HR Roles

How the Covid-19 pandemic will transform HR roles – Business Post, Sept. 20th, 2020

Since Covid-19 changed the way we work, the role of the HR professional has come to the fore, with new positions in the field likely to be created as a result

Business leaders and employees are turning to their HR people for guidance on how to navigate the world of remote working and everything that goes with it

The way organisations operate has changed and possibly forever. Almost overnight, the Covid-19 pandemic has forced companies to adopt new operating models in a bid to ensure business continuity and keep employees productive and engaged.

With the country now officially in recession, it might seem a little odd to be talking about new skills, but despite the personal, economic and societal hardship there are also some opportunities being created.

Just as some parts of the tech sector are thriving, within organisations the role of the human resources (HR) professional has suddenly come to the fore. Both business leaders and employees are turning to their HR people for guidance on how to navigate the world of remote working and everything that goes with it.

With so many changes in the way we work emerging all at once, we foresee the role of the HR department becoming more nuanced, with niche functions and skills emerging as a result of the pandemic.

Here are four new HR roles which we think more organisations will be looking to fill in the next 12 months:

  1. Work-from-home director

In Ireland, the government advice continues to be: “Unless it is absolutely essential for an employee to attend in person, they should work from home.” A recent BBC survey of Britain’s 50 biggest companies, meanwhile, revealed that almost half (24) had no plans to get employees back to the office.

With working from home (WFH) set to become the norm for millions of workers, organisations need to make sure that their processes, policies and technologies are optimised for remote workers.

Enter the director of WFH, who will be responsible for putting all these measures in place and making sure that employees working remotely are just as engaged, and feel just as much a part of the organisation, as their colleagues in the office.

  1. The wellbeing officer

A major challenge for organisations throughout the pandemic has been managing employee wellbeing.

A recent HRLocker survey found that managing employee stress has been the greatest internal challenge for 40 per cent of organisations.

In order to minimise a legal backlash and maximise employee retention, expect to see more businesses appointing a dedicated wellbeing officer.

Their role will be to drive employee wellbeing as part of the broader organisational strategy.

With some companies already hiring for such a role, the job spec is likely to involve designing services and practices that nurture the emotional, physical, mental and spiritual health of all employees.

  1. HR business continuity director

Globally, few – if any – organisations had a plan in place to manage a potential pandemic. Covid-19 caught us all unawares.

The HR business continuity director will work with the c-suite, most notably the chief executive, chief financial officer, chief information officer and facilities director, to create a safe working environment for both on-site and remote workers.

They will be responsible for ensuring that there are clear protocols in place should such an event arise again in the future.

For those organisations that plan to re-open their offices, ensuring the safe return of employees to the workplace will be paramount. It will fall to the HR business continuity director to put in place sufficient and sustainable measures.

  1. The HR data analyst

The digitalisation of organisations has necessitated the digital transformation of the HR department.

Up until now, very few HR teams used analytics to help solve people challenges such as measuring productivity or gauging employee engagement.

The HR data analyst will be responsible for generating disparate data streams such as employee surveys, learning management systems and benefits portals and these will be used to help solve business problems.

The analyst will collect and compile HR-pertinent insights to help improve employee performance and drive better results for the wider business.

Adam Coleman is chief executive at HRLocker, the Irish-owned HR technology company

How the Covid-19 pandemic will transform HR roles – Business Post, Sept. 20th, 2020 was last modified: March 9th, 2021 by Ronan McDonnell

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