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We are all aware that the future of work is ushering in a new world where things are in constant motion, where disruptions occur at increasing frequencies, where employee expectations, attitudes and dreams have a totally different shape from the present, where the unconventional and unusual replace the traditional and the accepted.
When the future of work changes, the HR function becomes very important. Not only do the HR professionals have to be aware of the changes that will happen, they have to be proactive and ensure that their companies are ready for the future of work. What accounts for the critical role of this organizational function? Let’s take a look and see what the reasons are.
Sense of what is right and what is not
HR is the guardian of the organizational culture of any company. It is the starting point for inculcating in employees a sense of what is right and what is not for the company. But we need to remember that organizational culture is not a unidimensional concept, especially in the future of work where things are in a state of constant flux.
The future of work involves a different breed of workers – across generational divides. They have varying skills and varying sets of expectations. The future of work also implies new technologies and new work techniques that are in a constant state of evolution. In this fluctuating scenario, it is the HR department that has to be continuously alert so as to monitor, guide direct and maintain organization culture. Companies with a proactive culture strengthen the roots of the organization.
Hire the most appropriate manpower
HR directs the recruitment policy of the organization. It therefore has to attract and hire the most appropriate manpower for its changing structure and requirements. It has to consider the current and potential upheaval in the new workforce – their changing character and aspirations. It has to keep in mind the changes in how people look for jobs – online job hunting is a major force today. And finally it has to nurture the millennials who want flexibility and engagement in the workplace. HR thus has the unenviable task of working out an integrated, holistic recruitment strategy for hiring people in the future of work.
The workforce of the future is more concerned with engagement and involvement, less so with other job related factors. Higher the engagement, higher the happiness quotient of employees. HR has to manage varying employee expectations and the employee experience – it has to plan unconventional ways of keeping the volatile workforce of the future engaged and happy in their jobs.
Opportunity to impact leaders
HR, by virtue of its function, has the opportunity to impact leaders and leadership qualities – it can use its position to develop leaders and instill leadership capabilities in promising employees. HR can also bring in leaders from outside the system who can challenge the existing situation and bring about a positive change.
HR can lead the way in the change that is coming by incorporating practices, philosophies, policies and techniques that are relevant and critical for the future of work. It is only when HR is fully immersed in the future of work that it can guide the company to greater heights.