The Top 5 Priorities for HR Leaders Today

Now more than ever, human resource leaders are expected by their companies to streamline the workforce's alignment with the 'new post-Covid working normals' and the organizations' strategic business. So what are the current priorities for HR leaders?

With the rollout of the Covid-19 vaccine up to speed, organizational leaders, particularly the HR team, have been plunged into the leadership limelight. Now more than ever, human resource leaders are expected by their companies to streamline the workforce’s alignment with the ‘new post-Covid working normals’ and the organizations’ strategic business. 

What’s more, is that HR is to ensure employees return to a safe and healthy work environment in the face of the ongoing pandemic. The point is, since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, HR leaders have not only played center roles in our organizations but their responsibilities and duties have also evolved considerably. 

Well, this leads us to the question of; what are the current priorities for HR leaders? Fortunately, we’ve got that covered! Here are the top 5 2021 HR priorities: 

1. Building Critical Skills and Competencies

Gartner, a global research and consultative body, recently surveyed more than 800 HR leaders and their top priority now is building critical skills and competencies for their organizations. It’s not a surprise that up to 68 percent of HR leaders cited this as their number one objective for this year, since workplace requirements have continued to evolve with emerging skills and needs of the modern business environment. 

In fact, another study by Gartner found out that 58% of the workforce will need new skills to successfully complete their jobs. We are now seeing massive automation solutions, gigification of work, remote working, revitalized e-commerce, and hybrid work models in our workplaces. Some employees have also moved into new roles as a result of layoffs and virtual work. 

So, looking at the future, HR leaders will need to take on dynamic approaches in reskilling their workforces and recruiting new talent. This will go a long way in meeting the evolving skills needed and ultimately closing the skills gap in your employees. 

2. Working Design and Change Management

One of the lessons we’ve learned from the outbreak of Covid-19 is the need to quickly adapt and respond to any emerging changes. HR leaders must now ensure that their organizations can effectively respond and adapt to the constant business disruptions, like the current scenario of the pandemic. 

Working design and change management as one of the top objectives for HR can be attributed to the fact that organizations have long been reliant on rigid processes, structures, operations, and role designs. However, HR and organizational leaders at large are encouraged to manage a flexible workplace to meet the fast-changing needs and conditions. 

Organizations with agility and flexibility over where, when, and how employees work can significantly prevent change fatigue, unlock workforce responsiveness, and ultimately manage change effectively. And despite most organization managers’ view that in-office workers are more productive than remote workers, studies have shown that full-time remote workers are 5% more likely to be high-performers than their in-office counterparts. 

3. Current and Future Organization Leadership

In the above-mentioned survey by Gartner, HR leaders pointed to current and future leadership bench strength as their third most important priority as only 44 percent of employees stated that they trust their organizations’ leaders and managers to pull through a crisis well. It’s also reported that up to 87% of companies aren’t confident that they have a strong leadership bench for the future. 

With these numbers, it only necessitates the question of how executive coaching may come in handy. In essence, coaching may just be the missing gap for creating strong leadership that’s necessary for organizations to become and remain competitive even in the unforeseeable future. 

Lack of diversity among the leadership has been attributed to be the cause of mistrust in most organizations’ leadership. This comes at a time when diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) have been a concern for the public, employees, and even employers. So to build strong and reliable leadership for tomorrow, HR needs to induce diversity in their culture and also look into coaching. 

4. Future of Work

The concern for critical skills and competencies isn’t a new problem for HR leaders – bridging the skills gap has been a long-standing issue for most organizations. Apart from the digital transformations and tech automation, the Covid-19 pandemic is going to have a long-lasting effect on the future of work. 

And even as organizations continue to embrace remote working and hybrid work models, more complexities are going to arise. For instance, in managing a remote workforce, reskilling a virtual team will generate new demands from HR leaders. 

So the point is, HR needs to look at and measure the impact that Covid-19 and other realignments have had on their strategies and plans, and what actions and adjustments they need to take in response to that. Identifying future work designs and trends that are relevant to the business will be imperative. 

