Media HR must navigate human-centric workplaces amid global challenges

By Amit Das

Bennett Coleman & Co. Ltd. (The Times Group)

Mumbai, India


The preceding three years saw a tectonic shift in the way the world operates. The pandemic and its effects challenged many established theories and broke stereotypes about life, work, and relationships.

However, the challenges are not over. The world faces new threats of a possible global recession, an unending Ukrainian war, threats to the global supply chain, and a start-up funding winter. Meanwhile, we’re having to battle the after-effects of the pandemic along with its sporadic resurgence in various forms around the world.

Organisations require agile decision-making, the ability to correctly leverage technology, and the capability to attract talent with new age skills to successfully convert the challenges into sustainable growth opportunities.

Hybrid work environments demand companies become more focused on people versus production.
Hybrid work environments demand companies become more focused on people versus production.

Employee expectations of their employers have also undergone profound changes during the past few years in what is now being termed as the “Great Reflection.” The perceived role of employers has shifted from mostly transactional to that of a psychological safety net for individuals. Health and wellness have gained prominence, along with an increasing need to identify with the values and mission of an organisation.

The rules of engagement have also undergone a change. What worked in a physical workplace no longer yields the same results in a hybrid work environment.

The coming year presents HR with a window of opportunity to redefine the significance of its function in the post-pandemic world. It needs to play the dual role of an organisation’s anchor and navigator during this period of evolving priorities and expectations. As an anchor, HR needs to deliver on the expectations of employees. And, as a navigator, it must simultaneously ensure the business successfully negotiates the challenges presented.

There are several key areas in which HR leaders can focus to create a future-fit organization.


Hyper-personalisation of benefits and engagement programmes must cater to all segments of a distributed workforce that works in a hybrid arrangement.

Organisations are actively trying to leverage technology and enhance data’s role in designing interventions to cater to a multi-generational and diverse workforce. This requires effective data management practices and the ability to draw actionable insights through analytics.

Communication also plays a key role due to the distributed nature of the workforce. It is critical in driving alignment of purpose.


Agile, modular organisational structures provide portfolio career opportunities that encourage intra-preneurs (employee entrepreneurs). This requires structure, policies, and capabilities that can quickly respond to changing environments. These capabilities need to be built on a network of empowered teams operating with high standards of alignment, accountability, expertise, transparency, and collaboration.


Build and nurture the talent continuum where there are multiple pathways for engagement. Engage platform workers and make their work more lucrative with an innovative reward/capability/benefits infrastructure.

There is a need to create a structure with well-defined career paths that allows for movement across roles and types of engagement. It also requires developing an ecosystem that can effectively harness the productivity benefits derived from the evolution of the new talent continuum.

Skill development

There need to be opportunities for upskilling or reskilling across functions to build capacity and capability. This ensures sustainable growth for an organisation.

Successful capability-building programmes are built on a clear understanding of exactly which individuals need which skills to meet the organisation’s goals. The most effective programmes are designed with a performance-first approach: Their goal is to find the most efficient ways to help people perform better in their current roles while enabling their growth toward future roles with new capabilities.

Care and wellbeing

Organisations must provide for psychological safety and wellbeing of employees as a human imperative. Creating a future-fit organisation requires leaders to adopt a human-centric lens, which requires leaders to look at people priorities from multiple points of view. They must be especially empathetic to those whose experience is fundamentally different from theirs.

By prioritising a team’s wellbeing, while maintaining high levels of openness and integrity, companies can create a work culture ready to take on the challenges of the future.

The future of work is about creating more human-centric workplaces and an employee value preposition that genuinely benefits both employers and employees.

Ultimately, the post-pandemic world will be about making jobs more purpose-driven, listening to employees’ needs, and establishing work conditions that make it easy for them to love their jobs.

About Amit Das

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