Community conversations: HR trends and Covid-19: Which trends are strengthened, weakened or changed? – Part II

This week, we have rounded up some of the most pertinent questions we have received from you: our clients, partners and community. In this article, AKKA Architect’s CEO, Stephanie Akkaoui Hughes answers some of your most pertinent questions!

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Question: Early 2020, you – at AKKA Architects – published a report highlighting the imminent trends that were to affect Human Resources and the world of work in 2020 and beyond. With the Covid-19 pandemic, how have these trends changed?

Early 2020, we indeed issued a report entitled “HUMAN RESOURCES TRENDS 2020 & BEYOND: The top 6 imminent trends of 2020 & beyond”. In it, we highlighted the 6 imminent trends that we saw affecting the world of work and Human Resources (HR) for the year, with an eye on the following few years too. The six trends are: Technology, Generational Changes, Appreciation of Complexity, Inclusive Leadership and Professional Development, Employee Branding and Global Recruitment and Establishing Work-Life Balance as the Norm. So let’s start by looking at the first two. Last week, we looked at the first two trends, Technology and Generational Changes. This week, we dive into the second pair.

Trend #3: Appreciation of Complexity

“Due to the fierce competition in the world of business, understanding the complexities in an organization – complexities such as the percentage of internal successors as well as the voluntary turnover of the business – is critical to producing results. Understanding this helps the reinforcement of the company goals and the focus on the mission and the vision that the company needs to achieve. More so, an appreciation of complexities helps in making more tailored and long-lasting solutions.”

RESOURCES TRENDS 2020 & BEYOND: The top 6 imminent trends of 2020 & beyond, AKKA Architects, 2020.                   

For HR professionals, understanding the complexities affecting their role and responsibilities used to be focused on the dynamics within their organisation, the tendencies within their industry and the global trends at play, in that order. With Covid-19 heavily affecting every organisation in every industry, understanding the complexities has not only become more crucial than ever, but its order may also have shifted. It seems almost imperative to understand the global trends first, and then the industry implications, and only afterwards, the dynamics within the organisation itself. In any case, this pandemic has proven in irrefutable terms how everything is interconnected and interdependent, reminding me of one of my favourite quotes by Alfred Whitehead:

The misconception […] is the notion of ‘independent existence. There is no such mode of existence; every entity is to be understood in terms of the way it is interwoven with the rest of the universe.

Trend #4: Inclusive Leadership & Professional Development

“Nowadays, employees’ expectations are high and hey specifically expect the leadership to do more. With phrases such as “leaders lead by example” being commonly used, the performance of employees, as well as the company, seems to be highly dependent on the performance of the leaders. Moreover, inclusive leadership, which insinuates that focus is given to the inclusivity in leading and in decision making, has been found to help develop accountability and promote good leadership skills among employees.”

RESOURCES TRENDS 2020 & BEYOND: The top 6 imminent trends of 2020 & beyond, AKKA Architects, 2020.

As Covid-19 swept the globe, new found ourselves facing an unprecedented situation, for which we have no manual and no pre-designed protocols. It is in situations like this that leadership is truly exposed. As Warren Buffet says, “You only find out who is swimming naked when the tide goes out.” We are facing a time where most leaders in most organisations might find themselves with no answers and no solutions. In such circumstances, our best chance could be to put all our minds together and practice what I would call ‘collective leadership’. This new form of leadership would focus on facilitating the process rather than jumping to solutions. Through a well designed participatory process, leaders and employees can focus together on asking the right questions, and together on exploring possible answers. When this participatory process of leadership is adopted more widely, will we see inclusive leadership evolve into shared leadership?

Appreciation of Complexity and Inclusive Leadership & Professional Development are the second two of six imminent trends that are set to shape HR this year and for the next few years. In the next article, we will dive into the next and last trends to explore how they might have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

To find out what are the latest trends now and beyond 2020, download here Human Resources Trends report, which contains the top 6 imminent trends of 2020 and beyond.

Explore the latest trends and how they impact HR.

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