“Trend” usually implies that the popularity of something is fleeting, but that’s not the case with the HR trends in the workplace today. Paying attention to new technologies, strategies, and approaches isn’t just a PR ploy. Employee-centric companies are here to stay, and employee- focused trends will continue to grow as younger employees enter the workforce. We’ll discuss why HR trends like improved diversity and inclusion practices, flexibility and remote work, and AI in the workplace are taking hold in organizations across the globe. HR professionals must constantly be ahead of the curve in order to attract, engage, and retain top talent. Staying on top of these HR trends will distinguish your company as a progressive, empathetic, and employee-driven organization.
2020 has been a year unlike any other. COVID-19 has forever left its mark on the way we live and work. Though at the time of publishing we’re still living through the pandemic, we need to start preparing for a post-COVID world.
In this article, we will reflect on People trends we’re expecting in 2021 and beyond:
1. Making Learning more accessible:
Following on from the upskilling trend, 2020 is also the year where HR set their sights on making company-sponsored education and learning modules more accessible to their employees.
2. Improving Job applicant system:
One of the most obvious functions of your HR professional is to identify, hire, and onboard your new employees. Heading into 2020, HR pros had identified improving the applicant experience so that the process would run much more smoothly, and this feels especially pertinent now with so many people expected to begin looking for employment after a series of post-COVID layoffs.
3. Flexible work arrangements:
Even before the pandemic hit, HR folks were very much focused on flexible work arrangements to help employees achieve the often-elusive work-life balance. With the pandemic in full swing and more people than ever before required to try their hand at remote working, HR has had to do their best to not
only make sure the technology to work from home is in place, but also to make sure that they can
provide the support necessary to help folks who are computer novices to master everything from
working on a VPN to navigating a Zoom conference call
4. Purpose-driven organizations:
Wrapping up our HR trends with one that is about purpose. Though working from home seems to be here to stay, many employers fear a flag in productivity and commitment as the trend continues. According to PwC, 79% of business leaders believe that purpose is the key to success. The purpose-driven organization may be the remedy for many of the challenges of motivation that home workers will increasingly face.
5. Creating room for personalization:
The shift we’ve seen this year in the way many of us work inevitably leads to employees creating their own optimal work environment. They arrange their work space at home as they see fit, they might work outside traditional office hours if that suits them better, and while some people may feel the need to check in with their colleagues for a Zoom coffee each day, day, others may prefer doing so once a week.
6. HR in the driver’s seat:
While of course 2020 has seen a massive shift in the way businesses operate, it has also posed significant personal difficulty to workers all over the world. Employees are worried about their health and that of their loved ones, tense about the security of their jobs, concerned with juggling young children and partners at home while trying to get their work done, and dealing with a whole host of other stressors inherent in living through a pandemic. And of course, leadership is worried too. Uncertainty around what should be communicated and how it should be done complicates the already arduous task of heading departments and modeling company values.
And in the midst of all this chaos, companies naturally turn to HR for the answers. As such, HR departments of many organizations have been on the frontline, facilitating employees, handling business requirements, managing concerns and questions of their employees, supporting them, and focusing on people’s mental and emotional wellbeing.
7.Increased investment in upskilling:
While upskilling efforts may have been put on hold for the last few months, now is the time to really think about what skills your employees will need to work effectively on in this new environment, such as learning new software that allows them to work remotely or getting to grips with an all online platform for communicating with clients and customers.
Though some trends have been ongoing for a while now and have simply been accelerated by the year’s developments, many are the inevitable result of drastic changes that organizations have had to go through, and in some cases, are still facing.