While 2020 was unprecedented for everyone, HR departments experienced particularly radical changes — from the overnight transition to remote work to the implications of the most far-reaching national conversation we’ve had on racial equality and social justice in decades. The changes and challenges 2020 brought are setting up this year to be another of transformation. Below are the top three HR trends emerging for 2021.
- The hybrid office and an increase of flexibility from location to time
While remote work became commonplace over 2020, it is still unclear as to how many employees will return back to the office. According to a September PwC report, while “the majority of companies are anticipating their remote workers will have access to an office,” 45% say employees won’t be required to go into the office and 21% expect to use a “hybrid approach between remote working and office workdays.”
A recent Slack survey found that 72% of employees would prefer a hybrid approach.
According to the predictions of Brian Kropp, chief HR researcher at Gartner, the next wave of flexibility will be around giving employees flexibility over “when” they work. Be on the lookout for a rise of new job opportunities where employees no longer have an agreed-upon set of hours to work and instead just focus on a set of outputs to achieve, regardless of how long it takes them to achieve those outputs.
Whichever route they choose, companies need to be prepared for a potentially difficult transition over the next year, and the process begins with figuring out what employees need to be as productive and healthy as possible.
2. Employee Engagement
There are two major reasons why employee engagement should be top of mind for companies as we navigate 2021: First, companies need to make diversity and inclusion a top priority, and engagement is a key part of that process. And second, the post-pandemic era of remote work will present new engagement challenges that companies have to address head-on.
As COVID vaccines get released and companies begin to develop their post-pandemic plans, they will need to keep employee engagement at the center of this process. This means an increased focus on mental health, remote based trainings and resources needed to help employees do their jobs better whether they are in the office or not.
3. Lean on data to make decisions
One of the clearest trends in HR is the development of data-driven tools for everything from hiring to employee engagement. Because most employee work is now done virtually instead of in person, it’s easier than ever to gather meaningful and accurate people data. By understanding more about your people, the way they work, and how they feel about their work, HR leaders can better identify the needs of their people and uncover the reason behind high attrition rates.
Although the post-pandemic era will present many challenges for HR professionals, it will also give them a chance to rethink some of their most basic assumptions and develop new ways to keep employees engaged and productive. Use these top HR trends to continue to build out your 2021 employment strategy and continue preparing for what’s to come as vaccines become more readily available and the global workplace begins shifting again. If your plans include hiring, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at Artizen Staffing.