Human resource heads of organizations and businesses are expected to adapt to the changes taking place in their workplace and around them. The forces of change engendered by the knowledge economy, digitalization and technology have made their job very challenging by throwing up new questions. Fast-evolving scenarios of work models, newer employee demands, and heightened societal expectations are putting HR policies and actions to test and in sharper focus.

What are the new problems the HR heads are facing? There are six here.

What Extent is it vis-a-vis a hybrid workstation?

Acknowledging a preference for remote work by employees, the HR leaders are generally open to the new work paradigm of a hybrid work model. There are deeper questions that they are wrestling with. Is it possible for a company to efficiently run its operations over a long run? Which work is more suitable to be developed remotely? How are they going to plan remote working? How does the company balance its interests with those of its employees? Adoption of a blanket policy for remote working plans for individuals would be sensible and sustainable. What extent existing parameters for performance appraisal, pay, promotion, and compensation compatible with a hybrid work environment?

#3. Discipline and care for wellbeing are related.

Over the course of a long time, HR heads have put too much emphasis on work hours. Enforcing discipline is an essential function of the HR departments. The norm is being put under scrutiny. Discipline at the expense of employee wellbeing is a bad idea. The Great Resignations in the US have been caused by this approach by companies. Stress in the work lives of employees is important now. People want to work for employers that show they care, according to surveys and research. HR heads feel this is the time to ponder and decide whether to build an environment that supports sustainable productivity or fret about monitoring employees.

It was #3. The hiring of a diffuse workforce is related to the protection of culture.

HR executives are faced with a dilemma, as businesses open up to openness and diversity with a diffuse workforce, with added flexibility and option for remote work. What should businesses do to protect their culture when their workforce is more diffuse? How could they make newer and younger employees feel included in the organization’s purpose and culture? To hire people based on talent across different countries and ethnicities is one thing, but to make them buy into the corporate ethos and culture is a different ball game. As the latter requires supportive policies, open channels of communication, and commitment to having an inclusive organisational culture, a balancing work is difficult for HR leaders.

There are at least four. The ideal size of workforce can be determined.

Businesses are becoming more automated as a result of technology. Plans for more job curtailment or even re-casting the corporate structure are seized of by HR heads. The need to attract and retain workers with skills and talents is a pressing need. The transition from human to automated workforce is not an ordinary one. It is a major structural shift that may affect how the company operates. The ideal size of the workforce is one of the key questions before HR heads. How much funding should a company commit to? Which operations and roles could be cut back? Which roles should be created? Which metrics can they use to gauge a smooth transition? What is the policy for contract work?

HR heads need to be sensitive to their employees, the communities in which they operate, as well as societal concerns stemming from the threat of widespread layoff, while downsizing workforce may be resorting due to the compelling factors. How to address severance innovatively, transparently and humanely is a challenge.

It’s the fifth one. Society at large has shareholders.

Businesses that run on commercial lines are usually expected to bring higher shareholders value due to improved bottom lines. HR leaders are finding a need to adapt their organizations to reflect a bigger purpose. Hundreds of large global companies are on course to pursue a social purpose of their companies and are committed to be good corporate citizens. Today, a company’s value is reflected in the intangible aspects of its business such as social responsibility innovation and governance rather than just offering a product or service to earn a profit. The dilemma is how much allocation of resources and funds should be made to core operations.

There is a new ranking of #6. Hire skilled workforce or invest in it.

HR leaders know that it’s important for employees to be trained and upskilled. The prohibitive cost of training and high attrition levels have put the HR teams in a fix. Do they hire more skilled workers or invest in training? There are a number of points to ponder. How can employers find the skills they need? How to spot and predict skill gaps quickly? While they are engaged in targeted hiring and onboarding, on-the-job coaching, designing career paths etc, HR leaders should also appreciate that half-hearted, piecemeal, and unstructured measures could be in the way of winning trust of employees who have clear preferences for companies that help them build new

The framework of progressive ideas, practices and policies that would be put in place would determine the resolution of the problems. The proactiveness and broader vision with which HR practitioners and people leaders weigh their options in resolving the vexing issues will decide their company’s growth trajectory.

It was written by Ram Krishna Sinha.

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