It’s a busy time for HR.
That’s putting it lightly, according to one CHRO I spoke with recently. The reason? They were already hiring when people started handing in their resignations and cashing in their backlog of vacation time back in April.
Now, HR teams and talent functions that already had their hands full find themselves with an ever mounting back log of work to be done. As a result, companies are on the lookout for HR talent with more aggression than any time in recent history. Job postings on Indeed for human resource positions were up 52.5% in June, a bigger jump than any other sector on the site.
While other sectors are higher than normal as well, this trend points to something many in HR already knew, many HR departments have been understaffed and overworked during the pandemic.
As the pandemic reached its height with layoffs and furloughs becoming more commonplace, it wasn’t unusual to see recruiters posting their own resumes to job boards and wondering what would come next for them. As a recent article from Forbes noted, a quick search for “recruiter” on LinkedIn now yields close to 270,000 results.
Will It Slow Down?
How long this trend lasts remains to be seen, but it’s not a great leap in logic to believe it won’t be before the end of the year when you look at the factors driving it.
Beyond hiring, HR is at the center of reshaping organizations right now, from how we onboard people in global and virtual workforces to figuring out the hybrid work environment and developing new ways to manage performance. The nature of these challenges is that they’re long term challenges that are forcing businesses to rethink their approach to people.
Automation may be killing some jobs, but it’s also been shown to be a creator of many more and while reskilling/upskilling the workforce has long been a priority, it’s one that has now shifted into a mandate as companies grapple with changing skill needs. HR, in the entirety of the function, from talent to L&D and diversity and inclusion teams, has to have the personnel on hand to deliver the people that will make the business goals a reality.
While hiring may slow, the longevity of the positions and the need for HR to continue developing its skills remains strong.
New Skills for HR
While there’s been a wild swing in the demand for HR professionals, there’s been also a swing in the skills required for the work. For one thing, remote or hybrid working requires a level of thought and intention that the pandemic never actually provided. Why? Well, the truth is we haven’t actually been doing remote work.
“What we’ve been doing for the past year isn’t remote work,” HR Exchange Network contributor and Head of Remote at Gitlab, Darren Murph, said in an interview with Forbes. “It’s pandemic-induced work from home. There are many benefits of remote working that can’t be accessed right now, and the stressors of the pandemic are creating an added layer of complexity to what a typical remote worker would usually experience.”
Moving forward, HR will have to establish positions or even teams that oversee remote workers and ensure the quality of their experience. Without systems and processes in place to ensure success of remote efforts, hybrid and remote teams may be setting up for failure from this moment on.
Meanwhile, technology’s role in HR is growing at an incredible rate. Automation is allowing HR professionals to focus on more pressing human concerns than manual tasks, however, HR teams are going to need to develop or acquire some of the skill necessary to manage these systems.
“Technology provides an opportunity for HR to reinvent itself through a systems approach to building talent intelligence,” says Wagner Denuzzo, Head of Capabilities for Future of Work at Prudential. “Most HR leaders and professionals need to build core competencies such as workforce analytics, predictive modeling, and be comfortable with complexity that’s intrinsic to a sophisticated HR technology architecture.”
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