HR Trends 2021 and Beyond

Find out about the top HR trends for 2021 in onboarding, performance, engagement and development.

As 2020 draws to a close, we must look ahead to the new year and discuss what to expect from the future of HR. After such a significant shift for the workforce in a short period of time, it's important to develop a better understanding of how to make the most of the new global situation. In this week's webcast, we talk through our top HR trends for 2021 and beyond, covering the four key pillars of onboarding, engagement, performance and development.

Watch the full webcast here:

Embedded content:

Download the slide deck here

Comparing Worklife: Pre-pandemic, Post-pandemic and Predictions

We are looking towards 2021 positively, as we will be able to incorporate the best of both styles of working

top hr trends 2021 worklife pre pandemic vs post pandemic vs 2021

How Companies Responded to the New Forces

The most important change this year is the increased focus on employee wellbeing, as this was a subject not properly covered being the pandemic which has now become a neccesssity to examine

top hr trends 2021 how companies responded to the new forces

The New Era of HR

Stategic: HR used to be left on the sideline when it came to strategic decisions. Now HR is in the driver's seat, navigating the necessary steps needed to support employees through the pandemic and beyond.

Digital: There has been a marked shift away from paper-based processes since the switch to the remote environment. HR processes have become digitized across all facets; from onboarding to farewell.

Automated: Core processes have been automated using software to free up time for HR departments, allowing them to focus on what matters most.

People-centric: 2020 highlighted that people are the driving force behind organizational success. Placing people at the center of attention will pay back both in the short and long term. Happy employees are more engaged with their organization, more productive and perform better which leads to improved overall performance.

Agile: HR teams have begun to eliminate resistance to change, adopting new practices and systems. They have had to pivot quickly, adapting to changing global events by quickly implementing solutions.

top hr trends 2021 new era of HR

1. Reinventing the Employee Experience

In 2021, HR will have to redesign the employee journey and measure their virtual experience. New hires are going to have a very different onboarding experience due to the lack of in-person interaction. Onboarding processes need to be reinvented to ensure work-life balance, wellbeing, connection and collaboration are maintained in the virtual environment, as they are crucial for both employee satisfaction and overall business success.

  • Prepare: Provide all required information to the employee before they start to give them clarity in their new role.

  • Settle: Establish a clear schedule and structure to new employees' work. Use task management software to facilitate time management in the remote environment.

  • Involve: Encourage current employees to prepare for the new recruit. Ensure they complete a range of welcome activities.

  • Contact: Set up regular 1-1 video calls to support and advise new employees. Automate these check-ins with performance management software.

  • Grow: Provide continued reinforced by obtaining timely feedback from new employees.

    top hr trends 2021 reinventing employee experience

2. Managing a Hybrid Workforce

The most visible change to the workforce from 2020 to 2021 is the overnight shift from office to remote working. Whilst working from home has become increasingly popular in recent years, many organizations weren't ready to facilitate the shift for the whole organization in such a short period of time. Working from home is here to stay, even after the pandemic, with many organizations planning to embrace a hybrid workforce. So in 2021, HR leaders need to be able to manage employee performance remotely.

  • Reskilling Retrain your employees with a focus on the 'soft skills' that are now needed to suceed, like resilience, adaptability, remote communication and change management. Make sure that your employees are equipped with the skills they need to suceed in the remote environment, then assess and train accordingly.

  • Be transparent with goals Ensure goals and objectives are transparent and visible across the organization. Communicate changes frequently and use technology to align goals. This will help create alignment for teams that are split between the office and home environment.

  • Make reviews goal-based Replace annual appraisales with more frequent and informal reviews or monthly check-ins. Ensure reviews are held at least quarterly, and that they are goal-based. This will ensure that your organization is able to deal with small issues before they grow into larger problems, and pivot quickley to respond to changes in the business environment.

  • Measure what matters Use a performance management system to keep tabs on skills that matter, like leadership, training and development.

top hr trends 2021 managing hybrid workforce

3. Connecting Disconnected Teams

Once of the key issues caused by working remotely is the lost "watercooler chat" - in other words the opportunity to have spontaneous interactions with colleagues that help foster collaboration, creativity and innovation. A key theme in 2021 will be to restore these informal interactions in the virtual workspace. It is essential to use the right technology to replicate interactions that would normally take place in the office.

Next, it is also vital to monitor wellbeing, work-life balance, collaboration and diversity and inclusion in your workplace with regular engagement surveys to keep your finger on the pulse of your organization, measure employee happiness and respond to issues quickly.

You should also facilitate a continuous feedback culture, and encourage regular top-down and bottom-up feedback. Employees that receive feedback regularly will grow and develop at a faster pace, as well as feel more engaged with their organization. Likewise, encouraging employees to give feedback will give them a voice within the organization, and help identify issues that senior management might miss. An important element of this is establishing regular check-ins, which should take place between employees and managers, teams, departments and company-wide town-halls. Finally, provide opportunites for meaninful work and a sense of purpose by allowing employees to weigh in on goal-setting.

Attendance at company town-halls is at an all time high post-pandemic, as they are easier to access online and employees want to ask more questions than ever before

top hr trends 2021 connecting disconnected teams

4. Restore Employee Development

Create a virtual network of learners, where all employees are expected to participate. This will combine learning with a greater connection and sense of intimacy. Next, employers should encourage upskilling in key areas like data literacy, business awareness and tech skills. This will help organization's pivot quickly in response to future events. It is important to revise training agendas so that they focus on nurturing critical skills and behavioral skills that will prepare employees for the future. Another good practice is to set up recurring development 1-on-1s to explore employees' career aspirations and potential opportunities. Finally, map out career plans and break down actions employees needs to complete to move to the next career stage.

top hr trends 2021 restore employee development

Key Takeaways

  • Future focus on HR digitization and automation

  • Reinvent the employee experience journey to accomodate for the new forces at play

  • Redesign performance management processes to suit both remote and office teams

  • Use virtual tools to replicate the office environment

  • Monitor engagement, wellbeing, work-life balance, collaboration and D&I

  • Increase focus on setting clear employee development plans, virtual learning activities and upskilling

Want to learn more?

Enjoyed learning about the top HR trends for 2021? Check out the full webcast here.

Catch up with our previous webcasts below:

Need some help kicking off with your onboarding, performance, engagement and develoment process? Book a demo with PeopleGoal today!

Ready to see PeopleGoal in action?
Start your free trial today.


© 2024 PeopleGoal, Inc. All rights reserved.