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The Ever-Evolving Role of HR in a VUCA World


Volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) is the perfect description for the unprecedented times we find ourselves in today. In turbulence characterised by a lack of familiarity, HR professionals have had to adapt to pre-COVID and COVID era changes, all while finding ways to keep the workforce (and themselves) motivated.


While uncertainties are felt at the individual level, HR leaders and other leadership roles generally require being prepared for far more. Dealing with multiple people and their issues simultaneously, requires the ability to expect the worst, and to prepare/brace the company and its employees accordingly. Generally, it is the HR team that deals with uncertainties before both the employees and the management, acting as somewhat of a first-line-of-defence, trying to navigate the situation to the best of their skills to reach a mutually beneficial conclusion. In dynamic or crisis situations, human resource consultancy services also help make this process easier.


So, what does it really take to be an HR professional in a VUCA world? Here are a few takeaways to keep in mind if your job comprises people management:


Keeping yourself updated

Given the dynamic nature of a VUCA scenario, professionals in this field have to systematically update themselves on a regular basis. Whether it’s knowing the latest developments in the country, or new and emerging workflow technologies, or even competencies required to build a robust talent management system, HR professionals need to step up learning efforts to perform efficiently and help keep the company running smoothly.


Staying motivated

It's important to find the right kind of motivation or desire to keep at par with the changing nature of events. While it is easy to be discouraged when things don’t seem to be going your way despite your best efforts, in this role it is important to seek help in the right places, and to persevere with getting the senior leadership on board with important decisions. Often at the forefront of employee management, the role of an HR exec presents the unique challenge and opportunity to keep the team motivated and happy so they perform at their best.


Being aware of the multifold impact

The challenges and impact of a VUCA environment are felt manifold in the position of an HR professional. Their task is to manage not just their personal uncertainties, but also be a sounding board for their teams. Being a solid structure of support is a taxing duty, one that requires them to find solutions to team’s problems over and above their own.


Planning for the worst

Being in a human resources role often needs one to expect the worst, and to prepare oneself and the team accordingly. It's important to also have in place a crisis management protocol, which will at least broadly help the organisation grapple with unforeseen challenges. With a host of solutions for a variety of problems, a role in HR gradually builds foresight and puts you in a position to tackle any unexpected issues that may arise.


Celebrating small victories

While human resource professionals are preparing for the worst, it’s important not to forget to celebrate the wins as well, no matter how small or inconsequential they may seem in the bigger context. This allows you to remain positive and focused on your goals, alongside providing the sense of satisfaction that comes from moving closer to a set target.


Finding a balance between traditional & tech-centric methods

With the rapid growth of technology, the ever-evolving and flourishing realm of HR tech has become increasingly popular. The VUCA world will require a balance of both traditional and tech-centric methods, for ease of familiarity and a personal touch coupled with efficiency and speed to ensure a smooth experience for the employees and the management alike. Right from feedback mechanisms, to review processes and hiring protocols, organisations will need to determine what level of investment they can make in tech, as well as what need they have for specific tech tools. Here, the onus of understanding company requirements and employee sensibilities falls on the HR team.


The role of an HR professional is a demanding one, and can often benefit from the assistance of corporate culture consultancy services to make their tasks easier, to streamline and delegate work efficiently. Now more than ever, HR professionals have taken on the role of the silent, unsung heroes, ensuring well-being of the employees despite the uncertainties, and continuing to keep morale and productivity high! However, these learnings are not just for the HR department to absorb. If anything, it is the duty of organisations and the decision makers within, to understand the magnitude of challenges faced by HR teams today, and to accordingly provide support, training and resources to help the company's backbone thrive.


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