Through the challenges of the last year and a half, HR teams have arguably never faced this much pressure.
Back in early 2020, more than half of HR professionals were already reporting that their organisations were hiring less. They were also spending less on contract workers and redirecting spending to support their existing teams. That means, if you’re an HR professional, developing your current skills and your ability to adapt to change have never been more important.
Along with those skills, you’ll have a more well-rounded work experience that includes professional (and personal) development. You’ll likely be happier and more engaged at work, and you’ll see that impact your customer experience, as well. Keep reading to learn how upskilling can not only benefit your bottom line, but help you prepare for the future.
Readying yourself and your team for change
Helping colleagues navigate change is one of the biggest challenges HR professionals face. Whether there’s a pandemic or not, it’s the HR team’s responsibility to maintain morale, help people stay on track and keep focused on upskilling both their own teams and other employees to meet new needs.
An excellent habit to build is constant communication before, during and after big changes. The second most important elements to build are the skills your people will need to cope with change. This will result in them feeling more secure and prepared, and they will hopefully begin to embrace the changes that come their way.
Providing learning opportunities not only prepares your HR teams and your entire organisation for change, but it also keeps your employees engaged and fulfilled. This will likely lead to a longer tenure with your business, helping you make the most of your highly skilled employees.
However, the learning content you’re providing has to be right. It has to be relevant to their work and has to be flexible. This can be a challenge for HR teams, but it’s not a difficult one to overcome. Choose learning that’s flexible, accessible and offered in an engaging way that encourages your people to continuously learn.
Working to shift behaviours and mindsets
The concept of agility and learning to cope with change is on every organisation’s radar right now. There’s a reason for that. Things will always shift and change, and your HR team needs to approach everything with that in mind.
HR leaders need to learn from past recessions and challenges, focusing on the fact that businesses who have agility woven into everything they do come out stronger on the other side. Leaders need to prepare themselves and their workforce for all kinds of outcomes. That could be rapid growth, or no growth at all, or complete restructures – whatever the scenario, if you’re ready for anything, you’ll find success.
You can prepare yourself for these outcomes by creating contingency plans and working with the people you have. Collecting HR data on your current teams can help you understand what skill sets your current workforce has that you might not be making the most of, and what skills both you and they might want to develop that could be incredibly useful.
Using those HR insights, combined with promoting that fact that change doesn’t have to be scary, will help you and your teams roll with the punches, and find success.
Bettering your employees’ experience
Another challenge for HR teams is supporting a new kind of office culture. Most of us shifted to working from home in early 2020. That left people teams to navigate supporting hybrid office environments. Now more than ever, employees need to know they are supported. If you can’t offer that support, the risk of losing your workforce to organisations that are more flexible could be a reality.
Whether you’re working with a fully remote team or in a more hybrid environment, you should take your company’s pre-pandemic culture and shift those qualities into your current day-to-day. This is a people-first approach, and you can use those HR insights mentioned above to help inform your decisions. Employee engagement surveys can also be useful here.
All these insights and data will help you and your HR team better understand what employees need, from personal pain points to roadblocks in their daily tasks. If your HR team doesn’t understand how to collect and use this kind of data, it might be time to start developing skills in that area. The benefits of that are two-fold. Again, your HR employees’ skill sets will become more useful to both them and you, and the knowledge gathered will trickle down to other teams, benefiting your entire organisations.
How investing in your employees affects your bottom line
Investing in your own and your employees’ professional development has a direct impact on your business success. That’s imperative for an HR team, because their ability to successfully do their jobs impacts the wellbeing of every other person in your business. Below are three key things that happen when you help your employees upskill:
- Boosted morale. When you provide your workforce with the opportunity to learn and grow within their roles, they’ll be happier. When they’re happy working for you, they’ll see a brighter future for themselves within your organisation and want to stay. Reskilling and upskilling can give employees a greater sense of purpose, as well, and make them more eager to continue learning.
- Happy customers. Again, a happy workforce equals happy customers. When your people believe in the work they’re doing and the organisation, that will show when they interact with customers and prospective clients. As well, your customers will be more willing to work with a business that’s clearly full of knowledgeable, eager people.
- Simplified recruitment. When you have a successful organisation, it simplifies finding the best talent who want to be involved in that success. Your HR team won’t struggle to find the right people for all teams, they’ll be able to focus on navigating change, and their own growth.