During the financial crisis of 2008 and 2009, HR executives took it on the chin. At many companies, HR leaders orchestrated mass layoffs, and then were laid off themselves.
Not this time. These are the glory days for HR. The pandemic has driven demand for HR executives to a level I’ve never seen before.
Why? Because the pandemic forced companies rapidly to reorganize how business gets done. That indispensable work has been led by HR.
Last year, HR leaders helped companies rapidly transition to working at home. They established a host of new policies to guide the new way of working. They were critical in defining strategies for keeping employees happy and engaged.
Today, with the end of the pandemic in sight, HR is at the center of discussions as companies consider how they will return to the office. The last year has proven that remote workers can be very productive, and many employees like it. Given those facts, should companies require everyone to return to the office, or find a hybrid approach that tries to achieve the best of both worlds? Every company is grappling with these questions, and HR is leading the conversation.
We’re in the early stages of a historic change in how work gets done. The office isn’t going away, but its role is being redefined. I expect it will require several years of experimentation before companies settle into new ways of working.
Until then, expect demand for HR professionals to stay very high.