5. Employee Experience and Wellbeing

Closing the list of the top 5 HR priorities is providing a better employee experience. Since the start of the pandemic, HR leaders have realized how essential it is to support employees amid pandemic distresses. From the fear of contracting Covid-19, working reduced hours, layoffs, juggling between homeschooling and work-from-home formulas, the pandemic has brought the need for investing in employees’ wellbeing. 

And despite the challenges presented by remote working and hybrid work models, leaders need to enhance their communication and collaboration with their workforce. It will go a long way to improve their work satisfaction, mental wellness, and overall work-life balance. And that also helps the HR leaders with managing employee retention. 

Looking Ahead

While last year and so far this year have proved to be the most volatile in recent times, as we move into 2022 and beyond, workplace adjustments on how we work, the technologies we use, and where we work will remain supreme. Therefore, it’s going to be the responsibility of the leadership to not only align the workforce with the changes but also ensure that the changes don’t affect their performance. 

At Sounding Board, we take pride in developing through coaching the world’s most effective leaders to manage hybrid and remote workforces, build high-performing teams, and enhance diversity in their workplaces. We provide virtual and scalable enterprise solutions to meet your current and future needs. Contact us to learn more. We’ll be glad to assist!

Join Our Newsletter!

Share on linkedin
Share on twitter
Share on facebook

Request A Demo

We Develop The World's Most Impactful Leaders

From leading remote workforces, building productive teams, to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion, Sounding Board has virtual and scalable enterprise solutions that are urgently required to adapt to rapidly changing workplace environments.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
Play Video
Play Video
Play Video

Piyush Gupta

Chief Product Officer

Piyush Gupta is Chief Product Officer at Sounding Board and champions the voice of customers and users with deep empathy. Piyush envisions Sounding Board to be the first window of coaching experience for professionals and leaders worldwide. His approach is deeply rooted in proven scientific research, modeling human behaviors, and data-informed insights to deliver mindset shifts and desired business outcomes for organizations at scale. He believes that a world-class UX is key to drive simplicity that will lead to millions of professionals to access coaching for their development.

Piyush co-invented the world’s first ‘landmark intelligent driving directions’ technology that led Google to redesign their routing algorithms for the Asian markets. For the next decade, he led two disruptive FinTech companies to the market leadership positions and delivered two award-winning products that serve more than 70 million users worldwide. His teams filed 20+ patents while he himself authored three patents. He is an active startup investor and advises selected AI-driven startups on business and product strategy. He is the recipient of the World Summit Award, one of the most prestigious international honors for product innovators. In addition, he is a James Swartz fellow, the most prestigious fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University funded by the founder of the iconic venture firm, Accel Partners.

Piyush holds an MS in Software Management from Carnegie Mellon University.

Tommy Perkins

SVP OF SALES, PARTNERSHIP & CUSTOMER SUCCESS

Tommy is at his best helping clients think through complex challenges in order to create a positive impact on their organizations. He thrives when interacting with others whether helping his team succeed or working with clients to build long-term partnerships. He has extensive experience consulting with organizations on driving their employee experience, guiding organizations through change, and working to ensure organizations are moving the needle when it comes to their results.

Most recently, Tommy was a Client Services Leader overseeing some of GP’s most prized accounts on a global level. His responsibilities included overall client growth strategy, retention, and satisfaction. He represented all of GP Strategies’ major business lines including leadership, coaching, and engagement, digital transformation, outsourced services, and technology implementation solutions.

Before GP Strategies, Tommy spent several years with TTEC Digital (formerly rogenSI) where he led the sales team,  eventually becoming the regional Learning & Performance practice leader for North America. While managing the P&L and sales team he also led the largest global relationship for the firm (Deloitte Globally). During his time at TTEC, he focused on delivering blended learning solutions that incorporate technology and hands-on training. Before TTEC Digital, he spent several years dedicated to strength-based leadership disrupting the business landscape regarding performance management and employee engagement with thought leader Marcus Buckingham at The Marcus Buckingham Company / TMBC (now ADP).

Tommy has had the privilege of working with some of the most well-known global brands in professional services, retail, technology, and healthcare including Deloitte, Facebook, Microsoft, Bank of America, Novartis, Gap Inc., lululemon, and Intel. Several projects he led for Deloitte were Global GNPS, New Partner Pivot, NextGen Partner Program Deloitte China, Present to Win, the RPM project on performance management, and Unconscious Bias.

