22. July 2020

UK Study: The Pandemic Changed HR. Now What?

Martina Oli 2

One thing is for certain, 2020 has been a year like no other.

Covid-19 has challenged every company and the entire HR function along with it. Throughout the pandemic, HR has proved itself the backbone of the business, showing strength as a strategic partner and an agile supporter.

Yet, as the recovery phase begins, 85% of HR professionals see challenges ahead as they try to strengthen their important role at a critical time.

Start reading the full Personio HR study right here.

Imagine this: It’s Monday afternoon and a message pops up on your screen. It reads, "Can you join an executive team meeting in 15 minutes?"

In the meeting, C-suite leaders are discussing strategic changes. In response to Covid-19, they want to ramp up R&D and scale down marketing and sales. But, the company lacks the talent to make that shift.

Questions fly: How soon can we hire these employees? How many do we need? What will it cost? You are tasked with finding answers and making an action plan—and fast. Are you prepared?

Not Business As Usual

Maybe this scenario isn’t specific to you, but it’s far from unlikely. Covid-19 has forced an unprecedented amount of businesses to rethink the way they operate.

That has highlighted the vital role of HR, now more than ever, according to Personio’s new study of 500 HR managers in the UK. We surveyed professional at companies of different types, sizes, and industries on how the pandemic has impacted their work and what lies ahead for the HR function as businesses continue to adapt during the pandemic,

The results are in, and this is what the future looks like for HR…

HR Will Help Businesses Recover

Most companies have struggled during the pandemic and the HR function has provided crucial support.

Some 97% of respondents said that HR has acted to benefit the business during the crisis. For example, by supporting remote working (66%), giving extra support to working parents (37%), and increasing internal communication (53%).

As organisations begin to recover, they expect HR to continue to play a pivotal role in three crucial areas:

  • Mental health/wellbeing initiatives (45%)

  • Implementing new work initiatives (37%)

  • Long-term planning (33%)

HR’s Strategic Role Will Stay Strong

HR has become more strategic during the crisis.

Since the pandemic, 35% of HR professionals say that HR focuses on strategic tasks, whereas only 25% said the same before Covid-19.

In addition, most HR professionals (80%) want this strategic role to continue. This suggests that the momentum of strategic initiatives by HR is gaining and maintaining traction in many businesses.

The Impact Of Covid-19: What’s Next For HR?

What's next for HR?

How has HR worked to support business in the era of Covid-19? What can you expect going forward? Download the study today to gain further insight and to learn more.

The HR Function Will Face Recovery Challenges

Despite the important part HR has played this year, many HR professionals (85%) see challenges to their ability to support the business post-pandemic.

These potential challenges include:

  • Constrained budgets (37%)

  • Not enough time or HR resources for strategic work (27%)

  • Too much admin work (25%)

HR Tools Will Be Essential To Success

Although the majority of respondents (68%) expect HR to have even more responsibility after the crisis has subsided, 42% lack the data and tools needed to support the business in the best way possible.

71% have also struggled with poor access to employee data. The study shows fully digitised HR functions outperformed their less-digitised counterparts in crisis response and recovery planning.

More than ever, having access to the right tools will help enable HR teams to deliver the support they desire.

The HR study showed that the vast majority of HR teams (90%) responded well to Covid-19. That’s great news. Now they face the task of helping businesses navigate the following weeks and months, and preparation will be key.

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