Future workplaces are likely to be quite different environments from the traditional office setting that we experience today, and human relations are no exception. Advances in technology, the rise of remote work, and changing employee expectations are all likely to significantly impact how business is approached and handled.
Human relations strategies are the interaction between a company and its employees, shaping the workplace culture and relationships. With future work ecosystems likely to be a dynamic and rapidly evolving environment, organizations will be impacted by technological advances, changing employee expectations, and the global economy.
Human resource management directly affects business performance; therefore, organizations will need to respond and adapt to changing work methodologies and manage employee needs on a more individual basis.
For companies who wish to improve employee-management relationships, potential human relations strategies could mean that companies will need to focus on some specific areas.
1. Adopt new technology and automation tools
Advances in technology, such as AI and machine learning, help organizations to automate routine and repetitive tasks, freeing up employees to focus on higher-value work. Improving efficiency and productivity enables employees to develop new skills and abilities. From a human relations perspective, technological innovations can strengthen the relationship between company and employee and promote more efficient working methods.
One machine can do the work of fifty ordinary men. No machine can do the work of one extraordinary man.
– Elbert Hubbard
As these innovations become more advanced and capable, automation tools will likely need to manage a more complex set of tasks and work demands. Potentially indicating a shift in the skills or expertise that are most in demand, and employers may need to rethink their recruitment strategies. Employees will gain better opportunities to thrive and contribute with a greater emphasis on skills like creative thinking and problem-solving.
2. Foster collaboration and inclusivity
It is important for organizations to foster a culture of collaboration and inclusivity as part of their ethos. Human relations thrive in the workplace by encouraging open communication and collaboration across groups of employees. With a greater emphasis on diversity, inclusivity, and employee well-being, future workplaces will harness ethnic or cultural differences.
Unique perspectives and approaches will be gained by leveraging employees’ backgrounds and experiences to advance toward shared business goals. As the global economy becomes more interconnected, organizations will need to be able to draw on a diverse range of skills, knowledge, and expertise to remain competitive and relevant.
3. Support remote work
It is easier than ever for employees to connect and collaborate from anywhere in the world, and the trend looks set to continue. This could mean employers must accommodate flexible working arrangements to support asynchronous working and enable employees to work freely from their homes or off-site co-working spaces. Tools like Wrike and Smartsheet facilitate communication and information sharing to keep tasks on track.
Locations outside of the traditional office setting will become the new standard for many business sectors and industries. As the popularity of remote work continues to grow, organizations will need to invest in support systems to help employees to work effectively and coordinate functions. Or by offering training and assistance so that workers can adapt to a home-based work model.
4. Prioritize employee well-being
Prioritizing the well-being of employees helps organizations retain top talent, and with good human relations, recruitment and training costs are reduced. Providing support for mental and physical health creates a positive work environment, and a good work-life balance can enhance employee engagement.
Companies that understand the importance of healthy human relations may offer services to support employee well-being in the form of –
Mental Health Support
Access to counseling services, stress management training, or activities such as yoga or meditation classes.
Alternate or flexible working arrangements, such as remote work options or flexible scheduling. Access to support services, such as childcare or elder care, to help employees manage responsibilities outside of work.
Encouraging employees to speak up and share concerns or ideas with management. This can be done through meetings, anonymous suggestions, or other channels that allow for open and honest communication.
Physical health support
Businesses can support employees with wellness programs such as gym memberships or fitness classes and encourage employees to take regular breaks to move around and stretch throughout the day.
Appreciation for employees’ hard work and dedication by recognizing achievements and offering rewards, such as bonuses or additional time off generates good morale.
5. Invest in development and training
In the quickly evolving world of work, it is important for organizations to invest in the development and training of their employees to improve skills and increase things like engagement and retention.
Onboarding and training expenses typically take a big bite out of the business budget and investing in employees and their development can effectively reduce turnover. Opportunities for employees to learn new skills, gain new experiences, and take on new challenges create a stronger bond of loyalty and trust. Helping employees with progression benefits organizations in the long run.
Businesses can invest in employee development and training in several ways.
- In-house training programs
- Access to online learning resources (Absorb, Cornerstone)
- Conferences, seminars and workshops
- Leadership development programs
- Mentorship opportunities
I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day, you bet on people, not on strategies.
– Lawrence Bossidy
Human relations vs. Human resources
With human relations affecting so many components of work and reaching into related areas, a focused and progressive strategy is needed to manage a changing business landscape. Human resources are the methodology that most companies have adopted, filtering employees by categories, assigning them to appropriate groups, and then managing those groups.
Human relations are much more employee-centric and inclusive, focusing on the representation of individuals and encouraging diversity in the workplace. The movement towards positive human relations is driven by organizations that understand people are their most valuable asset. Companies develop strategies for success based on the advancement, engagement, and happiness of the employees who support their businesses.
It is likely that human relations in the workplace will continue to be an important aspect of best HR practices. Employers will continue to prioritize creating a healthy environment and fostering good working relationships among their employees.
Providing workers with opportunities for development and growth, promoting collaboration and teamwork, and addressing conflicts or issues that arise among employees. Ultimately, an organization’s success will depend on its employees’ ability to work together effectively and support one another.