The evolution from the traditional role to a more strategic one sees an increase in responsibility for the HR leader as they become agents of change for the business. Their duties are now stretched across the whole organisation rather than only on employees.
This has seen the HR leader become a middleman between the wider workforce and the C-suite, often advising on best practices. It is now recognised that a proactive and capable HR department, in tune with employees’ needs, is critical to maintaining a productive and healthy workplace in which everyone feels energised and engaged.
HR leaders have transformed into the heroes of their organisations - defining and maintaining a culture that prioritises employee health and wellbeing while championing productivity and building a workplace of the future.
There has been an accelerated shift in the role of the HR leader from that of ‘hiring strategy and execution, custodian of culture and benefits manager’ to that which also now includes the physical and mental wellbeing of their workforce.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also accelerated the need for employers to more directly support the wellbeing of their staff as they’ve shifted to work from home.
For companies that have made the decision to adopt a flexible work-from-home policy, digital wellness solutions will play an ever-larger role in supporting staff’s physical and mental wellbeing.
Budgets that once went to large, shiny offices on swanky streets, will be redirected to better health and wellness benefits for employees, providing for a healthier, more productive workforce.
With so many responsibilities to juggle, HR leaders run the risk of spreading themselves too thin and potentially neglecting the critical aspect of their role - promoting a culture that connects employees in more meaningful ways, regardless of where they are based, such as galvanising them to boost their overall health and wellbeing as a team.
Wellness technology will play an important role for the HR team as it allows them to easily execute their strategies for a healthy workforce. Implementing a wellness plan that employees can access digitally, at home, that adjusts to their unique lifestyle and circumstances, will help individuals set their own personal goals and encourage staff to participate in group activities.
In turn, this improves the work-life balance and contributes to creating a happier, more engaged workforce, while also supporting the HR department and helping them to drive forward their vision for the future of work.
The workplace of the future sees HR as an instrument of change within businesses, headed by big picture thinking and strategy rather than adopting the traditional reactive approach towards preventable issues.
To help achieve this proactive policy towards the working dynamics within a business, HR must ensure that employees are happy and healthy so that their efforts can be spent on playing a consultative role in the organisation.
In order to succeed at doing this, wellness tech will play a monumental role in assisting HR leaders in ensuring the health and wellbeing of employees, giving them more time to focus on other important aspects of their role.
This shift in the role of the HR leader centralises them within the organisation and empowers them to implement transformational and holistic approaches, evolving their position into agents of positive change.
Martin Blinder is CEO and founder of health engagement company Tictrac