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A new KPMG report revealed that nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of employees may continue to work remotely, while more than a quarter (28 per cent ) will likely require upskilling. Image Credit: Clint Egbert/Gulf News

Dubai: The UAE workforce may continue to see significant changes over the next one to two years. A new KPMG report revealed that nearly a quarter (23 per cent) of employees may continue to work remotely, while more than a quarter (28 per cent ) will likely require upskilling.

The Future of HR in the New Reality captures the perspectives of local human resources (HR) executives on preparing their organizations and HR functions for the future.

Nearly every organization is prioritizing people, as they grapple with pre-existing and new challenges exacerbated by the pandemic. Although nearly all (89 per cent) of HR professionals agreed that the function played a leading role in responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, it may be time for HR to reinvent itself. For example, considering rapid changes, HR professionals may take a different approach to measuring and improving productivity and workforce-related challenges to drive competitive advantage over the medium-to-long term, rather than focusing on short-term issues.

"As HR leaders adapt to an unpredictable future, their focus tends to be on short-term firefighting to cope with immediate challenges. It is crucial to play the long game in order to thrive in the new reality. To do so, HR leaders may create a seamless, tech-enabled employee experience in a remote work environment, take ownership of the employee rebuilding and reskilling journey, and embrace analytics and data science to prove the impact of the HR function,” said Marketa Simkova, Partner, Head of People & Change at KPMG Lower Gulf.

Perceptions of HR

From facilitating the transition to remote working, to implementing and communicating health measures in the workplace, HR has been at the forefront of the Covid-19 crisis. While most business leaders and employees view the function’s response to the crisis in a favorable way, some decision makers believe HR needs to be bolder and prove its strategic worth.

The KPMG survey shows that 62 per cent of HR executives believe the function needs to completely reimagine and transform itself to respond more effectively to future disruption. Half (50 per cent) of HR professionals agree that the function is considered to be an “administrator” rather than a “value driver.” Eighty-six percent of HR executives believe the function needs to rethink productivity and performance measures in light of the shift to remote working.