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Editorial Team
08 Oct 2021



The Global HR Drift: 5 Factors to Consider

COVID-19 disrupted economies and businesses globally, and Human Resources (HR) has been at the heart of this pandemic. The role of HR has never been more crucial as organizations are on the verge of recovery.

  • What will COVID-19 mean for occupational safety and health?
  • What will remote working mean for organizational culture, day-to-day operations, and culture?
  • What social consequences will this transformation have on employee engagement?

There are many questions about imagining the future role and impact of HR after COVID-19. One thing is certain: the effects of the pandemic on businesses have highlighted the need to be adaptable and resilient in today's workforce. This has accelerated the transition towards a digital economy and increased the importance of HR in the new norm.

Role of A CHRO in The Pre-Pandemic Era

Traditionally, a CHRO was responsible for developing and executing human resource strategies in support of the organization's overall plan and strategic direction. This included succession planning, talent management, change management, training and development, compensation & organizational, and performance management.

The main task of this position was to create and implement a talent strategy. This included recruiting, developing, retaining, and hiring employees as the position directly oversees the division's management and indirectly all employees.

However, the Human resources managers had to rethink their roles in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. They faced a difficult task: adapting to new social practices and working environments that had not been possible for them previously.

But as the COVID-19 pandemic evolved, so did the strategies by the top CHRO's.

The Effect of COVID-19 on HR's –

The advent of Covid-19 and the actions taken by governments around the globe have profoundly altered our way of life and work. The impact is shocking, with around 50% of the world's population either suffering or emerging from a form of pandemic lockdown.

Governments across the globe begin to open their economies and begin to figure out what the new normal will be like, but we're aware that getting returning to work will not simply be about returning to the place we have left on. Social distancing practices reduced occupancy levels, more rigorous hygiene and infection control rotation of shifts, and many other risk-reducing measures for transmission can be present for months to avoid the recurrence of infections.

This means that huge segments of the workforce, at the very least, will be working from their homes on a rotating basis at various times when workplaces are reopened. Some may not be able to return.

Another question is, what will happen next and beyond? CHROs or chief HR officers (CHROs) will be required to be part of the organization's plans for a move towards a future that is not yet known. There is no visionary. However, it is possible to identify five patterns that could be informing their thought process.

  • Reinforcing agile execution

Different types of lockdowns that are intermittent, or some back-stepping from the current plans for returning to workplaces that are physically accessible, may be necessary for the future. Companies will have to introduce and strengthen flexible execution, more resiliency, and flexibility in work arrangements to increase efficiency, regardless of how employees are required to work. Through investing in, and changing the way they work, processes, technology structures, and management of workforce policies, they can create sustainable, new ways of working that may be the standard.

  • Genuineness, empathy, and honesty

People are shifting their priorities and motives. Security is the top priority for them regardless of whether it's for their employees, family members, or customers. Changes in values can cause a lasting behavior change. Companies should be prepared for employees seeking more compassion, honesty, and transparency from their leaders, a set of skills that leaders should be able to perform online. Mental wellness will also be an integral part of the workplace and will be integrated into productivity initiatives. It will impact expectations of the duty of care.

  • Higher levels of flexible and remote work

One of the positive outcomes of remote work that is forced has been clear evidence that flexibility must not be at the cost of productivity. This could have positive implications for diversity goals, especially for those who have caring responsibility. In the same way, the traumatic and anxious environment and isolation have highlighted the necessity of regular face-to-face interactions. Deciding what is best compared to what is accepted as feasible is bound to affect the corporate policies and spending decisions after the crisis.

  • Investment in digital HR infrastructure

HR professionals are also likely to see a change in the way they employ or hire and keep employees. Several processes have been digitalized to boost efficiency and speed. HR is now functioning virtually throughout the entire process of acquiring talent, but with new employees joining the workforce and working alongside colleagues, and not meeting anyone in person for months. This trend, along with the need to reduce the possibility of future lockdowns, will mean that investments into the digitalization of HR will increase.

  • The digital market for employment

At present, many government agencies have only tweaked their labor laws due to the advent of digital technology. In contrast, the fundamental frameworks have remained solidly rooted in the traditional, analog perception of work. This will likely evolve, and a more comprehensive review could see legislation eventually adjusting to and supporting future-oriented thinking. The motivation to change this comes from the growing popularity of remote work and the specific policy adjustments and initiatives to improve the workforce triggered by the current crisis.

A significant amount of time has been spent responding to the situation - shifting and adapting to an ever-changing environment. The Covid-19 epidemic has also provided an opportunity for companies to rethink and transform their physical workplace and their relationship with their employees in the coming years.

Looking at the long-term view in implementing changes today can assist in accelerating any efforts to redesign the workplace in areas like onboarding, talent management, onboarding, recruitment, training and training, and reskilling. Rules have evolved and will continue to change as we discover new insights in the face of the ever-changing global health and economic crisis.


From the workplace and HR viewpoint, the current situation could be described as a massive, synchronized organization-wide experiment. Although we can't anticipate the results - whether any of these developments will take hold or take over, or what others could emerge, it will certainly be an era of massive technological advancement. As with all things in life, HR will never be ever the same. It is the task of HR directors and their team to ensure that this new normal is a more improved one that will lead to a more productive workplace.

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