Whether your business has a dedicated Human Resources person or department, the role HR plays in a business is highly crucial. And having never faced a global pandemic before, HR was forced to step up and help business owners and staff members navigate something unprecedented.

However, now, HR professionals have seen their profession shift towards more consideration for staff and the changing expectations that they have for their workplaces. In this series, we will take an in-depth look at 5 trends that are shaping the world of HR according to a Sage report. We kick this off with our 1st Trend: Flexible and Hybrid Working

1. HR needs to rise and meet employees’ new expectations

Workers want more. The expectation employees now have is that their work should extend well beyond focusing on pay and compensation. More employees are looking for a greater work/life balance. Flexible and hybrid working styles, which became paramount because of the pandemic, are now pivotal today and as younger generations join the workforce. According to Sage’s report, the demand for jobs that allow for flexible working is significantly outweighing the supply.

By 2030, work styles are expected to continue to significantly shift. HR and People teams will be left to tackle the much more diverse working arrangements that there will be. HR will have a role in making these new ways of working a safe and healthy environment for employees, wherever they’re based. Mental health support will also continue further to be an area that HR professionals will need to manage. By 2030, it’s anticipated that there will be a much more robust approach to providing support to employees on both a professional and personal level.

2. People need appropriate well-being support from HR

Well-being is vital to this and will be crucial for attracting and retaining top talent in 2030. According to Sage’s report, 69% of employees were experiencing burnout while working from home during the global crisis. With all this change, people are a little tired. They’ve worked a lot of hours and spent a lot of time on video calls. It’s important to reflect on what was learned and make sure to take learnings forward while employing newly found skills in remote work, well-being, empathy, and productivity. Companies that support employees with their needs beyond the workplace see a tangible increase (more than 20%) in the number of employees reporting better mental health. Supportive employers can also realise a 21% increase in the number of high performers compared to organisations that don’t provide that same degree of support to employees. HR leaders should consider now what tools and support systems they can put in place to get ahead.

3. HR should adopt a 'training-forward' approach to align with employee expectations

73% of employees want to learn digital skills - but less than half (49%) of workers say their employer allowed them to improve their digital skills outside of their normal duties. However, this is likely to be just the tip of the iceberg. To bridge the skills gap by 2030, HR will have taken training to a whole new level. Organisations will begin to truly invest in developing those skills through immersive learning experiences, such as company-sponsored schools and classes, apprenticeships, on-the-job training, and comprehensive rotational opportunities. In addition, HR will focus on succession planning and leadership development to match employees' expectations. To ensure the talent they've attracted to their organisation stays, business owners will need to outline their growth plans and opportunities.

4. HR should focus on the link between expectations, experiences, and business goals

HR leaders will also have to consider how expectations, the experiences delivered, and the link to the wider business strategy are linked. HR’s mission will shift to reflecting the brand values and ensuring that employee experience matches the mission and purpose of the company. HR and business owners of 2030 have a challenge on their hands. If organisations want to attract and retain top talent, they will need to understand employees’ evolving expectations, motivations, and aspirations, and link these in a strong way to their mission and purpose to deliver the best experiences for their people.

The bottom line

Working in a pandemic has taught workers that they deserve more from their places of employment. As people want to be valued and shown that they matter, business owners and HR professionals will need to start thinking holistically about their employees.

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