How should Human Resources prepare for 2021?

Opinion article by Ângela Santos, Board Member and responsible for the development of Human Capital at Abaco Consulting, for Human Magazine, edition no. 129, January/February 2021, page 26.

For both large and small organizations, the year 2020 was a blow to the stomach. Halfway through, many companies took it as a wasted year and focused on preparing for a stronger and more resilient 2021 – but there is still a long road to recovery. The desire for everything to return to normal will boost the expectations of companies and, at the same time, greater pressure for them, and employees, to return to pre-pandemic levels of performance and profitability. However, the load may fall on a workforce that is likely to be reduced and even more tense. According to one study, (1) recruitment is not identified as a priority for the heads of organizations and it is possible that 42% of job losses related to the pandemic will become permanent.

In this context, Human Resources (HR) professionals emerge as the king in a game of chess: the eyes, the ears and the conscience of the business world; act as an organization barometer; they exist to serve the business in the best possible way and focus on the well-being of employees. Even if the pandemic decreases with vaccination, HR leadership will be very important to ensure equity, to ensure that everyone rushes to the same side and that problems that could be avoided do not arise.

Thus, it is essential to ensure that the company’s values are passed on and perceived correctly. In many organizations, the values in place before the pandemic helped to guide action plans and responses. Now, more than ever, it is important to have a vision and defend values, to create clarity in the midst of uncertainty. It will help motivate and make people make better decisions, which is decisive for the results of 2021. Regardless of the values of each company, there are four key factors for success, as we continue to navigate without certainty.

  • Resilience: Although our resilience has never been so tested, the ability of companies to embrace the new normal and apply it in all business units will prepare better for the unknown of 2021. To do this, it is necessary to bet on learning ‘in the flow of work ‘. A new way of looking at training, adapted to the new times. It is continuous and happens “mixed” with the workday. Leading and communicating are the key ‘skills’. Resilience is the ability to absorb shocks and survive. It is adaptability. Darwin in all its splendor … Likewise, to provide employees with more support in the balance ‘work/life’ and continue to review and define new strategies in telework.
  • Agility: Betting on multidisciplinary teams that are able to make decisions on the ground, supported by processes and systems that give them data for timely analysis. This team dynamics, the new ‘skills’ and the clarity given by a clear vision and strategy, supported by data and information systems, will make a difference in the context of uncertainty and reaction to change.
  • Dynamism: Those who demonstrate dynamism tend to be committed to activity, progress and positivity. There is no way to protect companies from industry pressure or cultural upheaval, but being dynamic, proactive and communicative in responding to employees, customers and partners will be vital to resisting the unexpected. Teams and talents that face change with a positive and active posture achieve better results, even under pressure.
  • Finding: and supporting talent With the right talent, organizations will more easily face the challenges of 2021, but a better understanding of who this talent is in the organization and how to support it is needed. Having a resilient, agile and dynamic team is a step towards getting out of this crisis stronger.

As HR leaders, it is important to bring teams together to define a strategy that will position the organization in the future. The focus on the right values and the investment in crucial talents, guided by a strategic vision, will be the key to prepare organizations.