he pandemic has transformed the in and out of the job market, not just shifting growth trends of industries but also impacted roles and job profiles. The effect of the pandemic on the growth trend on various industries has been lop-sided. The pharmaceutical and medical industry, life insurance industry has seen an impressive growth with the challenges and opportunities faced during the year. Whereas, the service and manufacturing industry, which accounts for a major part of the global economy is struggling in terms of growth. There has been a paradigm shift in terms of job expectations, skill sets requirement which has redefined the entire perspective & deliverables of the Human Resource Department. Let me elaborate on all these major denominators which has reformulated the industry:
Change of Job Profiles:
The first & most visible change has been the transformation of stringent manual processes to automation and digitalization. This has led to the evolution of job profiles and acceptance of Artificial Intelligence way before anyone could have predicted. Existing and prospective employees are not expected to be physically present to deliver their work. Job profiles have become more project centric, giving way to a gig economy. Furthermore, since the management intervention has reduced over time, the job profiles have become autonomous. This means that the traditional carrot & stick approach is replaced by self-motivation which has moved up the ladder as a trait and will be sought for in the future and present employees.
To survive in the current job, employees are required to up-skill and re-skill themselves and build a multi-dimensional statement of work. According to the World Economic Forum’s ‘Future of Jobs 2018’ report, more than one-half of India’s workforce would be required to be reskilled by 2022 to meet the demands of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. To add to it, the expectations of the employees have also been revised during these months with the redefinition of work from home policy and other changes in fringe benefits. The IT & Infra teams are required to extend their support from home to home of the employees.
With reduced GDP growth, it is evident that attrition and retrenchment is on the cards. Employers expect the current workforce to fulfill open jobs’ requirements. The span of control has increased in most cases in addition to the main role. In case of new hires, the required skills involve being a multitasker and good leader than a manager. Likewise, emotional strength and optimistic attitude will remain most searched and strong skills considering the ongoing difficult times. The candidates are expected to have a good hold on digital skills, for the world is moving towards digitalization and such skills cannot be ignored.
New HR Practices:
HR has a major role to play in bringing the required changes and to bind the organization for survival and induce growth. With the introduction of work from home, engaging employees has become an important part of the HR Department. As countries continue to reopen and employees return to work under new guidelines, change management is the key to successfully facing these circumstances. The older stringent policies are now reframed to give the ease and flexibility to employees for letting them adapt to the situation. Various HR practices introduced during these times, included freezing the fringe benefits and conveyance related benefits and reallocating the budgets in the health of the employees. With the increased requirement for niche skills, major budgeting is granted to L&D. Growing efforts of employees during the lockdown and low morale due to the decreased job security also saw curtailed promotion in many organizations, and to pay back for the loyalty of the employee towards the organization, the culture of flexibility and ease is introduced.
Furthermore, to balance survival and be sustainable, the Human Resource department has been on toes to redefine the standards of performance evaluation and frequency of assessment has also been increased. With lack of physical interaction, older methods of evaluation has to be changed with the new introduced ones which are more objective and measurable. Another behest of these times is the vitality of Employee engagement however virtually. This has included virtual celebrations of almost all the events, emotional counselling sessions for better mental health, and more frequent connection with HR & Leaders for candid feedback. With the onset of these changes, it has become critical for the HRs to do a deeper scrutiny into a candidate’s profile. Increase in pre and post joining background checks have become crucial. Most of the recruitment space is occupied by social profiles rather than physical availability. With HR more aligned to managing cost and efficiency, there will be an increased trend in outsourcing talent acquisition.
Hence, these 360 degrees change of spectrum has become demanding for employees of all levels and especially for the HR department since they spearhead all the cultural changes. However, this revolution will teach us that change is the only constant and it not only needs to be accepted but welcomed too.
By: Subir Roy Chowdhury
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