The pivotal role played by UK HR teams during the Coronavirus crisis has thrust the function into the spotlight and demonstrated the importance of an effective people strategy.
That’s according to new research which also found HR teams want to maintain a more influential and strategic role post-pandemic.
In fact, half (51%) of the 500 UK HR managers surveyed by HR software solution Porsonio said the HR function cannot continue as it did prior to the C-19 outbreak.
This could be due to the significant role HR has played in helping organisations through the initial stages of the pandemic. Eight out of ten (79%) respondents said HR has been integral to helping the business successfully adapt to the new normal, while nine out of ten (91%) rated the function’s response as "good" or "very good".
Although two thirds (66%) of HR managers surveyed say they dealt with a much higher administrative burden during the lockdown, they also delivered critical strategic value and broke down silos between HR and senior teams.
Overall seven in ten respondents believe HR has added strategic value to the business during the pandemic – with the same number saying the HR function has been more closely involved at board and senior team level during the outbreak.
However, there are question marks over HR’s ability to properly evolve and hold on to its new, more strategic, partnership role in the long term. Just under half (48%) of HR managers surveyed state they do not have all the HR tools and systems in place to be as effective as possible and 71% say they struggle to access data or analytics in the business.
During the pandemic, 42% of UK HR managers say that the HR function has lacked the data and tools it has needed to support the business in the best way possible. And with less than (46%) of HR teams having an HR-specific recovery plan put in place, and HR budgets increasingly under threat (39% expect budgets to decrease in the next 12 months*), the function may not be in an ideal situation to capitalise on its newfound position of influence.
Hanno Renner, co-founder and CEO of Personio said: “HR is a company’s backbone, and this is never truer than during challenging times like these.
"The Covid-19 crisis has given HR teams a unique opportunity to demonstrate what they’re best at – helping businesses make strategic decisions when it comes to their greatest asset: people. HR teams will be critical to supporting individuals’ and businesses’ return to workplaces and navigating the challenging time after the lockdown.
“But this more strategic HR role can only be achieved when organisations have the technology, data and systems in place that free HR managers up to focus on their people while providing them with the insights they need to be effective. Organisations must act now to ensure the HR function can continue to operate strategically in the post-pandemic workplace.
"Budgets may be under threat, but people strategy is one area that absolutely must remain a focus for businesses as we adapt to new ways of working.”