The future of HR in the post COVID-19 era

The new Forrester’s Employee Experience (EX) Index shows that an engaged workforce is an important driver of business success.  The study also shows that companies which fail to listen, understand and act on behalf of their employees risk potential negative results.  

What about our organizations? Are our companies – still in times of homeworking and virtual meetings – ready for this looming change? What current trends in the HR world will have a lasting “post-lock-down” impact?

  1. Employee Experience

We collectively switched to new tools and new ways of working at the speed of light. Some of us had to learn to use Zoom, Teams or another virtual conference tool in a day. And guess what? We did it.  Will it be possible in the future to force us pre-COVID  slow and bureaucratic HR processes?

As professionals, we have to accept that we just have been kicked out of the era of Human Resources Management in order to enter the era of Human Experience Management.

What does that mean? Providing employees with the right tools at the moment it matters will become the new normal. So we need to know instantly what employees want and need to react fast. How? By carefully listening to the feedback of collaborators, by understanding and analyzing and by using flexible HR tools to quickly roll out new systems and applications. Of course, this requires software that HR professionals can use in self-service mode. Whether we need to launch surveys, build quickly an HR app, or set up a help portal about COVID-19 measures; as HR department we need to move at the speed of “changing business” light.

  1. The use of intelligent technology in HR

Did HR professionals before COVID-19 have experience with welcoming new workers virtually, did they perform candidate interviews on Zoom or did they train new recruits on an online training platform? Could you ever have imagined that, as one of my customers did, you organize a virtual escape game as a team building activity? Suddenly, recruitment, onboarding and learning procedures went from offline to online. It required a huge effort. Luckily Artificial Intelligence can and will help the HR manager in the post-COVID-19  period.


The attraction, selection and recruitment of exceptional talent is greatly facilitated by smart technologies. Semantic and contextual analysis of CV’s and smart search for qualified profiles on external sources by AI (Artificial Intelligence) are two fine examples of new HR technologies. Why should all HR departments consider AI in the recruitment phase? First, AI does not judge. It treats candidates far more objective than we do, avoiding all kind of bias and thereby promoting diversity. Second, AI results in significant time savings by managing the candidate applications and recruitment pools more efficiently.


How did you welcome new workers during the lockdown while your offices were closed? And we all know that first impressions count. A pleasant and effective onboarding experience is crucial for the retention rate of your new recruits.  Technology is once again coming to the rescue. User-friendly and mobile tools will be combined with an offline onboarding procedure. It will enable recruits to do more administrative task by online self-onboarding at their own pace and experience rich human to human onboarding moments at the workplace.


Until recently, e-Learning was the privilege of some companies and a few elite universities. During lockdown, even primary schools had to embrace the concept. Undoubtedly, private and public organizations will quickly follow . As business accelerates, contextual and on the spot training become important. Knowledge sharing tools and gamification are promoting the exchange of knowledge by colleagues. And beyond any doubt, the introduction of 5G will facilitate the possibilities of online mobile AR and VR training.

  1. Remote, the new normal?

The situation we all experienced was anything but predictable. Many companies were not prepared to work from home or to change their way of working. Indeed, a lot of companies were not ready to allow work from home. They had to make huge investments in both hardware and software. New laptops, mobile devices, but also software to ensure security in exchanges through the private internet connections of employees. SAP provides software and service to adapt swiftly.

Apps are built as you go, enabling fast reactions to exceptional circumstances. A nice example is the “Back to Work” app that one of our customers built. It helps employees and monitors carefully the return to work process.

  1. Ready for post COVID-19?

COVID-19 accelerated the era of Human Experience Management, powered by smart technologies. If done wrong, we leave our employees isolated, working from home without the tools and support they really need. If done right, I believe that it will bring our organizations that little extra touch of soul, allowing a harmonious change to a more hybrid offline/online work environment, with respect of our values and our environment.

I’m Pascal Demat, Human eXperience Management Advisor at SAP. If you want to discuss new trends in HRM or exchange experiences about HR solutions, contact me.

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/pdemat/