I began an apprenticeship working in exhibitions and events for a clinical nutrition company. At this point I had no thoughts of pursuing a career in HR. When in a more customer-facing role, I was given the opportunity of having an HR mentor for six months. I spent any spare time I had learning the bread and butter of HR.
What the leaders of tomorrow think:
Post-pandemic, my main concerns include employee wellbeing and ensuring everyone has a healthy work/life balance. Working from home can take its toll and we have a duty of care to prevent burnout and encourage time out. Recruitment and retention are two other areas, as an increase in job vacancies has led to a more competitive market.
Over the next five years, HR will increasingly focus on regaining a sense of normality as we potentially move back into an office environment. Following a lengthy period of employees working from home, offering the option of flexible working will be important to keep some of the benefits of remote work.
HR will inevitably become more digital, so implementing innovative digital initiatives in the workplace will be important, from software that allows real-time reporting to disclose any issues to mobile apps that track time and attendance.
I envisage physical contact being even less in 40 years’ time, overridden by cutting-edge technology and video. This could lead to a less personable approach to HR, and, worryingly, an adverse effect on our employees’ wellbeing. HR professionals will need to create new employee engagement strategies for this fully digital world.
Change management will continue to be a challenge as there is still a generation of people that don’t embrace or adapt as well as others. Senior management will need to cascade the right amount of information to line managers to inform employees of change and provide adequate ways for staff to provide feedback and thoughts and engage with management. Staff want and need to be heard for an organisation to have a thriving workplace culture.
Continuing to support female employees and retain them is a key priority, following introducing a workplace menopause policy in 2020. I want to end the stigma for women and create a considerate, informed and supportive environment. Educating all staff no matter what gender is vital, as is listening.
Aimee Maltby is HR & administration manager at Access2Funding.
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This piece appears in the January/February 2022 print issue. Subscribe today to have all our latest articles delivered right to your desk.