Preparing today for the workforce of tomorrow

by Hudson
hr-leader

HR directors were already dealing with a rapidly changing world when along came the unprecedented disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

With little or no preparation, many employees have had to work from home, creating challenges for engagement, productivity and culture as well as the operational practicalities of work space and tools.

According to Microsoft, the business world has experienced two years of digital transformation in two months as organisations have ramped up technology investments.

In some sectors, revenues have dried up almost completely as the business has been forced to close during lockdown, resulting in furloughs or redundancies.

For Human Resources Directors, the challenges are both immediate and longer term.

Today, they are identifying priority talent to retain, understanding which roles and functions might be non-core, while also providing ongoing support to leaders and teams to keep the organisation functioning.

Longer term, they are planning their investments for a post-COVID economy in which budgets may be smaller but the challenges are likely to be greater.

The task is to help drive an agile response to a future of accelerating technology change which will re-define many roles, amid unprecedented market disruption and a world in which the head office may never be the same again.

“In this environment, a good approach for HRDs is to understand where to build, where to buy, and where to partner,” says Gareth Russell, Chief People Officer at Hudson APAC.

“It is about understanding that in a time of commercial headwinds, you need to focus on your fixed cost to income ratio and what the implications are for the workforce.

“Some things you do are totally core, and will always remain so, but you can also take a contingent approach to other roles and functions and that means looking at effective outsourcing, collaboration or partnering solutions which will reduce fixed cost, but maintain operations.”

The traditional approach has been to hire – or buy – for niche roles or build through training existing employees. The third option has been to partner externally.

With the business environment so volatile and uncertain, HRD’s must apply fresh scrutiny to these decisions and often a bespoke solution will be appropriate.

Some roles may best be filled by buying talent, such as for ongoing digital transformation initiatives, while building – and using and upskilling existing talent – will be the best approach in other areas.

Niche skills, which are unlikely to be required over the longer term, might best be accessed through partnering.

As they navigate the disruptions, many organisations will be reducing headcount and leaders will be investing in career transition programs for their people, who will be seeking effective ways to upskill and keep themselves engaged so they can access new opportunities.

Hudson’s Job Accelerator is one option for HRDs, a platform providing a structured learning environment for candidates who are undergoing career transition.

The platform delivers rigorous and empathetic preparation for candidates looking to re-enter the workforce in a changed post-COVID world, and one where their engagement with organisations may be as part of a larger contingent workforce.

For HRD’s, Job Accelerator ticks two key boxes, providing the career transition services which are a key responsibility to impacted staff while also investing in the capabilities of the workforce of the future.

In preparation for the post-COVID future, investments in career transition are crucial for leading HRDs.

Not only do they protect and enhance an organisation’s brand so that they can emerge as preferred employers, but investing in the best transition programs creates the upskilled and more adaptive workforce organisations will need in the future.

Trini Nixon, Head of Customer Acquisition and Engagement at Hudson APAC, sees a win-win for both organisations and candidates.

“In this period of volatility, leading organisations can still contribute to the career development of their impacted staff and show they have a duty of care,” she says.

“Job Accelerator is a smart digital platform which enables candidates to prepare and upskill in their own way, and enables HRDs to maintain a level of engagement and support.”