COVID-19 has compelled people to work in radically new ways, whether remotely using technology, or in-person with safety and social distancing procedures in place. In addressing these challenges, HR was thrust to the forefront of organizations’ efforts to survive the crisis—and gained greater credibility among business executives as a result.

In our Memo to HR in the 2020 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends report, we called for a bolder, “exponential” HR, one that would expand its focus and extend its influence to better address organizations’ workforce and business issues. The outbreak of COVID-19 gave many HR organizations the chance to do just that.

The 2021 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends survey showed the proportion of HR executives who were very confident in HR’s ability to navigate future changes has doubled—from one in eight in 2019 to nearly one in four in 2020.

To best help an organization grow and thrive, HR must broaden its remit and move from optimizing to redesigning to re-architecting work and reimagining work-related challenges. COVID-19 has earned many HR organizations the right to be bolder in orchestrating work throughout the enterprise.

To seize this opportunity, HR needs to reorient its mission and mindset towards shaping future success, taking the lead in re-architecting work and reimagining the workforce and workplace accordingly. When thoughtfully done, re-architecting work can drive new outcomes that create positive changes, from higher productivity to increased agility to greater innovation.

COVID-19 appears to have heightened leaders’ awareness of these potential benefits. In our survey, 61% of business and HR executives said they would focus their thinking around work transformation on reimagining work in the next one to three years; before the pandemic, only 29% said this was the case.

Re-architecting work calls for HR to learn from and partner with workers to identify opportunities and craft new approaches. HR cannot gain a clear view of the depth and breadth of an organization’s work from a distance; it needs workers to help it shape work in ways that move the organization forward.


To do this effectively, HR’s agenda must become one with the business agenda. HR must work closely with other stakeholders throughout the organization, enlisting their collaboration and guidance to re-architect work. In this way, HR can serve as a model of integrative thinking and behavior for the rest of the organization. It is an opportunity for HR to lead, through example, the organization’s journey to a more “symphonic” way of being.

The experiences of COVID-19 have opened a new door for HR to drive differentiated value for the business and the workforce. Now is the time for HR to step through this door and begin to realize its true potential as an architect of work.


If you would like more information on A memo to HR: Accelerating the shift to re-architecting work, please contact the Deloitte Banking and Human Capital Leader, Pascal Martino (


And if you would like to view the full 2021 Human Capital Trends report, please download it here:

Look for our next article “Leading forward: Leading the shift from survive to thrive” to learn how purpose, potential, and perspective are essential to build an organization that can thrive in an unpredictable environment with an unknown future.

Article by Deloitte Luxembourg

Publié le 08 mars 2021