy was just as critical as ever. Talent management teams became more involved in business continuity planning, which elevated HR into key leadership roles to help solve these crucial problems during trying times.

Even now, this deluge of additional HR responsibilities shows no signs of slowing. On top of their regular duties, today’s human resource management professionals are encountering new responsibilities like building return-to-work plans and exploring hybrid work options—all while continuing to prioritize mental health during these chaotic times.

These responsibilities create the “new normal” workplaces must traverse post-pandemic. And experienced, willing HR professionals can help them travel it successfully.

HR Talent Management Strategy Post-Pandemic

What is the role of HR in the workplace today? According to Gartner, HR leaders’ No. 1 priority in 2021 is to build out a foundation for employees’ performance by developing critical skills and competencies. Leaders will continue to be held responsible for pushing their organizations forward, particularly when it comes to talent management and engagement.

As an HR professional, your traditional responsibilities will continue to expand as the world reopens, employees return to the office, or your company adopts a hybrid model. Here’s what to do to take charge of your new role and use it to improve your department’s trajectory:

1. Put your oxygen mask on first.

With HR’s role expanding and its headcount remaining static, half of all HR professionals agree their stress levels are spiking. This shift could threaten individual HR and organizational performance if leaders don’t take the time to focus on their own resilience.

Just like the flight attendants tell you on an airplane—you have to make sure you’re able to breathe before you can assist others. The same goes for watching out for your mental health. Be more clear-minded and secure in helping employees navigate the uncertain waters of change.

2. Creatively look for win-win solutions.

You may never be able to please everyone. But part of the fun of an HR role is that it challenges you to think outside the box and piece together solutions that meet all stakeholders’ needs.

According to a PricewaterhouseCoopers study, talent management is a critical role for HR execs—and you’d be remiss not to leverage new technology to run it. Are you poised to support long-term digital disruption and transformation for your company as a positive outcome of the pandemic?

As you focus on team development, forward-thinking employee benefits and mutually beneficial work arrangements can simultaneously create a compelling employee value proposition that will result in improved engagement and attract top talent.

3. Keep pushing for a seat at the leadership table.

The nature of human resource management drastically changed as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Practically overnight, the lockdown elevated HR’s role in creating a strategy that drove organizational success. That responsibility will only deepen and continue as offices reopen and the new normal is established.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity this momentum has created for your role. Leadership teams trusted HR professionals to drive workplace strategy and business continuity planning during the pandemic, and this is your chance to keep that seat at the table. Your specific insights in 2020 played a vital role in organizational decision-making. You have an opportunity to build upon that foundation and prove the value of your influence in 2021.

As your role gains influence, it’s crucial to consider your resiliency and well-being. Today’s human resource management needs to continue to evolve its skills with this in mind and consider its well-being a critical competitive advantage to the lines of business it supports.

By employing self-care, finding optimal solutions for your organization, and elevating your role with leadership, you can meet these new challenges head-on—and set your organization up for future success.

Dr. Dan Harrison is the founder and CEO of Harrison Assessments. The company’s cloud-based technology provides secure, job-specific predictive analytics designed to enhance the candidate and employee experience.