Navigating In The New Normal

Navigating In The New Normal

One strongly believes that HR can effectively steer through the new normal if HR is able to modify and capitalise on the underlying changes.


It was the birthday of my daughter’s best friend last month and she received a Zoom invite to attend the birthday party virtually. Usually, Birthdays are quite elaborate and social. However, this birthday party certainly proved that unprecedented situations require unprecedented actions. Likewise, the new normal warrants HR to reflect, evaluate and develop new skills which can enable them to play a more meaningful role in organisations. Here are the top 5 skills which I believe can help HR professionals to navigate in the new normal:


1. Increase The Digital Quotient


For years, we have been talking about digitisation and digital disruption in organisations and HR. But the speed of adoption has been relatively slower. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has proved how technology is one of the most critical levers of change today. Hence, it is imperative for HR to transform themselves digitally too and gather deeper insights and quickly respond to the needs of business and also improve communication and collaboration in the organisation. Automation, Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, and Augmented and Virtual Reality are some of the key digital technologies that are making waves today and HR needs to understand how they can use technology to get the best out of people.


2. Increase Agility


In today’s VUCA world, where there is so much uncertainty and disruption in the external environment, organisations are gradually moving towards becoming more agile. Agility has its roots in the software world, but is no longer restricted to it and is gradually transforming the way organisations operate globally. An agile organisation is one that is able to change itself swiftly, not just as per the business needs, but also as per the constantly changing customer requirements. Hence, today’s HR needs to be in congruence with that as HR cannot be seen as an impediment in an agile environment. This holds greater importance in today’s day and age wherein we are amidst a pandemic and HR is expected to evolve and respond to the needs of the organisation swiftly.


3. Increase Customisation


For long, HR has adopted a standardised and uniform approach when it comes to people management. However, the new normal today is witnessing the rise of blended workforces in organisations where employees are full-time, part-time, contingent, bots, in-office, remote, etc. Apart from this, the workforce today is a diverse mix of millennials, Gen X and Gen Y and each of them have different needs and motivators. What may work for a millennial in a remote set-up may not work for a full-time Gen X employee. Hence, HR can no longer extend the ‘one size fits all’ approach and must focus on creating customised talent management plans which can cater to a diverse and blended workforce.


4. Increase innovation

If You Always Do What You’ve Always Done, You’ll Always Get What You’ve Always Got.


The above quote by Henry Ford perfectly summarises the need for innovation which has become even more pertinent now as the pandemic caught us off guard last year and challenged organisations and HR to find ways to navigate through this unique situation. When we talk about innovation, most of us assume it to be about bringing in technology. However, innovation in HR is not just about going digital. Technology is a means to an end. Innovation is about having the courage to take risks and to make a conscious choice to adopt a different way of thinking. HR professionals need to reimagine various facets of HR - talent management, talent acquisition, learning & development, etc. in the new normal and work towards creating and adding value for the organisation.


5. Increase Emotional Quotient


According to LinkedIn Learning 2020 Workplace Learning report, Emotional Intelligence is one of the top 5 in-demand soft skills today. Emotional Quotient (EQ) is basically the ability to identify, understand and manage one’s emotions as well as that of others. One may have the best of tools, technology, and systems to improve productivity and engagement, but one cannot undermine the importance of EQ because at the end of the day we are dealing with humans. The need for it has become even more critical as people battle uncertainty, anxiety, and stress in the new normal. It is important for HR to understand and interpret these emotions and effectively use the lens of EQ while making key decisions around performance, talent management, etc.


While the pandemic has affected many facets of our lives and has thrown a lot of challenges, I believe crisis also gives us an opportunity to reinvent and reimagine for a better world. I strongly believe that HR can effectively steer through the new normal if HR is able to modify and capitalise on the underlying changes.


Rohit Hasteer is the Group CHRO for, Prop and Makaan. com. He has an experience of more than 20 years in the domain on Compensation Benefits, Talent Acquisition and Talent Management, Training & Development. He has worked with companies like CITIBANK, Make My Trip, Aviva Life Insurance and UT WorldWide. He takes keen interest in building Organisation culture and People Development. He is an MBA from IMT, Ghaziabad.


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