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The COVID-19 pandemic has rapidly made people the number one priority in nearly every organisation around the world. As a result, HR leaders are now at the forefront of reshaping the way work gets done. This has created a new opportunity for the HR function to switch from firefighting immediate pressures to strategically engineering a successful future.

HR was already facing a dilemma before the pandemic. More than half of all leaders surveyed in summer 2020 for the KPMG Future of HR in the new reality said that the HR function would rapidly become irrelevant unless it modernised its approach to planning for the future needs of the workforce.

Within a few months, the demands on HR had been transformed. As offices across the globe shut their doors and millions of employees were forced to work from home, executives looked to HR to provide the guidance and training they would need to operate remotely. This was an opportunity for HR leaders to show they could be strategic leaders in a crisis.

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Yet, when KPMG conducted its HR pulse survey in July and August 2020 — to understand how COVID-19 was affecting HR — it found that most executives continue to question HR’s strategic value to the organisation.

Download the ninth issue of KPMG Review Magazine "The future of work" (PDF 6 MB, pages 35-42) >>