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HR Design is a Strategic Focus

According to Millner, the concept of design should be a prominent focus over the coming years.

How does this work out? Millner believes HR design aids strategy in three important ways:

  • “Shaping the design of the new organization of the future.
  • “Designing the new and re-shaped jobs that new working practices and automation will demand.
  • “Identifying the new capabilities and requirements that the new world of work will make upon the workforce, its managers and its leaders in terms of behavioral and technical demands.

“This means that some of the old techniques that don’t seem to be a part of the regular HR toolkit (such as organizational design, job design, scenario planning, etc.) need to be revisited and HR practitioners reskilled as necessary,” Millner continued.

“Organizational design and change management” was also the second-most important priority for HR leaders in 2021, according to Gartner research. Challenges cited include managers who aren’t equipped to lead change (37%) and employee fatigue due to the amount of change happening (36%).

Digging deeper, Gartner found the main issue to be organizations’ inability to react quickly in response to changing conditions. Factors that contribute to this friction, as Gartner termed it, range from rigid processes and overwhelmed teams to a work design that’s misaligned.

Gartner suggests that to deal with this and create a responsive workforce, companies need to clarify team boundaries, ensure work design lines up with how work actually happens now and formally create process flexibility.

On the subject of work design, Deloitte noted that in addition to things like investing in collaboration tools and redefining expectations for schedules and meetings, as mentioned above, there’s also an emphasis on aspects like leadership training and access to the appropriate technology to support work.

However, their research also found a disconnect between executive and employee priorities. Most notably, workers ranked “improving worker well-being” as the third-most important outcome, while it ranked eighth out of nine according to executives.

As we’ll explore in trend six, the emphasis on well-being, particularly mental health, is going to be a key focus this year and moving forward.

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