Dr. Kakul Agha Human Resources
Looking at Trends during COVID-19 in HR and Hospitality Industry
Knowing what the future holds for us is nothing but an estimation of the present. We are aware that since the last eighteen months, the world is undergoing dynamic changes and rapid evolution.
Over a period of time, organizations have realized that these changes are needed for the functioning of people, departments and leaders’ roles in organizations. Several latest researches indicate that current trends in HR and Hospitality Sector focus on building new and better workplaces.
The first and foremost trend points towards Upskilling and Reskilling of Employees. To handle a VUCA (Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous) business environment, there is a need for managers to plan and foresee requirements for upskilling and reskilling employees to fit into new and unexpected roles. HR needs to let employees shift their focus from traditional career paths spanning over decades to think outside their role in the organization. There is an urgent need among employees to develop critical and newly-found skills so that they can be more competent over a period of time. The critical skills required for the future may include higher-order cognitive, social, emotional and digital skills along with higher-level of adaptability, resilience and empathy. HR should offer greater development and learning opportunities to employees. The hospitality sector needs special upskilling and reskilling as this sector has suffered much and it needs a heightened level of resilience (ability to bounce back to new normal and adapt new requirements).
The second trend focuses on Adaptable and Flexible Work environment. The traditional work environment, large offices, requirement for parking spaces, excessively high costs for amenities, business travel and physical presence for work completion as well as meetings has become a thing of the past – as the pandemic has challenged it in an extreme manner. Things that were not even imagined till last year have become a reality and the need of the hour. The change in organizational structures and hierarchy need to be replaced by distributed structures and delegation for faster decision-making as required by the new order of the world. The current trend is to let HR teams focus on bringing flexibility and agility in their actions rather than just being service providers. Supporting employees in efforts of enhancing their work-life balance should be the goal of the HR department. The latest McKinsey report on leadership during tough times highlights the value of collaboration and networking of teams along with enhanced information sharing and distributed authority among employees to handle tough situations like these pandemic times. So HR and most sectors should try to bring about more flexibility at the workplace with remote working, diminished travel, and spatially spread-out teams.
The third and dominant trend is related to embedding forward-looking technology and AI techniques within the workplace. The surge in technology usage has been the most important and direct consequence of the pandemic COVID-19. Suddenly employees and management have realized that everything can be done with the help of technology, practically in all sectors. Integrating technology and AI at workplace can support employee “superteams” to produce more impactful work that enables organizations to transform and achieve high performance SMART goals. It is being experimented that with heightened usage of AI, the teams can use data more effectively to generate future-looking market trends and business insights. Further, this can help teams analyze and use data for superior decision-making and faster action by leaders.
So overall, these trends have been viewed and experienced by organizations, managers and employees alike, and they need to be sustained for better success in the future. These business developments cannot be negated post-pandemic times and therefore leaders need to study trends and develop suitable infrastructure to bring forth changes related to the functioning of teams, organizational structures, policies related to employees and provide enhanced opportunities for training and development in the near future.