What to expect when starting a career in HR after the pandemic
The COVID-19 pandemic has irreversibly changed workplaces worldwide. HR departments have faced unseen challenges trying to keep employees safe and businesses running.
Consequently, the world of human resources that you’ll be entering is likely different from what your education or pre-pandemic experience prepared you for.
If you’re applying for or entering a role in HR, you might wonder what you’ll need to succeed, as the field is rapidly evolving.
To help you out, we’ve examined how the role of HR is changing in the face of a global pandemic. We’ll show you what you can expect in your new career, and the opportunities you might come across.
The new role of HR
An overnight transition to remote work, the necessity to hire new talent despite uncertainties, and ensuring a smooth sailing amidst tectonic business disruptions pushed HR professionals to overhaul traditional practices.
This also led to the re-evaluation of old and the emergence of new recruiting approaches. Although we’ll be examining their effectiveness for years to come, the new trends and practices are already facilitating better responses to novel working conditions.
The pandemic has highlighted the strategic importance of HR for sustaining businesses through a crisis. HR will be driving crucial organisational changes in reskilling, advancing leadership, and responding to demographic changes and workforce demands. It will also help simplify organisational structure by strategically employing the benefits of the gig economy.
Consequently, to succeed in your new role in HR, you will also need agility, networking, and openness to continuous learning.
Connect with other HR professionals to learn how they tackle new challenges. Staying on top of your industry and learning from peers will be crucial for building a resilient workforce going forward. If possible, find a mentor to help you navigate these tumultuous times.
You will often need to balance innovation with legacy processes. This poses an exciting opportunity for HR practitioners to innovate and find new creative solutions.
Keep an open mind, learn along the way, and don’t be afraid to ask for guidance.
New technology and tools
As businesses rushed to digitise operations and adjust to a remote work reality, HR departments also had to step up to meet the demands of a digital workforce.
Artificial intelligence and cloud-based software were entering HR departments even before the pandemic. However, it was the crisis that prompted more businesses to commence a more extensive digital transformation of HR.
From data-driven screening processes, to reaching out to candidates through social media, many HR departments are turning to technology to connect with the modern workforce.
Therefore, businesses and HR departments will need to account for digital literacy training and upskilling to ensure the investments in new technologies generate the desired returns.
To successfully attract and maintain new talent, proficiently using social media will be a must, as well as being able to deduce insights from various analytics.
Familiarity with specialised HR software will also be a great advantage in your new job. You can get a head start by exploring what types of HR software exist on the market and how they can help your department simplify daily work.
Delegating mundane administrative tasks to technology will make HR more human-centered, empathetic, innovative, and creative.
That way, you’ll free up time for more personalised, valuable interactions. In times when mental health is one of the most important considerations for employee wellbeing, it’s crucial to put back the human in human resources.
New job opportunities and career paths
New technologies and shifts in economic and societal trends have also expedited new job opportunities that were considered “jobs of the future” not such a long time ago.
Once seen as a rather bureaucratic role, HR is now becoming a place where tech and business converge to ensure human resources are developed to their full potential.
In fact, in the near future, HR is expected to expand to duties that we wouldn’t necessarily associate with the field just yet.
For instance, some new HR roles you can expect to see over the next ten years are algorithm bias auditors, climate change response leaders, or WFH facilitators.
HR data detectives, for example, will be responsible for analysing large data sets and establishing the “bigger picture”. They might then use it to identify causes of low employee performance and propose solid data-driven strategies aligned to particular business objectives.
What’s common to these new roles is that many of them are interdisciplinary. They are less focused on rigid role descriptions and processes and instead put transferable skills at the forefront.
New, diverse HR personnel will bring in and utilise specialised knowledge from various areas like business, IT, psychology, or environmental sciences.
Needless to say, utilising that knowledge from experts in their respective fields and facilitating collaboration with people of diverse professional backgrounds will give any organisation a significant edge over the competition.
As an HR professional, you will also have a chance to niche down and build expertise in new and emerging fields. Or, why not switch to a completely new role that best suits your skills, interests, and personality?
One thing is certain—with so many new career paths emerging, you don’t have to fret that you’ll spend years in a monotonous and unimaginative office setting.
Many pandemic-induced changes will linger in a bid to secure lasting agility and resilience for businesses.
Additionally, the focus on employee wellbeing will drive a more holistic approach to improving working conditions, furthering development, upskilling, and securing an overall positive candidate and employee experience.
The HR departments will be at the helm of these transformations, positioned as valuable partners both to employees and the C-suite.
Therefore, if you’re just starting your career in HR, be sure to keep an open mind towards all changes and opportunities coming your way.
Don’t forget to pay close attention to your own recruiting and onboarding process as you start a new job in HR. You might soon be using the insights from that experience to secure the best possible employees for your company.
Featured image courtesy of Unsplash
Ashley Wilson is a content creator, writing about business and tech. She has been known to reference movies in casual conversation and enjoys baking homemade treats for her husband and their two felines, Lady and Gaga. You can get in touch with Ashley via Twitter.