Today, employee expectations, flexibility and people-centric practices need to be front and center in HR practice in order to strengthen workplaces. In this scenario, empowering the workforce means reimagining the employee-employer relationship and paying attention to workers’ perspectives. This also demands challenging traditional views on leadership, which in turn means that HR professionals are seeing their roles expand and evolve.

Here are three emerging HR trends and issues that forward-thinking businesses should be mindful of.

Given the changing nature of work, psychological safety and emotional wellness is critical to addressing the dynamic mental health needs of today’s workforce. Psychological safety matters because it empowers people to perform well in their jobs by bringing their whole, multi-layered and complex selves to work. There is also a strong business, ethical and legal imperative for organizations to embrace an ethos of psychological safety, so the time is ripe for HR experts to help enhance wellness strategies at work.

Closely tied to psychological safety is the idea of employee recognition. If it is going to be effective, recognizing individual and team effort requires authenticity and trust-based leadership. Expressing gratitude and appreciation at every stage of the employee journey not only supports psychological wellness but is also key for employee engagement and for organizational innovation and success. Encouraging psychological safety includes many important elements – from accommodating the needs of workers with varying life circumstances, to accommodating caregiving responsibilities and mental health challenges, to meeting and surpassing occupational health and safety regulations and legislation.

Moreover, it is essential that HR leaders also take care of their own mental health, in order to best fulfill their roles and empower the teams they work with. All in all, mental health significantly impacts workplace culture and is a key component of employees’ emotional well-being. HR leaders need up-to-date skills and relevant information to protect and improve the multiple facets of employee health and safety.

In the rapidly changing post-pandemic world of work, more and more people are reflecting on what’s important to them and how employment figures into that equation. This calls for redesigning work to emphasize authenticity, meaningful experiences and an overarching sense of purpose. Underlying this is a recognition that happiness and fulfillment are closely tied to one’s personal and professional success. Not only is this important for employees individually, but organizations also benefit from what happy workers bring to the table – more motivation, better performance and greater productivity. Here, HR leaders are well-positioned to lead the creation of healthy, vibrant, and more positive workplaces and employee experiences.

Cutting edge talent development strategies and innovative recruitment and retention solutions are the need of the hour. They are also crucial for future-proofing your organization and protecting it from risk. Particularly on the recruitment front and in light of The Great Resignation, hybrid work models are increasingly popular. It’s no mean feat to foster successful hybrid work cultures that foreground flexibility when it comes to work hours, location and styles. There is a strong business case in favor of hybrid work, so HR professionals can benefit from learning about organizational best practices and success stories of companies in this realm.

From reconfiguring business models to addressing the present skills shortage, HR and business leaders have their hands full as they reshape job roles, measure employees’ skills, plan for the skills projected to grow in demand and devise strategies to address this gap. Talent development strategies that hone in on upskilling and reskilling to retain employees and ensure organizations remain competitive in dynamic markets. All these changes to the current landscape of work point to the need for revamped, non-traditional leadership skills and mindsets that cater to employees’ diverse needs. This means HR professionals must be ready to collaborate with their peers who are also dealing with similar issues and to continually learn from leading experts on the topics front of mind for workers.

Diverse teams are the cornerstone of inclusive, productive organizations. Facilitating inclusivity requires leadership that champions allyship and that proactively addresses marginalization and discrimination in and beyond workplaces. The lived experiences of people from equity-seeking communities cannot be neatly separated into personal and professional domains. As a result, HR professionals are increasingly called upon to manage workplaces in a trauma-informed manner.

HR leaders who use a trauma-informed approach pay attention to how trauma and toxic stress impacts workers’ mental and physical health, what trauma responses can look like and how those experiencing or dealing with trauma can be best supported, including effective, trauma-sensitive communication tools. A trauma-informed perspective is one way to proactively mitigate risk, but it can also be utilized in many other situations, such as when resolving conflict, accommodating workers’ needs and conducting performance management reviews. Adopting a trauma-informed outlook is also valuable in hiring practices, skills development for leadership and designing team-building activities. All in all, HR experts who are able to weave in trauma-informed management in their work can spearhead the creation of workplaces that are psychologically safe and resilient.

Ready to Enhance Your Skills? Sign up for the HRPA 2022 Summer Conference

As these above trends continue to shape the employment landscape, it’s all the more important that HR professionals like yourself have the skillset to address talent development, emotional wellness strategies and organizational policies that facilitate for a stronger, inclusive future for all. The HRPA 2022 Summer Conference can help you upskill, earn CPD hours (for designated HRPA members) and expand not only your knowledge but also your professional network.

Over the course of three half-days from July 26 – 28, speakers will delve into the evolution of talent and the impetus to accommodate workers’ varying life circumstances. Sessions will also address how HR professionals can lead the necessary initiatives that can create space for employee-led workshops and presentations and account for the caregiving responsibilities of workers.

Learn more about the conference agenda and register here.