One year after starting a new decade, the world seems quite different from the one we knew in 2019. We experienced one of the biggest struggles in history, battling with a pandemic, societal upheavals, and economic crisis.
These events reshaped our lives, habits, and industries, which affected the predictions we had for the previous year. As a result, HR trends we thought will be the highlight of 2020, either didn't happen or they came in a slightly different form.
Yet, our natural curiosity to think about the future and consider what will shape the future remains. Having those ideas, insights, and information helps us navigate what's ahead of us and create goals.
We analyzed how the HR future will look like and which trends will dominate the recruitment landscape.
Here are the top 15 HR trends that will shape the business according to our research
1. A compromise between remote & office work
Even though remote work isn't a novelty and keeps its position on a list of HR trends in the last few years, only recently remote workers became the majority. What once was a prediction, became the burning topic that will keep its intensity in 2021.
Work from home has myriad benefits that ensure it won't fade after the vaccine for COVID-19 is available to everyone. If telework is not an option, 55 per cent of employees will look elsewhere. It is a kind of work that makes workers more productive, leaves them more time with families, and taking less time off.
But not every profession lets you work remotely, at least not full time. Thus, some employers prefer having their employees on-site. So, leaders will have to find a compromise that will be beneficial for the business and employees. Whether that's to allow their staff to work from home at least twice per month or to let them choose, employers should think about a solution that will satisfy everyone.
2. An all-encompassing employee experience
The emphasis on employee experience peaked last year due to the aftermaths of coronavirus. Workers had to juggle between surviving a pandemic and achieving satisfactory work results, which often caused stress, lack of productivity, and burnout.
Employers had to make the employee experience a priority and ensure that their staff has everything they need to handle their responsibilities and stay safe. But it isn't all about providing workers with the necessary equipment, possibility to work from home, and well-being programmes.
Last year forced companies to include employees' personal lives and issues into the picture and understand how that affects their work. For a long time, we thought that work and personal life are two separate categories, but we are now reminded that if one is in danger, the other will face the consequences too. One of the HR trends for this year will be to consider how to extend employee experience and include financial, physical and mental health support.
3. Continuous learning
During the quarantine, many people found solace in studying, learning a new language, or practising old skills. That was a reminder of how powerful it is to acquire information or deepen the old ones. Knowledge leads to personal and professional improvement, which is also an advantage for companies.
One of the principal HR trends in 2021 will also be learning. Organizations will invest in it, providing employees with new skills, development, and greater chances of reaching higher levels.
The key to making learning continuous is to make it available at all times. That is why most companies will opt for creating e-libraries, online workshops and courses.
4. Technology as a way to drive trust
The pandemic caused uncertainties, fear, and anxiety, and these are the times when we need transparency more than ever. Work is not an exception, and employees expect from employers, to be honest, share the updates with them, and provide them with feedback.
Workers don't want to wonder if they might lose their job tomorrow and if managers are satisfied with their work. To keep their employees updated and everything transparent, many employers will integrate HR technology with a staff self-service.
With such tech on disposal, employees will have access to feedback, the latest information, and tasks. Transparent tools that track employee progress and information, and that are easily accessible for both parties will be one of the principle HR trends this year.
5. Employee well-being and wellness programmes
In the post COVID-19 era, well-being programmes are not only nice to have anymore. They are necessary. The pandemic didn't leave anyone unharmed, and companies need to implement methods to help employees cope with the new realm.
In 2021, HR will have to find ways to remove the stigma around mental health and provide employees with all the support they need. That will include surveys, research, creating workshops, and leveraging tech. Employers will use various resources to develop well-being programmes to make sure employees are healthy, safe, and productive.
6. Online communication improvement
Remote work is here to stay, and companies will have to enhance communication with teams working from home. Thus, virtual meetings, recruiting, and onboarding may become a norm, which requires stellar communication.
Companies will have to invest in high-quality HR technology that allows video interviews, continuous virtual communication, and meetings. But not every individual knows how to use these tools, so employers will also have to provide employees with digital communication workshops.
7. Reskilling and internal mobility
Hiring freezes are one of the most damaging consequences of the pandemic. Many companies have to put on hold finding new talents even though they might need them. Hence, they will have to be resourceful.
That means that before deciding to seek new candidates, recruiters will conduct analysis that can show if a talent they need is already there. When an employee is not fully compatible with a new vacancy, they might go through reskilling, which would provide them with the necessary skills.
8. Flexible requirements
The pandemic wasn't only a reminder that people need certainty and safety. It also reminded us that change is the only constant. And changes demand flexibility.
That will reflect in recruitment and in the future, the candidate requirements could start being more flexible. Instead of considering job seekers with higher education and extensive experience, big enterprises could be more open to self-taught candidates without a degree.
9. Artificial intelligence
In 2020, the world relied on technology more than ever. That trend will only grow this year and companies will implement advanced technology based on AI. Recruiters will automate tedious and repetitive tasks. That will give them more time to focus on meaningful elements of recruitment.
Artificial intelligence is the present, and future HR trend and its presence will become widespread. Companies will use it to source candidates, parse resumes, and onboard candidates with more ease and accuracy. Even though 17 per cent of organizations use AI in their HR function, another 30 per cent will use it by 2022.
10. Company culture
Job seekers seek companies with attractive employee perks and benefits, good reputation, and compatible company culture. Emphasis on organizational culture will continue being among the top HR trends in 2021.
Hence, leaders will have to ensure that they are showcasing what it is like to work in their company, what kind of candidate profiles they are looking for, and why one should want to work for them. Employers will have to be extra careful to target the two young generations: millennials and gen Z.
11. Millennials and generation Z
While the first ones are already the largest generation in the workforce, their younger counterparts, gen Z, will join them soon. It is why this year, one of the top HR trends will be understanding these two generational cohorts.
These two generations have different priorities, goals, and habits than Baby boomers and gen X. If employers want to attract them, they will have to learn how to address their needs.
12. Mobile-friendly recruitment
COVID-19 cause recruitment to become remote, forcing recruiters to adjust the process. But young job seekers are also affecting hiring because they mostly use their mobile phones to seek work. That is why recruiters will have to tailor job ads to these requirements and make them mobile-friendly.
13. Diversity, inclusion, equity
The benefits of a diverse workforce are not a secret anymore. Most companies are implementing D&I policies and efforts to attract and foster multicultural teams. That HR trend will remain in 2021, and many recruiters will turn to niche hiring platforms to ensure they are reaching underrepresented talents.
14. Retention efforts
Leaders seek ways to avoid and minimize costly tasks, activities, and consequences. As a result, they will focus on boosting retention and creating strategies that improve the employee experience.
15. Soft skills
Technical knowledge is no longer enough, and empathy, emotional intelligence, and soft skills are the emerging HR trends in the post-pandemic world. Hence, recruiters will have to find strategies to attract and identify candidates who possess these abilities and are fit for the job position.
A Challenging Year With Human-centric Trends
After experiencing continuous fear, danger, and uncertainty, people seek connection and empathy to cope with the global crisis. We have entered what will be a challenging year, but we will want to make the things more human-centric, and HR trends of 2021 reflect that. The focus will be on employee well-being, ensuring safety, and leveraging technology to provide staff with the best possible experience.