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Change – Opportunity of Threat for HR?

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The HR landscape never stands still. Gender pay reporting, the digitisation of the workforce and an increased focus on employee wellbeing. These are just a few of the people themes posing a challenge for operational HR.

We cover five major changes, discuss the challenges they pose and how you can turn threat into opportunity.

1. Take Advantage of Tech Opportunities

As employees become used to the digital tools that make their personal lives easier, so they begin to expect the same from the systems and processes at work.

Most businesses have operational HR systems in place. But many are basic tools that simply manage transactional processes.

To an extent, this is fine. But it would be a shame to lose out on the opportunity that new technology can bring and find yourself behind the curve.

Digital transformation can be viewed as an opportunity or a threat. Employees have seen first-hand the difference in personal productivity that the right apps and tools can bring. Now workplaces need to catch up by providing employees with intuitive, customisable systems that help them get their jobs done more quickly.

From an HR perspective, this means keeping your eye on developments in HR platforms.

Today’s modern systems replicate the look and feel of social media apps. They allow employees to track and share their tasks, benefits, rewards and goals with their managers and colleagues across the organisation. And they also include chat programmes bringing teams closer together wherever they’re working from.

Forward-thinking policies governing the use of technology will help you manage the transition to this new future. Blend HR policy with IT guidance and you’ll enable the use of new technology instead of being seen as a blocker.

2. Bring HR Data to Life

The data snapshots that businesses rely on are usually provided on spreadsheets. This means downloading and manipulating stats on employee turnover, salary and benefit costs with the increased risk of human error that this entails.

Most HR professionals prefer people to spreadsheets. This makes the availability of new technology that does much of the leg work a highly-anticipated development.

What was once static information can now be presented via intelligent dashboards. By moulding mountains of data in manageable chunks that can be moved, interrogated and assessed greater insights can be generated.

This allows businesses to unlock interesting and useful views of the company’s performance by integrating HR data with that of the wider business. Most systems provide customisable reports that can be built and automatically generated improving efficiency and reducing human error.

Being able to access crucial, real-time HR data will mean you can make decisions, take action and keep the wheels turning with greater confidence than ever before.

3. Gender Pay Parity

Following the first round of gender pay report submissions, organisations will now be focussing on taking action in line with their findings.

If your organisation submitted a report you should already have a plan in place to help you narrow any pay differential. Now you just need to deliver it.

Even if you weren’t required to submit a report, there are many reasons why it’s worth doing the work to understand whether you have a gender pay gap:

  • The glass ceiling – many organisations reported having fewer women in more senior roles. Research shows that this is detrimental to company profitability. Find out if this is an issue in your organisation and take steps to level the playing field.
  • Stand out – being on the front foot with pay equality can put you head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to recruitment.
  • Equity – fairer workplaces have higher levels of employee engagement which means a better bottom line. Improve employee engagement by responding to this issue seriously and taking steps to address any problems.

4. Harassment

With a continued focus on this issue in the media, politics, film and anywhere else you care to look, employers can expect more scrutiny too.

Although sexual harassment has been in the spotlight, you also need to ensure you’re dealing effectively with other forms of persecution including bullying and intimidation. Make sure your relevant policies are up to date and that managers have been trained.

Grievances take up a lot of time and energy so avoiding problems in the first place is the best course of action.

With the removal of employment tribunal fees, you’re more likely to find yourself in court if the situation isn’t managed effectively.

Happy workplaces are productive workplaces so it’s well worth keeping the peace and dealing quickly, sensitively and smartly with any allegations of bullying or harassment.

5. Wellbeing and Mental Health

Maintaining or improving the wellness of your team keeps them healthy and productive with fewer days of absence. Healthy bodies and minds also mean more creativity and innovation so it’s worth investing in the wellbeing of your workforce.

Traditional approaches, including private medical insurance, are often very expensive and don’t always provide the day-to-day support employees require. Instead, organisations are seeking alternative options like these:

  • employee cash plans – these low-cost policies allow employees to claim money back towards the cost of essential healthcare like dental, optical and physiotherapy. Because they are used frequently, they provide a regular reminder that the employer cares.
  • active rivalry – some firms are injecting a healthy dose of competition by introducing team fitness challenges, healthy lifestyle awards and volunteer days. These can be as or more effective than private medical insurance in boosting wellbeing and are certainly less likely to break the bank.
  • mental health – with sickness absence levels rising due to anxiety, stress and depression, employers are focussing as closely on their employees’ mental wellbeing as their physical health. Meditation, massage and mindfulness are all being introduced by employers to help their people deal with the pressures of the modern workplace.

Managing change and finding ways to make the most of it is a challenge, particularly when you add people to the mix. Turning these HR issues into opportunities is the best way to build your CV and prove your problem-solving capabilities. Ready for your next move.