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Role of HR in Defining the Future of Work

by Benjie Garcia

I was privileged to be one of the panelists on the topic Role of HR in Defining the Future of Work in the recently concluded ASEAN HR Virtual Summit.  Reflecting on this topic further after we finished recording our panel discussion, I’m struck by the number of times and events where the role of HR has been brought up for discussion.  I suppose this indicates the desire among HR professionals and other business leaders to ensure that the Human Resource function remains an important contributor to business success. After all, other functions and roles are also asking a similar question.  In our rapidly changing environment, the ability to anticipate and adapt quickly is critical in order to thrive and succeed.

Ironically, the Covid-19 pandemic has also caused us as individuals to pause and reflect on what truly matters in life.  Working remotely or from home forced many of us to shift from our previously compartmentalized personal and professional lives to one which is much more intertwined and boundaries have become blurred. This can be a dramatic and sudden change to many so it is not a surprise that it has caused challenges and discomfort. No one is spared from this experience including the HR professional.  Hence, my opening recommendation in our panel discussion on disruption was to leverage our experience from this pandemic.  Based on various research, there is a heightened concern for issues like anxiety, depression, feeling of isolation and other related emotional issues.  These issues certainly impact people not just in their work but their entire lives.  Aside from giving them the resources and technical skills to adapt to a digital world, there is a need to create a work environment that enables them to be empowered.  I believe an important action towards this goal is in developing the emotional intelligence of people, both leaders and individual contributors, in organizations.  This need has been identified even before Covid-19 and has become even more critical now where there is greater need for empathy, caring, trust, authenticity and psychological safety.  At POWERINU, it is our hope that the future of work will mean placing greater emphasis to the word HUMAN in the role of Human Resource.