Look for These 6 HR Trends in 2021
The start of a new year is a great time to look toward the future. Each new year brings with it new ideas and trends in every field. What’s coming up for the human resources industry in 2021? Last year, no one could have predicted the COVID-19 global pandemic and the impact it would have on the workplace.
Looking forward, HR 2021 trends will reflect the ongoing repercussions of the pandemic. As 2020 taught us, no one can predict the future—but it doesn’t hurt to look at forecasted trends so you and your HR department can stay on top of a changing industry.
1. Remote Work
Even as a COVID-19 vaccine rolls out in countries throughout the world, the virus (including new mutations) is surging in many places. As a response, many companies have chosen to keep offices closed. There’s no clear end in sight—some predictions put the return to “normal” work in the summer or later—but even if it’s safe to come back to the office, chances are many employees will begin to prefer a thriving work-from-home culture.
Some companies may choose to continue giving employees the flexibility to set at-home schedules and work some of the time from home, relying on HR personnel to set policy, track productivity, and train employees on how to effectively collaborate from home. HR professionals may even need to consider whether they will hire non-local talent to work entirely from home.
We'll deliver HR articles and insights directly to your email inbox.
2. Home Offices
Related to the remote work HR 2021 trend, a focus on the home office is expected to continue this year. In years past, HR trends have centered on creating open offices with spaces to collaborate. This year, the opposite is true: HR professionals may find themselves helping employees build productive home offices with the tools and ergonomic aids they need to get the job done.
3. Diversity and Inclusion
Events in 2020 shone a light on the need for greater awareness of diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workforce. This includes training employees to be more sensitive to black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) among their coworkers and to actively practice antiracism. It also means being more inclusive in hiring practices and giving leadership and mentoring opportunities to people from traditionally marginalized groups.
Companies will look to HR professionals for leadership in creating a more inclusive workplace and in providing opportunities and support to BIPOC at every level.
4. Employee Mental and Emotional Health
HR 2021 trends will also likely include a focus on mental health services and training for employees. This past year has been difficult for everyone, and many people are still recovering. Employee well-being is key to a productive workforce and to retaining top talent. You may see an increased interest in wellness apps for employees to track fitness along with mood, sleep, and nutrition to promote all-around health.
5. Automated Services
You may have seen similar trends in the past, but human resources in 2021 will continue to gravitate toward greater efficiency in business processes, especially in small to midsize companies. Using SaaS tools to automate and outsource work—including basic HR functions—allows a company to focus on growth and doing what they do best, leaving some of the details to software companies that specialize in payroll, marketing, design, etc.
If any of your HR management tasks are repetitive or take up too much of your time, or if you wonder about hiring someone just to take them on, you might consider saving time and money by automating them.
6. Job Crafting
Employees have had a lot of flexibility this year, including the opportunity to customize their workspaces and schedules. This personalization is edging into job descriptions as well. The idea of job crafting comes into play: Basically, instead of using a job description to define what a person does, the employee, their supervisor, and the HR team craft and improve the employee’s job to suit that employee’s interests and strengths, along with what the company needs.
This technique allows employees to change and grow as they have some say in what tasks, projects, and roles they take on. Human resources in 2021 will see gravitation across the industry toward more dynamic positions.
HR 2021 Trends
The business world is always changing, and HR is no exception. As you focus on leading your company through changing HR 2021 trends, consider partners like Eddy to support your day-to-day HR services.
Learn more about Eddy and how we can support your business’ HR team, no matter what the year brings.