Eighty-three percent of HR leaders say they are expected to do more now compared to three years ago, according to Gartner.

The role of HR has expanded greatly since the start of the pandemic – a July 2023 Gartner survey of 287 HR leaders found 70% of HR leaders say they have more opportunities for impact and 58% report they have more authority to determine strategic priorities.

“After drastically changing the way we work, HR leaders are now grappling with whether or not to stay bold and continue to challenge convention when external circumstances, such as the pandemic, are no longer forcing their hand,” says Brent Cassell, vice-president: advisory at Gartner. “In this new normal, organisations need to be ‘Everyday Bold’, choosing every day to not just take action, but prepare for whatever could be ahead.”

Gartner research found that employees at Everyday Bold organisations are six times more likely to be top performers.

The research group has also identified three key facets HR leaders need to embody to become Everyday Bold:

Building stability

The workplace transformation of the last three years – increased flexibility, hybrid work, access to expanded talent pools, etc – has left employees feeling disoriented. A July 2023 Gartner survey of 3 540 employees revealed only 16% feel their organisation is predictable.

“Unpredictability can negatively affect employees and, therefore, business and talent outcomes including productivity and retention,” says Ania Krasniewska Shahidi, group vice-president at Gartner. “Stability is not only integral to breaking boundaries, but we’ve found that organisations that offer more stability see a significant rise in employee engagement.”

A June 2023 Gartner survey of 3 540 employees emphasised the big impact stability can have on employee engagement, revealing that when organisations successfully build stability for their workforce through targeted professional development opportunities or strategic planning, they observe a 61% rise in employee engagement.

Initiating trust

Workplace trust is currently a struggle as Gartner research shows only 53% of employees trust their organisation – and only 63% of organisations say they trust their employees.

Lack of communication around key goals, like pay equity is one reason employees cite for their distrust. Organisations struggling to address this trust gap often turn to employee monitoring as a replacement for mutual trust, as Gartner’s recent data found 71% of employees report they are being digitally monitored.

“To build mutual trust it is important that employees first feel that their organisations trust them,” says Cassell. “Organisations need to actively signal belief in employees’ good intentions via actions that show employees that their employer believes in their ability and reliability.”

Workplace trust is particularly critical to innovation – in high-trust organisations, 79% of employees bring new ideas to their managers as opposed to 17% in low-trust organisations.

Forging ahead

The final piece to being Everyday Bold is the ability to move forward, even in the face of the pushback that many HR leaders encounter both internally and externally.

Gartner found that “letting go” is a critical active ingredient in forging ahead. This includes not just letting go of mindsets that no longer serve the organisation but, in many cases, letting go of previous priorities and processes that no longer serve the organisation in order to make room for the next opportunity.

HR leaders must let go with intention. For example, if an organisation is replacing a tool or framework, HR leaders should recognise the individuals who helped maintain what is being shuttered.

“Letting go with intention means acknowledging the loss of what served you well in the past, and deliberately dismantling it to make room for new possibilities such as new technology,” says Krasniewska Shahidi. “At organisations that let go of existing mindsets and processes to make room for new possibilities, employees are 10 times more likely to say their organisation enables innovation.”