The past year has been the ultimate test for our collective resilience. Just consider how many businesses managed to survive – and even thrive – when faced with unprecedented challenges.

In the face of adversity, it’s employees – the heartbeat of organizations – that ultimately see businesses through. That’s why we are reinventing human resources to prioritize the employee experience at SAP.

During the HR track at the SAPPHIRE NOW conference, industry leaders from around the world gathered to share their thoughts on what it means to reinvent HR and build an agile workforce ready to tackle any challenge. While all speakers shared valuable insights, I’ve highlighted my top five takeaways below.

1. Flexible HR Tools Are Critical for Long-Term Success

As organizations and employees evolve, HR can no longer rely on a one-size-fits-all approach. Amy Wilson, senior vice president of Products and Design for SAP SuccessFactors solutions, provided an in-depth look at how innovational, customizable, and user-friendly human experience management (HXM) tools, like SAP SuccessFactors Work Zone, enable sustained organizational agility so that employees can focus on what’s important and deliver better business results.

2. Make Employee Learning a Staple of Your Culture

Creating a learning culture prepares your workforce to grow as needs inevitably shift. Tamera Maresh-Carver, managing director of Development, Innovation, and Organization Strategies at FedEx, shared how she utilized tools like SAP SuccessFactors Learning to combine talent, partnerships, and technologies.

3. Establish Consistent and Transparent Communication

Shannon Sisler, senior vice president and chief people officer for Crocs, shared her efforts to align Crocs’ culture with its growth strategy. Communicating with transparency, setting clear expectations, and offering flexibility can help to keep up with customers and employees’ quickly changing needs – especially throughout the pandemic.

Prioritizing transparency is also key for HR in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts, including recruiting and onboarding experiences, as shared during the session on building inclusive cultures.

4. It’s Time to Invest in the Power of the Cloud

Ideal for today’s hybrid workplace, cloud-based HR solutions enable employees to access HR tools anytime and anywhere. Imran Sajid, senior director of Solution Marketing for SAP, explained why yesterday’s solutions are no longer cutting it for today’s workforce. The future of work is here, and it’s time to provide our workforce with the resources needed to thrive.

5. Decide What Type of Company You Want to Be and Lead with That

Josh Greenbaum, principal analyst for Enterprise Applications Consulting, has seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of technology transformation. His advice to those unsure of which avenue to pursue? Invest in technology transformation that aligns with your company’s values. Modern tools for HR and other business areas can help emulate your vision of what type of company you want to be. For example, Erste Group Bank found success in providing a more engaging people experience through implementing a more user-friendly, unified HR process.

Thanks again to all our customers and colleagues who kindly shared their HR wisdom during this year’s SAPPHIRE NOW conference. And in case you missed the live event, you can find all sessions on-demand here.

April Crichlow is global vice president and head of Marketing for SAP SuccessFactors.