In the pandemic, besides the threat to life, there was a great deal of impact on the livelihood of millions of fellow citizens of our country. The lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, containment zones, travel restrictions et al, confined people to their homes and threw life completely out of gear. For many, it was about being unable to do their regular work, forced leave, furloughs and even lay-offs. Organizations tightened their ambitious hiring plans, put bonuses and salaries on hold and generally cut back on all expenses, including hiring and training. The GDP growth rate cast another spell on expansion plans and even sustenance of many businesses. Challenging times for the Board and Management team across many sectors! Although a few sectors/industries offered a ray of sunshine, yet the headline sentiment remained slightly pessimistic. The Human resource function remained in the eye of the storm, as businesses tried to balance keeping the jobs with managing their P&L.

The “new normal” has brought a spotlight on the HR aspect once again, as businesses try to manage employee morale and loyalty, this increasing significance of engagement and retention for leaders and organizations across sectors.

Year 2020 – An overview

The Covid-19 pandemic has become an accelerator of the biggest work-life transformations of our age. How we work, learn, communicate, connect, collaborate, and many other aspects, which appeared to be normal, have seen a sharp shift in 2020.

The pandemic has also offered a renewed opportunity to redefine businesses. 2020 has fundamentally seen a shift in how we run our business, and this shift is fuelled largely by smart technologies like Artificial Intelligence and supercomputing.

The Go Digital Mantra of 2020 – 2021 and beyond – The “new normal” and the “future of work” are a common conversation topic today. Organizations have predominantly moved from employment based on qualification and domain skills to employment based on digital mindset and process thinking skills.

(How well can you imagine your job role as modular processes and automate the routine elements?)

The pandemic has accelerated the need for quicker adoption of Digital and the technology has tightened its grasp on trends that influence growth of businesses in the future. Technology is omnipresent today and the way we connect with it is changing constantly. Big Data is being generated and extracted in proportions never seen before which in turn is been analysed a great deal – the idea is to bring insights into a flow with Real Time Analytics.

The following years are likely to observe a sharp paradigm shift in the way work is done.

Way forward in the new now

When envisioning the functioning and impact of the Human resource aspect in the post-COVID-19 era, one aspect that is emerging is that the pandemic has expanded the requirement for more adaptability and flexibility in the present workforce. It has also accelerated the move towards greater digitalization of HR services thus underlining the significance of adapting to the new normal. Accepting tele-commuting, work-from-anywhere, gig-working are emerging paradigms in the space.

Role of Training and Continuous professional development – Worldwide, organizations encouraged their employees to work from home during the pandemic. Many companies are investing or have invested in online learning by encouraging ideas for staying productive. This new paradigm has the potential to accelerate workplace behaviors as the responsibility for learning shifts from the trainer to the learner. Availability of granular learning modules, Massive Open Online Courses (MOOC) are helping make learning happen anywhere, anytime!

Managing productivity in the new normal is a mindset shift followed by a redesign of some of the norms of efficiency and effectiveness of employees – outcome-led rather than workhours-led; Yes, it’s a paradigm shift in the fundamental way of working and engaging.

Summing up!

Due to the long-lasting impact of the pandemic on the economy, organizations are compelled to adjust to the new normal and prioritize their HR goals. It is essential for the HR function to adapt and adapt to the new lifecycle to meet new workforce-related challenges and opportunities.

Being able to act now, will not only help steer your ship clear of the rocks but also help it keep in the open wide sea.

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