Tommy holds a BS in Health Sciences from Texas A&M University, and an MBA from Universidad del CEMA.

Learn How to Build Agile and Productive Leaders Now!

From leading remote workforces, building productive teams, to improving diversity, equity, and inclusion, Sounding Board has virtual and scalable enterprise solutions that are urgently required to adapt to rapidly changing workplace environments.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

We respect your privacy! Your information will not be shared

Join our coaching team

Our expert coaches combine top notch coaching, business acumen and organizational savvy to truly become your leadership “Sounding Board”. Sounding Board coaches are all industry certified and strongly vetted going through a 3 step qualification process and receiving ongoing supervision and development.

Lori Mazan

Co-Founder & CCO Sounding Board, Inc.
Lori Mazan is the Co-Founder and Chief Coaching Officer of Sounding Board, the preeminent global leadership development enterprise platform changing the face of leadership development through innovative technology for leaders at all levels of an organization. Lori is a seasoned executive coach who has guided hundreds of corporate executives through 1:1 coaching focused on business outcomes and developing critical leadership skills. Client companies advanced by Lori’s expertise include Fortune titans such as Chevron and Sprint as well as high growth and public companies like Intellikine, and Tapjoy, plus 10XGenomics, which became a public company in 2019 while top executives worked with Lori and the Sounding Board team.
Lori has spent the last 25 years coaching C-Suite executives to leadership excellence. Many of those public and private company CEO’s expressed that they would have liked this caliber of coaching earlier in their careers. Inspired by these experiences, Lori joined with Christine to launch Sounding Board as a feedback-driven, cloud-based leadership coaching platform that could maintain best-in-class leadership coaching while lowering costs to make it affordable and scalable for leaders at every level of their careers.
Before founding Sounding Board, Lori received her Masters’ in Adult Educational Psychology/Counseling from the University of San Francisco and a Bachelors’ in Psychology from the University of Virginia. Lori is an educator and has spent over 10 years as a professor of social psychology and group dynamics while acting as the interim Dean of Students at Holy Names University, She is certified by the industry’s gold standard, the Coaches Training Institute, and is a founding member of the Genentech Preferred Network of Coaches. Sounding Board is one of <3% of sole female founded startups receiving venture funding. In 2019 Sounding Board was selected as 1 of 7 startups (out of 100+ applicants) as part of SAP’s HR tech cohort, a group that represents the rising stars of the next-gen HR ecosystem.

Christine Tao

Co-Founder & CEO Sounding Board, Inc.
Christine Tao is the co-founder & CEO at Sounding Board, a Silicon Valley startup redefining how organizations are developing their leaders. Her extraordinarily rapid career growth to executive management in the media, mobile and tech sectors of Silicon Valley became her inspiration for founding Sounding Board. As she began to manage larger teams and be responsible for growing revenues, it became clear that she needed a “sounding board” to coach her on the development of her leadership skills. That’s where her Sounding Board co-founder, Lori Mazan came on the scene. A seasoned executive coach focused on leadership development, Lori coached Christine on real-world leadership skills that had a direct impact on business outcomes. Based on her positive and impactful experience with leadership development, Christine was driven to make leadership development coaching accessible to people at all levels of the organization.
Christine advises several startups, is a budding angel investor and is also a Tory Burch Foundation Fellow, a foundation dedicated to investing in the success and sustainability of women entrepreneurs.
Prior to co-founding Sounding Board, Christine was a Senior Vice President of Developer Relations at Tapjoy, a venture-backed, leading mobile advertising & publishing network. She led the growth of Tapjoy’s publisher advertising business from 0 to over $100 million in revenues in less than 3 years. Prior to that she led e-commerce partnerships and strategy at YouTube. Christine holds an MBA in Marketing & Operations from Wharton and a BA in Business Administration from UC Berkeley.

Want to learn more about how Sounding Board can help your organization?

Simply fill out the form below and we will be in contact soon. If you are interested in becoming a Sounding Board Coach please visit our careers page.

This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.