COVID-19 has challenged HR staff to get their HR strategy in line with the current unprecedented situation. The key task in this unusual situation was to preserve the continuity of business, particularly during the initial lockdowns throughout the world. Data from Clutch, the leading B2B ratings, and reviews firm, reveals that 55% of employees would feel safe returning to their office. In contrast, only 32% of workers would feel unsafe going back to work. While this data suggests that employees are ready to return to business as usual, they are still split on their preferred timeline for returning to the office.
And this reaction is somewhat expected. The remote workspace became a reality almost overnight. The modern standard has converted every job of a traditional workplace into a virtual medium. Every kind of activity is assisted by technology, from virtual meetings to virtual recruiting, and is increasingly developing by itself. While there have been some trends for a while now and the development of the year has actually been accelerated, more are imminent as a result of dramatic changes companies have undergone. Let’s see what are the HR trends that we are going to see in 2021.
Work From Home
The global overnight move to remote working was among the most noticeable shifts in 2020. While work from work had been a more and more widespread phenomenon for knowledge workers since the advent of the pandemic, few organizations were prepared to go completely remote in a matter of days. Although we do not expect the pandemic to change any single organization that has the ability to become completely dispersed, we do agree that working from home will be an important part of how we operate going forward.
Companies such as Twitter and Facebook have recently confirmed that they are here to operate from home, even after COVID. While there are some other giants that have shared the possibility of having a hybrid workspace that provides more stability for workers when the pandemic subsides.
“Some companies, especially in the business services and consulting industries, had already made the transition to a fully remote workforce. The pandemic dramatically accelerated those trends, especially for companies and industries that had never adopted a culture to allow or encourage remote working,” says Ruairi Kelleher, CEO of Immedis.
The key challenge in the current standard is to establish inclusiveness and harmony. When personnel moves to a different position, new forms of cooperation and procedures are addressed. A core human resources aim would be to construct interconnected environments that redefine employee experience to create confidence and emotional intelligence — in a remote job scenario, in particular. HR must reinvent the journey and evaluate the experience of its employees on a virtual basis.
Mike Morini, CEO at Workforce Software says, “Technology will have a larger role in building employee experiences. Employees log in to their workforce management systems multiple times a day, more than any other HR system. This is an interaction point that can be leveraged to improve the overall work experience. In the future, we will start to see many more applications of workforce management tools to create a more human workplace and improve the workplace experience.”
AI/ML and New Automation Tools
The pandemic redefined the thought of leaders and workers of their work. HR leaders also have a role to play in building a solid, secure, remote work culture that covers all facets of the recruitment cycle. This would provide wider access to talent markets, while applicants would also have more opportunities for their next or first job.
“We will continue to innovate with new technologies. Workforce management is rapidly evolving beyond the automation of day-to-day transactions. Leaders are looking for tools to provide better insights that drive improved decision-making and if possible, make those decisions for them. Technologies like artificial intelligence can ensure the most important tasks are at the top of an employee’s self-service dashboard, send out alerts before compliance issues arise, or automatically fill open shifts based on union rules and staffing requirements,” says Mike.
Transparency and Inclusion
Activities such as recruitment and onboarding have changed forever. Both practices have focused on in-person discussions as well as on success monitoring and even dismissal decisions. To successfully solve such circumstances in a modern environment, HR must rethink existing activities.
The management of individuals is changing as well. It is more difficult for supervisors to look out for workers from home. For HR, the management of the total workforce will demand transparency from all sides. We may need to focus more on technologies to keep us up-to-date with transparency.
Mike Hicks, CMO at Beezy says, “Transparency and inclusion need to be top of mind. We’re in uncertain times and while some businesses like digital workplace technology and other areas that improve our ability to connect and support our new working realities are growing, Many sectors have been hit hard so being open about the state of the business is critical to keeping everyone aligned on priorities. Regular company updates and providing ways to facilitate open conversations across all layers of the organization.”
Although a large proportion of the global workforce needed to upskill before COVID-19 was already massive, the need has only become more obvious in the months since then. The most effective way to improve your HR staff instead of always looking for new talents is to provide them with the skills needed to ensure progress in a developing world.
“Learning experiences should be a key element in the new blended workplace, providing the connections between managers and employees, between peers, across organizational silos. And we have the technology to choreograph the digital and physical environment: to create a network of learning experiences and resources, coaches and mentors, role models and peer collaborations, on-the-job projects and applications,” says Andrew Perkins, Global Director, Kaplan Performance Academy.
The Covid-19 pandemic affected the atmosphere of the workplace enormously and quickly. Employees out think that they don’t have to be in an office and that certain things can be handled remotely. If they adapt to the pandemic and brace for recovery, corporate executives must look at what shifts in society need to be maintained and which must be countered.
Stephen Bailey, Founder at ExecOnline says, “Looking ahead I think it will become even more important for US-based and global corporations to think deeply about what they want their brand to represent to customers, employees, stake- and shareholders. This includes examining key workplace culture elements like recruiting, training and development, advancement and promotion, employment policies, clarity of mission, employee wellness and work/life balance, communication practices between management and staff, and even company traditions.”