What is HR's Role in Future-Proofing Your Business?
No matter the size of your company, HR (Human Resources) will be integral in your growth. Whether it’s taking on new employees on the right employment contract, implementing up-to-date policies or simply staying legally compliant to avoid tribunals, HR has a key role to play.
Given the instability of the economy in 2022, with a cost of living crisis, rising energy prices and the Great Resignation, businesses will face numerous hurdles and challenges over the coming months and years. One thing you can do as a business owner to future-proof your enterprise is to look at the importance of HR.
Croner deliver outsourced HR services to over 10,000 businesses in the UK and this article explores the role of HR in future-proofing your organisation.
What is future-proofing?
Future-proofing is not a new term. The prevalence of the phrase, however, is brought into sharp focus when you consider that “future proof meaning” has seen a 450% increase in search volume on Google in the past 12 months.
To future-proof your business is to analyse and evaluate the scale and scope of your company’s evolution to anticipate and overcome critical challenges. Those challenges could involve anything from climate change, nature loss, inclusivity, BAME representation, technology, or economic impact.
Can HR be strategic?
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, HR has been transformed over the past eighteen months both in terms of perception and implementation. Organisations are now looking to HR professionals as key decision-makers in how a business is run. Business leaders are also relying on HR managers to advise and provide insights for business growth.
The success of a business is hugely dependent on the acquisition and retention of talent, and it stands to reason that HR is therefore as strategically important as company finances, for example. COVID has brought about significant and long-lasting changes in the way businesses operate, from remote working to SSP.
What are the key changes to the workplace to look out for?
If you’re looking to ensure your business is future-ready, it is worth considering three characteristics. Firstly, do you know who you are and what your business stands for? Secondly, is your operation streamlined for speed and simplicity at all levels? Lastly, do you understand how to scale sustainably? Fundamentally, HR is going to be at the heart of this transformation because HR managers can facilitate positive change in both culture and process.
Here are some key changes that can be driven by HR:
Either through internal HR teams or external suppliers such as Perkbox, employee recognition programs are a great way to retain and motivate staff. Implementing a strong reward and recognition culture in your business can has been shown to have a huge impact on employee performance and engagement.
More and more employees are placing emphasis on flexibility as a key driver in their satisfaction. Flexible working increases the responsibility of HR departments because employers retain the same duty of care for their staff whether they work remotely or in an office/workplace. The main challenge for HR managers will be to ensure the mental and physical health and safety of staff, potentially meaning remote risk assessments will become more commonplace.
Similarly, to remote working, hybrid working is here to stay. Employees can mix working from home and saving money on their commute with working in the office. HR departments will increasingly need to be specific in the terms of employment contracts as to the availability of hybrid working and will also retain a duty of care to employees when they are off-site.
4-Day Working Week
Although this this isn’t a UK-wide legislation change, there are a select few businesses who are taking part in a six-month trial. Should the government decide to adopt and champion a reduction in the five-day working week then employers must be able to adapt. This will heavily involve HR from documentation to contracts.
Developing a strong workplace culture is a key role for many HR leaders. Employee performance and productivity can be directly linked to a healthy work environment. Issues such as absenteeism, sickness leave, and mental health can be improved by a healthier lifestyle. A healthy workplace can also boost employee happiness, morale, and motivation.
Five things HR managers can do to help get your business ready for the future
On top of analysing what might be coming down the track in terms of changes to the workplace, dynamic HR teams can look at several different methods of implementation:
If you want staff engagement to be a priority, your HR team should be driving home the company purpose. If you can establish and radiate the company’s purpose, you can create significant long-term value for employees which can lead to better business performance.
The culture of a business is driven by those in leadership positions. Your HR leaders are responsible for taking the experience of your employees in all aspects of their role and elevating them to the next level. This can mean improving workspaces, adding flexibility, training, development, and rewards. Diversity and inclusion are also key, so making sure all areas of society are represented can make a business more attractive.
Value in a business works both ways. If an employee is made to feel valued, then they generally become a more valuable asset. HR leaders are responsible for balancing talent resources and ensuring that talent is mapped to value. Having a clear progression plan for staff and clear timelines for areas such as pay reviews and promotion opportunities is key to retention.
Given that the future of work is set to include flexible and hybrid working, HR departments are now tasked with making the workforce more flexible. On top of this, in the current cost of living crisis in 2022, reducing employee costs is another added responsibility. Some employers are implementing schemes to help employees who are struggling, such as salary advances, for example.
Technology is at the forefront of change and HR is no different. Your HR team can act now to future-proof your business with agile digital platforms. BrightHR, for example, is an award-winning digital software for SMEs and there are very effective EAP (Employee Assistance Programme) and employee wellbeing systems that can be successfully implemented.
How Can Croner Help with Future-Proofing?
If you need assistance with future-proofing your business or you’re currently upskilling your HR department to cope with the challenges of the future, Croner can help.
Our team of experts have been helping businesses for over 80 years and our award-winning service is used by over 11,000 UK businesses.
Speak to a Croner expert today for fast and effective advice on 01455 858 132.
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