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Part 2: Shaping the new vision for HR 

3 min read

Welcome back to the second part of the series, where we'll be exploring the biggest priorities for HR in a post-COVID-19 world. If you missed the first post, learn more about the role of HR after COVID-19.

A 'future-first' mindset will help businesses not only survive, but thrive in the new world, along with a renewed focus on employee wellbeing and doing everything possible to meet employees where they are and with what they need to be their best selves at work. Here's what HR leaders had to say about their biggest priorities for the future:

top human resources priorities for 2021

top human resources priorities for 2021Debra Corey, Advisor to Reward Gateway, Bestselling Author and Chief Pay it Forward Officer at DebCo HR Ltd, says: Our biggest priority in HR is to help our business rise from the pandemic, moving from defensive, operational and transactional to offensive, strategic and transformational. We need to help our businesses continue to focus on our people, helping them work through and into this new world of work that has been thrust upon us all.

top human resources priorities for 2021

Jamie Getgood, CEO and Co-founder of The People Shift, says: I think we will need to be less mindful of our systems, models and KPI's for a period of time and recalibrate our approach towards rebuilding a people-focussed approach. 

The whole world has been through a major change and this has resulted in various levels of anxiety, uncertainty and in some cases loss. 

What processes do we have in place to care and support people through this? Are we planning employee engagement initiatives to reinvigorate people back into what our organisation stands for?

It will also be very tempting to heighten expectations and KPI's to try and rebuild the business profits after the time away but this could drive our culture backwards. 

It's time to be the true people change agents that we are called to be.

top human resources priorities for 2021

Sam Dewey, Engagement and Wellbeing Manager at Macmillan Cancer Support, says: I think that the biggest priority will be making sure that the organisation has a strong wellbeing offering across four key areas: social, financial, mental and physical wellbeing. I think current employees and new recruits will expect an organisation to support their personal wellbeing in the company. 

Flexible working policies will become a must instead of a nice-to-have. I think line managers will be expected to understand their direct reports' needs with wellbeing action plans being more commonly used, and we will find that a workforce becomes better equipped to support the ever-changing lives of its employees.

top human resources priorities for 2021

John Frith, Chief People Officer at Checkatrade, says: I think employee wellbeing and mental health will become even more important. I think people are better at sharing how they're feeling than ever before at the moment. It's almost like we've been given permission to talk a bit more openly about how we're feeling and having a good day or a bad day. I think that will absolutely change for the better, that it’s OK to have a bad day and talk about it.

I think there'll be more focus on the higher value from a prioritisation perspective. As we move forward, it's about making sure we prioritise what is the biggest thing that's going to make the biggest difference and get that working really well. Rather than trying to do loads of things badly, get one or two things working brilliantly.

top human resources priorities for 2021

Robert Hicks, Group HR Director at Reward Gateway, says: Post-pandemic HR will have two strategic challenges: employee engagement and wellbeing support. You have a few ways of doing this. My view is bring them together, and bring as much as you can across the HR world together. The more you reduce the administration burden on HR, the more you focus on the strategic growth of your employees and also their overall wellbeing. 

You need to set out how you engage your employees, with what tools, and with what approaches to drive this success. Ask yourself: Would you prefer to spend time managing 10 tools, or can one platform do what half a dozen of them are for you, and can you then invest that money elsewhere? 

There's no doubt about it: HR's priorities will shift in a post-COVID-19 world. But the work we put in now will help us out in the long run to better support, connect and recognise our people. Looking for even more ways to future-proof your organisation for the next era of HR? Check out the Reward Gateway blog for helpful tips, delivered right to your inbox.

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Chloe Thompson

Chloe is the Head of Global Content Strategy and Thought Leadership at Reward Gateway. She has a strong penchant for great food, better wine (especially if it sits alongside a cheese plate) and dancing around her kitchen to musical theatre tunes.

Head of Global Content Strategy and Thought Leadership

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