As expected, HR trends began popping up in late 2019 and early 2020. Yet, none of them could’ve accurately predicted the shift that would occur in our nation and around the world as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Changes to company processes, culture, and HR were almost immediate, forcing employees and leadership to adapt right along with them. This year, we’re using lessons learned in the last year to predict what HR trends will look like in 2021.
hr trends

Home as the New Office

Among other things, 2020 was the year of proving a remote workforce, or other adapted versions of it, was possible. In 2021, expect this HR trend to not only continue, but flourish. Despite its challenges, remote working has provided more flexibility and ways to save time and money for employees. Plus, it makes the employer more attractive to potential job candidates. Though we can’t predict when things will return to “normal,” whatever that new normal may be, surveys from Gartner and PwC show that remote working and collaboration is here to stay, with over 80% of leaders reporting they’ll permit remote work to continue past the pandemic and 78% of CEOs surveyed saying the same for remote collaboration among employees.

Stronger Emphasis on the Value of HR

The coronavirus changed virtually everything about how employees worked—and lived. As a result, eyes turned to Human Resources departments for guidance on new benefits, work procedures, and more. Now that we have a handle on the situation, we expect HR leaders to step up more this year. Permanent changes to benefits, communication methods, and recruitment will all likely take place in the new year. We will look to HR to lead the charge on those changes.

Personalized Benefits

As many companies implemented new ways of working, employees were all experiencing severely different situations. Some dealt with lay offs or furloughs; others juggled working and providing childcare or remote learning support for children; others still experienced difficulties in managing their physical and mental wellness. As a result, we expect the trend of personalization to be applied to benefits that meet employees wherever they are. This concept of personalized benefits provides individual aid that helps each employee, no matter their situation. As an employee discount provider, we found the benefit that we provide uniquely offers this aid. With PerkSpot, employees save on remote work tools, childcare, mental and physical wellness products, plus discounts on everyday items that were crucial for those dealing with difficult financial situations.

Integrating Purpose Into Business

As many companies shifted to remote working, leaders grew concerned about productivity and engagement levels dipping. This concern grew from the lack of presence of coworkers and a strict work environment. In 2021, one way to combat these concerns is to emphasize and integrate purpose back into your business. A PwC survey found that 79% of leaders believe purpose is central to business success. As HR leaders, it’s up to you to emphasize the importance of purpose to managers and employees alike, reminding them that their work is crucial and matters to those it impacts, whomever they may be. Speak with leaders to ensure closer ties between company strategy and company values. Regularly communicate these ties to managers and employees.

Upskilling for Employees

Upskilling is a new concept that has the potential to take center stage in 2021. Plus, it can cover a number of different areas. In fact, a recent survey from TalentLMS found that 42% of companies increased their efforts to upskill employees after the coronavirus outbreak, and 42% of employees pursued training opportunities on their own. As companies expand to incorporate new technologies, rely on employees to roll with the non-stop punches, and ask the workforce to more independently focus on individual projects and responsibilities, upskilling can significantly help with these changes. We predict that 2021 will be a year that emphasizes the importance of upskilling employees within the workforce to expand skillsets, provide new opportunities, and fill higher roles within the organization.

2020 was full of changes to the way we work, communicate, interact, and engage, and many of those changes came swiftly and without any warning. As we enter the new year, we hope we’ll have a much better idea of the changes coming and can more accurately begin shifting our HR strategies and plans to account for them.

About Amy Ridder

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