"There are so many changes that we were pushed towards during the pandemic, but many of them were changes that were coming anyway," Society for Human Resource Management vp of marketing Tina Beaty tells Doug Simon. "The pandemic just accelerated it a bit."
She says that "we know that the workplace is changing, the workforce is changing. The demographics of those within the workplace are changing. The needs of businesses are changing. And so, HR is always looking at that constant evolution."
Companies have begun to see "how critical human capital is" and that their HR strategies and policies need to work for everyone. "Doesn't mean that it's one solution for all workplaces," Beaty says, "but it does mean that everyone at the end of the day needs to go home and feel like they belong at the place where they work."
She also stresses the importance of DE&I strategies. "We're seeing a lot of focus on diversity and inclusion," she says, but tells Simon that "it is not just about the boxes around diversity. That's only part of the puzzle."
Employers need to make sure that "the diversity of thought, the diversity of race and gender and all of the different mixes from society are being represented." In addition, after assembling a diverse workforce, the next priority "is making them feel not only like they're included, but that it is truly safe for them to show up at work for who they really are."
SHRM has found a unique way to start up workplace conversation around these issues. The organization has developed "workplace conversation starter cards," which pull out stats from its research and follow them with one or two question prompts, which can get people talking.
The question of flexible work enivironments also comes up for discussion. While SHRM is now back in its offices full time, "some offices are still able to be remote." And then there are "many other industries—hospitality, healthcare" that never really had the option to go remote.
One issues HR managers in all kinds of workplace musc face, she says, is vaccines. To keep up with all of the conflicting nformation around vaccines SHRM is issuing articles once a day, "trying to break that down, so that workplace leaders, CEOs, entrepreneurs, and HR can really figure out what works for their staff."
The overriding priniciple she says, is communicating "up and down when it comes to workplace culture. Talk to your HR person today in a way that you've never have before. Ask them what you can do as a people manager and then go to your team and get some feedback from them."
Interested in taking part? Contact Doug Simon at firstname.lastname@example.org