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Alan Price

Peninsula Business Services

Employment Law & HR Director

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Channelling chameleons: Why HR team’s must be agents of change in 2024

Just like chameleons, HR teams must be adaptable to changing surroundings. With their role being increasingly put under the public and social media microscope, adjusting quickly to new employment laws and policies is more important now than ever.
green chameleon crawling on branch: being agents of change

In 2024, HR professionals and the companies they work for are increasingly under the spotlight of social media and news sites looking for the latest employment scandal. 

Viral TikToks with dodgy layoff conversations; “QuitTok”, a new phenomenon where employees film their exit from a company; and social media accounts that read HR emails gone wrong aloud. It can all quickly become a PR nightmare. 

Because of this, HR teams need to not only tread carefully but become agents of fast change to make sure their policies, procedures, advice and all communications with employees are near infallible. 

It’s a lot of pressure, especially as laws change all the time. But here’s why HR teams must be agents of change in 2024, and how mastering change is key to high-performing HR teams… 

HR teams need to not only tread carefully but become agents of fast change

If you’re not changing, you’re not learning

Where sales teams have an “always be closing” attitude, HR teams must adopt an “always be learning” mindset. 

Having up-to-date knowledge of new laws will help them also have a positive and clear internal communications strategy. This gives companies a better advantage when it comes to keeping employees happy and on-side. 

But as HR managers are already expected to be employment law experts too, who teaches the teacher? Well, regular on and off-site training days are recommended to keep your HR team in the loop with changing laws. 

HR teams might have third-party support of some kind, but failing that, staying in tune with weekly news and subscribing to a reliable legal newsletter can be beneficial. 

It’s also important to check in on capacity to allow for learning. If your HR team is overwhelmed and fighting fires, ie. only dealing with emergencies or urgent matters, they won’t have as much time for growth or learning in the realm of employment law.

If your HR team is overwhelmed and fighting fires… they won’t have as much time for growth or learning

Don’t fear change, change fear

Despite the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and technology in the industry, HR is still a relatively traditional profession. This leaves room for fear of the new and unknown. 

But if HR teams can harness the power of tools like AI-powered recruitment, administrative automation and pattern and trend data analytics, they can transform processes and get more time for decision making and exploring growth opportunities.

HR teams can unlock the full benefits of AI and use it to increase their adaptability. But they must have a good understanding of the risks and challenges involved. 

Accuracy, employee data protection and avoiding bias are all things that should be thoroughly researched before adopting AI. But the most important lesson is, as with any change, it’s not to be feared but harnessed. 

Human nature is even more unpredictable than employment law

You might know your employment policies and processes inside out, but real life is messy. Therefore, HR teams need to be prepared for anything and have a solid understanding of human nature. 

Training HR leaders on employment law alongside soft skills like active listening and conflict resolution is key. 

We’re living in an era of not only surveillance, but one where honesty and authenticity is championed online. Disgruntled employees are being encouraged to tell their stories. 

This means HR teams need to be extra emotionally intelligent and careful in making sure the way they handle any kind of dispute is lawful and above reproach. 

News travels in a click nowadays meaning HR teams need to adapt. Any misstep can have far-reaching consequences. It’s important HR leaders foster a positive culture and uphold company values, acting with fairness, respect and inclusivity in everything they do. 

They must also be prepared to thoroughly investigate any accusations that do come about on review sites or social media, to make sure they demonstrate a commitment to accountability and protect the reputation of the business. 

HR teams can unlock the full benefits of AI and use it to increase their adaptability

Agile all the way: Flexible work practices are here to stay 

As of April, employees have a new right to request flexible working. HR teams are critical to helping companies embrace the change of remote, hybrid, cross-functional teams by promoting practices that enable greater flexibility and collaboration. 

HR’s role is to guide employees through transitions to help bring more positive outcomes for both stakeholders and employers alike. 

As well as being agents of change themselves, the role of the HR professional in 2024 is to minimise the disruption of change. Thereby supporting employees with the resources they need to thrive and helping them adapt to changing circumstances. 

And just like our ever-camouflaging friend the chameleon, HR professionals must continue to adapt to keep up with the changes and challenges brought about by the modern world of work.

Did you enjoy this? Why not read Ensuring HR’s survival means changing our approach next?

Author Profile Picture
Alan Price

Employment Law & HR Director

Read more from Alan Price
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