HR Leaders After Covid-19

Author: Aravind Warrier
Date: 26 Mar, 2021
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In recent years we are seeing a worldwide economic downturn on account of COVID-19 that has disrupted or is still disrupting everyone’s perspective towards ‘Life.’ In today’s so-called VUCA world, the interconnectedness of the economy means that economic struggles in one part of the world inevitably resonates with other countries. Although the financial outlook is improving as countries’ economies begin to recover, there will be lasting effects on how organizations around the world conduct business. The impact on organizational revenues and funding for staffing, HR initiatives, and operational strategies as a result of the sudden and severe economic decline created many challenges within organizations, but it also provided valuable insights about successfully leading organizations through lean financial times.
Which knowledge, skills, abilities, and other qualities stand out for successful senior HR leaders in turbulent economies? Keeping the ongoing context and situation, the three most important competencies for senior HR leaders during this kind of unprecedented crisis are effective communication, strategic thinking, and leading change. Leading change is the only competency of the top three most important competencies that requires a different mindset and perspective. The matter of fact is, to lead change, a leader should marshal the other two competencies which then fasten the process. Through this course, it’s difficult for anyone to think of a better model that incorporates the three vital competencies, which would help the leader navigate through this unexpected phase of his/her tenure.
  1. Effective Resilient Communication: It is not the normal communication (being able to verbally or in writing, convey messages in terms that make sense, and also to actively listen to others) that we are talking about. We are referring to that which has the resilience edge comprising of empathy, compassion, kindness. The new norm requires a lot of persuasion than ordering, irrespective of the leader’s power and status. Credibility and trust are the key outcome of ‘Resilient communication.’
  2. Strategic Thinking: The vital art of sensing the tomorrow or the future and creating a path to achieve the painted future. As the current norm is uncertain, it becomes particularly important for any leader to factor agility and flexibility while painting the future. Planning is vital, and it will always remain vital in the leadership dictionary. The virtual world works in a virtual structure of agility and new norms of collaboration and it beckons leaders to set the networking norms to ensure that effective collaboration is done to drive great performance and culture.
  3. Leading & Sustaining the New Norm: You cannot lead the change without having an edge over the other two competencies. The new norm is architected or built on the foundation of how the future is painted and orchestrated by the leader. The leader uses the communication tool to ensure that the painted picture is navigated without any kind of turbulence. The outcome of managing, leading, and sustaining change in the new norm is a vibrant, agile, and everlasting culture and structure which is formed using new DNA.

Can the above-said competencies and sub-competencies be cultivated? It depends in part on the nature of the competency and whether it is perceived as something that can be acquired, such as operational knowledge or skills, or as an attribute and part of the individual’s character. The cultural context may influence one’s belief about whether certain competencies can be learned.
In order to successfully meet the demands of their roles, senior leaders must not only be keenly aware of the knowledge, skills, abilities, and other qualities required of them now, but also understand how those requirements may change in the future.

The new norm will create more change leaders than earlier years of existence, so it becomes even quintessential to re-frame and re-kindle the new norm with an opportunity mindset.

These competencies are expected to become increasingly salient five years into the future. Senior HR professionals and those who aspire to advanced HR positions should take measures to cultivate, foster, and enhance competencies expected of elite levels of HR. Further, as the workplace becomes increasingly virtual and agile, senior HR leaders must develop the competencies required of advanced HR roles across the globe.

Future belongs to Leaders who craft, create, and sustain new norms, keeping change as a driver.

Biography of the Author

An HR Professional with experience of more than twelve years, Aravind Warrier has worked in multiple sectors like Information Technology, Manufacturing, and Pharmaceuticals in leading MNCs. Having worked very closely with business leaders in managing mission-critical projects and assignments, he has been pivotal in providing a strategic perspective to the organization. Apart from being passionate about keeping up his learning curve while developing and coaching team and extended team, he is a motivational speaker and also serves as an advisory member for many leading business schools across India.
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