HR experiencing the upside of the pandemic

It is, as the expression goes, an ill wind that blows no good. And many HR professionals would tend to agree, according to a new survey.

HR Managers talking in corridoor
Conducted by human resources online resource XpertHR, the 2022 survey found that 38.8% of HR professionals in the UK believed that the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic had had a positive effect on their careers.

"Among those citing a positive impact, it’s clear that HR has become more agile and influential within the organisation as immediate people management issues (such as the rapid implementation of remote working) came to the fore," reported XpertHR.

"Another widely mentioned positive consequence of the pandemic is an expanding HR jobs market, with organisations more willing to take on employees from outside their geographical region and being open to a wider variety of working patterns."

HR managers saw COVID-19 as a positive within their career

The survey, which reported that just over three-quarters of HR professionals were now confident about their career prospects over the next five years - marking a return to pre-Covid levels - found that only 18.3% of respondents felt the pandemic had had a negative impact on their professional lives, mainly as a result of a significant increase in their workload over the past two years.

More than half of HR professionals said the main skills they needed and regularly used were employee relations and business awareness, while almost half also cited the need for a comprehensive knowledge of employment law.

Areas where they said they would like to develop their expertise included people analytics (26.6%) and HR data management (24.7%).

In a breakdown by gender, the survey found that female HR staff were more likely than their male counterparts to recommend a career in the profession.Michael Carty, benchmarking editor at XpertHR said, “It is heartening to see that the coronavirus pandemic has not dampened HR’s overall positive outlook and enthusiasm for careers in the profession.

“For many HR professionals the last two years have been among the most eventful and testing times in their careers. People management issues – such as implementing remote work models and creating safe office environments for returning employees – have topped the corporate agenda for many organisations during the pandemic, creating both challenges and opportunities for HR.

“As we slowly emerge from the pandemic, now is a particularly lively and vibrant time for people to embark on a career within HR. A strong emphasis on people issues – like recruiting and retaining key talent, ensuring a strong organisational commitment to diversity and inclusion, and a focus on the employee experience – means that HR has a key role to play now and in the future.”

Mental health and wellbeing is becoming a challenge for HR Managers

Meanwhile, a survey by America's HR Exchange Network found that the subject of staff mental health and wellbeing was becoming one of the profession's top priorities.

The latest 'State of HR' report said that the subject was now regarded as HR's third biggest challenge behind labour shortages and staff retention.

"In addition, those surveyed also said burnout was the top consequence of the pandemic. 'Blurring of work and personal life' and 'burnout' (with 28% of the vote each) was the biggest challenges to employee engagement," said HR Exchange Network.

"More than ever, employees want a sense of ‘purpose’ and ‘value’ at work. When organisations get employee experience right, and prioritise the relationship with engagement and performance, they can achieve twice the customer satisfaction and innovation, and generate, on average, 25% higher profits."
Related reading from Relocate Global

Read more news and views from David Sapsted.

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