Human Resources leaders are facing an inflection point. The world is accepting the realities of COVID-19 and moving away from shutdowns and isolation. But no one can return to 2019. The pandemic unearthed too many truths and accelerated the future of work. Employees gained leverage in the hiring process, and they are demanding better pay, more flexibility, and greater kindness in the workplace.
So, employers are transforming recruiting, employee engagement and experience, culture, and more. They are learning to communicate better and redefine work. HR Exchange Network is paying close attention to the topics that are resonating with our readers during this season of change. Here’s what they’ve been talking about:
Labor unions have always been a major topic of interest among those in the HR Exchange Network community. Undoubtedly, headlines about unionization of Starbucks in Staten Island, N.Y. and attempts at unionization at Amazon are bringing the subject to the forefront again.
The topic of unions can be challenging for HR leaders. After all, they are pro employee but must also address the needs of leadership and the greater organization. Sometimes, those various groups’ goals don’t align. Finding the right balance and learning how to negotiate with unions are among the to-dos for HR.
As the world moves into the next phase of the pandemic, employers are focusing heavily on individual employees. There’s an effort to try and address the unique needs of each worker. That’s probably why the psychological contract, an unwritten set of expectations between employer and employee, is a popular topic of conversation. By extension, employers are hoping to transform work culture and ensure psychologically safe workplaces, where people can collaborate and complete assignments without fear or tension.
During this time of dramatic change, HR leaders are seeking some direction to transform work culture. They want to better understand how leadership influences the culture of a place. This is one of the more challenging aspects of conforming to the new normal. After all, culture is not tangible and it requires different people to get on the same page.
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)
Employee activism increased during the pandemic. Sparked by the killing of George Floyd and rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, workers expect employers to provide safe spaces for a diverse team. Beyond representation, people are seeking inclusivity, so that all team members feel they fit in and can bring their whole selves to work.
People also want to move toward equity in pay and opportunities. In addition, as companies foster hybrid options, they keep the question of equality in the spotlight because many are concerned that in-office workers may get more attention than those working remotely. Again, leaders set the tone.
READ: Diversity: HR’s Role
Mental Health and Wellness
In the wake of the pandemic, people have had to deal with personal problems they might not have ever confronted. There’s a labor shortage and reports of an epidemic of burnout. As a result, employers are aiming to help workers cope, reduce stress, and address any mental health issues they are facing. These conversations are about HR’s role and responsibility for employees’ wellness and wellbeing. HR leaders are still navigating these new waters.
Generations in the Workplace
During the pandemic Generation Z joined the workforce, which meant for the first time in history four generations are collaborating. Baby Boomers, Millennials, Gen X, and Gen Z are trying to understand each other. People are showing the most interest in the newest generation of workers. They want to know what makes them tick, how to get the most out of them, and what kind of influence they will have on this new world of work.
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