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5 priorities for HR leaders in 2021 and beyond

5 priorities for HR leaders in 2021 and beyond


Empathy, resilience, and fatigue are some of the areas that aren't just buzzwords for HR, but business priorities that need to be consciously included in people policies.

Research by Perceptyx has identified five key lessons critical for HR leaders in 2021. These have emerged as a result of using survey data of more than 750,000 employees about their specific work situations and how they and their organisations are addressing key issues.

These top five priorities for HR leaders are listed below, alongwith excerpts from the report:

1. Move beyond engagement

While engagement is, and always has been, a bellwether in determining the health of a company's culture, right now it simply isn’t enough. We cannot rely on outcome measures alone; we need to listen 'in the moment' and respond quickly.

As the working world shifts, it is critical to listen to employees to learn specifically what they need to be successful. Real-time data provides insights that help not only inform strategy and policy in a very significant and powerful way, but also to help map the eventual return to the workplace.

ALSO READ: How Lenovo Indonesia achieved 'outstanding' employee engagement before and during times of crisis

2. Help women

Organisations must do a better job helping women be successful. Women have been more impacted than their male counterparts during the pandemic, and every company risks moving backwards when it comes to the progress that women have made in organisations globally. The answer is not more programmes, but rather providing more degrees of freedom that will enable women to sort out their schedules and priorities in a way that works for them.

ALSO READ: Winning Secrets: Sponsorship, executive coaching and parental transition drive women leadership at Societe Generale

3. Prioritise resilience

Resilience is a quality that has been critical to organisations during the pandemic, and it will continue to be essential going forward. The impact of COVID-19 to date, and the uncertainty of the road ahead of us, have had a fracturing effect on all companies. It’s hard to maintain a culture when so many of us are working remotely.

Many employees are hired and onboarded without ever meeting their colleagues face-to-face or setting foot in a company office. But making sure those new employees feel welcomed and invested in their teams is critical. All employees – new and current – need ways to build and maintain ties with co-workers, in order to continue to innovate and collaborate with a shared sense of purpose.

ALSO READ: 4 ways to improve the resilience, agility and wellbeing of your workforce

4. Recognise fatigue

The novelty of working remotely has worn off. Zoom meetings, wearing a mask, social isolation, online learning, family demands … all of this has taken its toll on employees. The longer the virus impacts our everyday lives, the deeper the fatigue sets in and starts to erode positive feelings about everything -- including work and the organisation in which they are employed.

Be prepared for this fatigue to affect employees at all levels, and recognise it for what it is. Listening to your employees is critical to overcoming this hurdle, as it will vary by industry, organisation size, and of course the individual.

ALSO READ: The most fatigued countries in the world 2021

5. Be empathetic

Patience with each other is important across the board, but managers in particular need to demonstrate extraordinary empathy for their employees. Not every manager can do this well, however, and thus there is a need for HR to help managers learn to listen empathetically.

“Times of upheaval can also be times of great innovation and change. This is the time to rethink everything, and to do so quickly and visibly,” Sarah Johnson, VP Enterprise Surveys and Analytics at Perceptyx said.

“This moment is a golden opportunity for the HR function to influence the direction of the organisation, to come to the table with facts, data, and insights that will enable the organisation to navigate the uncertainty and find a new path to success.”

Photo / 123RF

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