The HR function must evolve at a faster pace due to the COVID-19

Over half of HR managers believe that the HR function must evolve at a faster pace due to the COVID-19 crisis and that it cannot continue as it did prior to the pandemic.

This was discovered by Personio, who found that 51 per cent of UK HR managers hold the opinion that the HR function must change following the virus.

More than three-quarters (79 per cent) said that HR has been pivotal in assisting businesses to successfully adapt to the “new normal”. With 91 per cent ranking the function of the department to be ‘good’ or ‘very good’.

Two-thirds (66 per cent) say they have had to deal with more administrative tasks during the lockdown, as well as breaking down the communication barriers between HR and senior teams. The majority (71 per cent) of HR managers have reported that HR has now become more closely involved at boardroom level during the pandemic.

Most HR managers (80 per cent) agree that it’s important for HR to maintain the strategic role it played during the outbreak. Whereas a third (33 per cent) believes it’s vital the HR function becomes more strategic as well as more agile and flexible (33 per cent) to stay ahead going forward.

However, just under half (48 per cent) of HR managers do not believe they have the HR tools and systems in place to be as effective as they possibly can, with 71 per cent saying they struggle to access data or analytics in their business.

Under two-fifths (39 per cent) believe their budget will decrease over the next 12 months making it hard to make the most out of this new position of influence.

It was also found that those who have a digitised HR function are more effective than those who do not.

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.

In order to gather these results, Personio spoke to 500 UK HR managers.