The HR department has a crucial part to play in the success of any business. This has always been true, but the role of HR has become particularly significant this year, with so many organisations working hard to meet their human capital requirements and keep costs under control against the backdrop of COVID-19.

In this unique environment, it's worth taking a fresh look at your human resources strategy to ensure it's fit to meet your company's current needs and build a proactive HR strategy.

Here are some of the ways you might be able to update your strategic approach to human resource management not just to survive today, but to be competitive in the future:

1. leverage flex talent

If you're not yet taking advantage of the flexible labour market, you could be missing out on valuable talent opportunities. You're also running the risk of falling behind your competitors in the race for the strongest candidates.

flexible working arrangements
flexible working arrangements

Various studies have highlighted recent growth in the number of people working on a temporary or contract basis and the proportion of firms leveraging this portion of the labour force.

The 2019 Global Business & Spending Outlook survey by American Express showed that three of four companies (75%) said using contractors, freelancers and temps will be important to their employment practices two years from now. This was up from 43% in 2018.

a flexible workforce can help you achieve benefits like:

  • Access to contingent workers when you need them most - during one-off projects or limited periods of high demand, for example
  • Opportunities to access specialist contractors offering niche skills
  • Avoiding the time and cost commitments of permanent hiring
  • Easing the burden of a heavy workload on your permanent staff
  • Covering absences caused by illness, maternity leave, unpaid leave or sabbaticals

2. use tech to reduce costs

There have been some exciting developments in the HR technology space in recent years, many of which have created opportunities for businesses to manage costs by making their human capital processes quicker and more efficient.

Recent innovations can streamline traditionally time-consuming tasks like sourcing, pre-screening, assessing and interviewing candidates, for instance.

Allyo is one example of a tool that can reduce the admin burden of hiring through automation and machine learning, while services like Checkster can speed up and optimize reference checking.

It's also worth considering the benefits of methods like video interviewing, which can boost your ability to target passive candidates and make the entire interviewing process easier and less costly for all parties.

Getting onboard with changes in HR technology demonstrates that you're moving with the times. It also shows that you're willing to embrace new methods and systems that make the application process easier for candidates, which is good for your employer brand.

3. look to the long term

The enormous impact of COVID-19 on organisations and workers all over the world means many businesses are understandably preoccupied with immediate concerns.

However, even in an extreme situation like this, many HR managers will be thinking about long-term goals as well as their short-term priorities.

One of the most effective ways to prepare for the future is by creating a talent acquisition strategy. This is a good way to ensure that your key HR processes, such as identifying, recruiting and onboarding candidates, are properly aligned with the wider goals and priorities of the business.

people strategy objective
people strategy objective

Engage with senior leadership to refine your understanding of where the company wants to be in 12 months, two years and five years. This will give you a better idea of your talent needs to support the organisation in its growth and development.

It's also wise to do some research on the most significant trends in your industry right now and how conditions are expected to change in the near future. If there are new tech requirements or regulatory changes just around the corner, for example, you need to be equipped with the right people and skills to meet these challenges head-on.

Ultimately, you should think about how to future-proof your business. Consider the steps you can take to:

  • Understand your current capabilities
  • Identify talent gaps
  • Bridge those gaps

4. get expert support

It's a big ask for the HR department - which in many small businesses constitutes just one person - to carry all of the responsibility for managing the workforce and ensuring the organisation has the talent it needs to succeed.

This is a highly complex and dynamic space where trends move and change quickly. It's not easy to keep up with the latest developments in HR and the world of work, let alone stay ahead of them.

That's why many businesses have a lot to gain from working with a dedicated HR services partner. The knowledge and experience of a company like Randstad can help you better understand your needs and tailor your HR strategy plan to suit them.

Moreover, we can help you keep up with trends and changes in HR technology, which can be particularly useful for smaller companies whose budget doesn't allow for inhouse experts.

We've just produced a new guide offering some fresh insights into one of the topics discussed in this post: talent acquisition. Fill in the form on this page to get a complimentary digital copy of the ‘how to build an effective talent acquisition strategy’ guide.

download talent acquisition strategy
download talent acquisition strategy

the guide contains the following:

  • introduction to talent acquisition strategy
  • introduction to talent acquisition strategy
  • recognising talent acquisition pain points
  • connecting a talent acquisition strategy to ROI
  • steps to building an effective talent acquisition strategy

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