The last 18 months have shown that every crisis leads to uncertainty and affects all areas. Therefore, health, wellbeing and safety at work have become more important and the implementation of these three aspects have become key business objectives.

After all, there are only benefits when companies prioritise these long-term considerations: data confirms that employees who felt well supported by their employer in the areas of health, wellness and safety achieved 90 percent better results than those who did not. In a constant time of change, the key is to manage the unexpected and the threatening in the workplace.

Individual And Organisational Resilience

Such change is escalating the importance of HR’r role within organisations. For HR professionals, this means the future of work will include developing a stronger focus and a more holistic view of employee wellbeing, one that encompasses the emotional, mental and spiritual health of workers along with the physical.

HR will take up the responsibility together with the team leads to create a suitable framework and culture and to help employees learn skills that enable them to overcome fears and remain physically and mentally healthy. HR should take a lead role in building resilience and preparedness across all areas and levels of the organisation so that it can not only respond to change and complexity, but also thrive and benefit from uncertainty.

For example, HR should train employees in the basics of resilience – emotion control, empathy, self-efficacy, optimism – and that they are able to adjust to change and stay engaged. These are skills that optimise potential, enhance wellbeing, increase agility, and protect against burnout risk.

In addition, HR needs to identify which employees are most at risk of anxiety, depression and burnout and which are ready to face challenges at any time. This also includes employees in their home offices. HR professionals also need to address wellbeing outside the office and ensure that home office employees will develop a strong sense of belonging to the company, that they know their job and feel cared for. Predictive risk data is becoming an important HR tool for managing wellbeing and health in and outside the office.

This paves the way for a new role for HR that focuses on wellbeing as a business strategy to increase employee engagement. This could also create new positions, such as Director of Wellbeing or the Work from Home Facilitator. Creating these new job positions seems like overkill. But in the future, stakeholders and investors will also judge companies according to their resilience. They will check more in the future if a company and its workforce are ready to manage critical events including digital downtime, supply chain interruptions, natural disasters, terrorist threats, human made disasters, and any critical event that impacts operations, assets, and resources.

Organisational Trust And Safety

Wellbeing and health at work inevitably include the aspects of trust and safety. HR professionals are in a unique position to be guardians and models of an ethical and responsible workplace. On one hand safety involves safety and health training, instructions, guidelines and safety plans to prepare the workforce by identifying potential hazards, outlining reporting requirements and what to do if a workplace hazard occurs on the job. On the other hand it has a lot to do with creating a work atmosphere without fear and with building a company culture that is based on values such as trust, openness, respect and integrity.

In our world of digital transformation trust and safety have also a lot to do with data security. A survey revealed that 80 percent of employees said their companies should ask for permission before gathering data on them. Questions are now being raised around this issue and its potential for bias, inaccuracy, and lack of transparency. As a result, employees’ awareness about privacy and how much they are willing to blithely share is intensifying. HR should make sure that people are treated fairly throughout the entire employee lifecycle — from recruiting to off-boarding — regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, religion, economic status, background, age, or culture.

We think that HR will have an important role to support and to lead organisations in navigating the future. Resilience, wellbeing, health and safety become important issues for HR departments. They have a tremendous responsibility to prepare employees for future challenges. It is expected that many new HR roles continue to emerge over the next decade.

If you have anymore questions to these HR trend topics, please contact our Managing Director Marie (marie@doneberlin.com)