Ways to get your HR house in order for 2022
By Dee Coakley, CEO and co-founder of Boundless
As HR teams sit down for their 2022 planning sessions, they’ll be reflecting on another confusing and disrupted year.
The ongoing Covid situation has led to a long, necessary series of reactive HR fixes.
Working from home strategies have been introduced quickly, rolled out and replicated across geographies with little room for nuance. Many employees have been left unsure exactly what’s expected of them as their place of work has changed (and then changed again).
Going into the New Year, businesses can no longer allow uncertainty to lead to a lack of strategic action when it comes to long term remote working.
It’s as good a time as it gets for HR teams to get back on the front foot regarding ongoing working practices and employment issues. So what needs to happen first?
Act on compliance red flags
This is a great time of year to sort compliance issues, and the employment status of workers that may have been wrongfully classified as independent contractors needs to top the list of priorities.
More companies are hitting the headlines for deliberate or accidental misclassification of full-time employees.
If governments do take action in those instances, it’s not just a cash hit companies may face. The reputational damage can be significant too, not to mention disquiet among employees if they believe that there is unfairness in the way they’re being treated.
So, if a short-term contractor hire has turned into a long-term relationship, this is the first issue you need to address in 2022.
Offer clearly defined flexible working policies
The opportunity to work remotely may have started as a Covid necessity, but companies have quickly realised that many jobs can be performed just as effectively from home.
Not only that, but more people are flexing the specific hours that they work, with 9-5 roles fast morphing into a more fluid approach to how and when work is carried out.
These practices bring myriad benefits, including productivity and wellbeing gains, and they’re increasingly demanded by employees as a core benefit.
If HR teams can’t offer flexibility in the year ahead, they’re at a competitive disadvantage when it comes to hiring and retention.
However, companies need clear policies laying out what is expected of and provided for, staff working flexibly.
For example, HR teams must address overtime and ensure that staff establish a good work/life balance.
They must also outline what they’re willing to provide in terms of home office equipment.
And of course, they need to implement processes to ensure that remote staff are treated in the same way as their in-office counterparts.
Prepare to access a global talent pool
Most HR departments will be reviewing their hiring plans for the year ahead – and they’re facing some tough decisions.
Now that flexible working is commonplace, there’s an opportunity for them to access a wider talent pool by recruiting for remote-only roles – with no geographic constraints.
It’s an incredibly exciting opportunity at a time when many organisations are facing talent shortages, particularly when it comes to tech skills.
However, to access a global talent pool, they need to understand the legal and cultural ramifications of making overseas hires, as well as the business implications of running dispersed teams across different territories and time zones.
Some businesses are looking to hire a ‘Head of Remote’ to oversee some of the overarching remote strategies and drive collaboration and communications across distributed teams.
Similarly, many are turning to expert employers of record for ongoing advice about how to get the details right when hiring across territories, rather than take on this resource-heavy, time-intensive duty internally.
Make collaboration technology work for all
Effective collaboration within an increasingly dispersed workforce is top of the agenda for HR departments everywhere.
After two years of using piecemeal technology solutions, now is the chance for a broader, holistic review of the market.
With organisations making a permanent shift to fully remote or ‘hybrid’ working, consistency in communication will be key to continuity and success.
All face challenges in choosing the right collaboration stack, and most want to consolidate tech for a more seamless experience.
But of course, it’s not just remote work environments which need to evolve.
Outdated conference rooms with people huddled around a speakerphone won’t support future workforce needs, and savvy HR teams will need to collaborate with their real-estate colleagues and redesign physical spaces to better accommodate hybrid work environments.
The ongoing uncertainty around Covid is a most unwelcome distraction to HR teams when it comes to ensuring day-to-day business continuity. But it’s important to maintain a strategic view of the year ahead.
From closing compliance gaps to codifying flexible working, the organisations that can form a proactive, holistic HR action plan now, will be the ones best prepared for inevitable post-Covid changes to how we all work.
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