The world of work is undergoing massive and never-thought changes. With the COVID-19 pandemic not showing any signs of slowing down, HR leaders must rethink their approach to workforce management.
One way to create your company's HR policies is by reflecting on the past and taking inspiration from what the future holds for all of us. From bringing an abrupt shift to remote work to providing incentives for setting up home offices to conducting performance reviews on video calls, companies went far and beyond to ensure employee wellness. HR managers handled everything with grace and tenacity.
But their job isn't over yet. Why?
Read further to explore the top HR trends that will shape the future of your workforce in 2021 and beyond.
Let's get started!
Top 7 HR Trends to Look Out for in 2021
HR managers will remain a crucial aspect of employee engagement and business growth with the changing business dynamics. Focus on these seven HR trends to create an engaged and productive workforce.
Creating room for a corporate volunteer program
According to Harvard Business Review, companies globally spend a whopping $350 billion on employee education and training. Many HR managers and leaders believe that corporate social responsibility (CSR) programs like corporate volunteer programs don't result in desired and long-lasting changes even after investing so much in them.
But, the truth is entirely different.
With corporate volunteer programs in place, your employees feel that the work they perform benefits the company and helps in positively engaging with the ethical community, environment, and wildlife initiatives. Though your company may regularly donate money for a good cause, having such programs is far more beneficial when you disperse the work among your employees.
When you create a volunteering program, write a corporate volunteering policy to state the roles and expectations from employees who volunteer. This can remove the confusion while increasing employee engagement, retention and giving your corporate visibility a boost.
Reinventing employee well-being
Before COVID-19 rocked the world, the definition of employee well-being was restricted to free access to a gymnasium, nap pods, or once-a-year family get-together. With the pandemic resulting in mental stress for close to 62% of employees, these employee well-being tactics will not work.
Companies today have to give importance to employees' physical, mental, digital, and financial well-being if they want employee loyalty and retention. From implementing turned-off email outside working hours to setting out hours when employees cannot send or respond to emails, you need to develop intuitive ideas to eliminate distraction and increase employee productivity.
Make use of technology to identify ways to remain productive without distractions, promote connectivity and provide ways to nurture the mental health of your employees.
Creating a hybrid office
Before 2020, everyone was working in an office environment; in 2020, we saw a shift toward remote working, and 2021 would be the era of hybrid offices. Companies are likely to introduce flexible working days and give an option to employees to choose between working from home and working in an office environment.
Creating a hybrid office is one of the hottest HR trends to follow in 2021, as more companies are likely to embrace it. It will offer a versatile approach to organizing your workplace in the following ways:
- Flexible remote hours or days: this one is likely to be adopted by most companies because it allows employees to manage their workflow, work from home, and travel to their offices.
- A coworking life: though an age-old technique, it has gained momentum in the past two years. In such a workspace, you will not have a dedicated desk or table. Instead, employees have to book their workspace in advance once they decide to work in an office set-up.
- Partially remote: this implies a workplace where a part of your workforce works remotely and the remaining works in an office set-up. Companies with security and hardware limitations are likely to pursue a partially remote office.
Continuous learning as a driver for business growth
Interestingly, many employees found solace in reading, acquiring new skills, and improving existing skills during the quarantine period. They understood that continuous learning is essential for personal and professional growth.
So, when these employees join back after finishing their quarantine period, they are likely to expect their company to provide them with an opportunity to increase their learning curve. For companies, this means investing in a continuous learning process and facilitating training and other ways to help employees develop new skills and achieve greater heights.
In the coming years, more and more employees will adapt to the continuous learning culture. As a result, companies are likely to create e-libraries, courses and conduct online workshops to promote the learning zeal of their employees.
Moving beyond traditional communication
Remote work is here to stay longer than you can expect, and companies have to chalk out a strategy to improve communication with employees working from home. Conducting virtual meetings, recruiting, onboarding, training, and even virtual parties are becoming the new norm.
And, all this requires stellar communication.
Companies will have to invest in HR technologies and communication tools to ensure you can conduct interviews, meetings, and training. If you're trying to rope in a new communication tool, you may have to provide a digital workshop to your customers to use the technology.
Acing data-driven HR
For a long time, HR teams are notorious for collecting plenty of data, but no one analyzes it. But in 2021, HR analytics is likely to take the front seat to derive insights from the data collected by their HR team.
These data-driven insights may prove beneficial for a business and its leaders, allowing them to make strategic business decisions. HR teams can use this data to understand employees' productivity, the most used digital tool in their company, and employees' break/lunch habits.
Some other metrics where analytics can come in handy are acceptance rate, absenteeism, and turnover rate.
Entering the gamification era
With 70% of employees feeling disengaged at work in 2019, the number would have increased in 2021. That's why to engage their employees and bring something innovative to the workplace, many HR leaders are shifting their focus on gamification.
Gamification is nothing but the application of game elements like competition, scoring points, rules of play, and other similar activities. For example, Marriott Hotels used My Marriott Hotel to hire newbies. In HR, you can use gamification for rewarding employees, retaining talented employees, and talent acquisition.
After experiencing a year-long fear, uncertainty, and danger, employees want empathy to cope with what they lost. So, focus on making your efforts more human-centric, and your HR policies and strategies should reflect that.
It's probably the right time to cultivate employee relationships, inspire your team members, and position HR as a strategic driver to business success. Companies that focus on these HR trends are likely to witness a higher employee engagement, loyalty, and retention rate.
Use these seven HR trends to build a plan for 2021 and beyond and continue preparing for future trends.
Did we miss out on any important HR trends for 2021?
Share your thoughts by commenting below.
About the Author: Ana Bogatinovska