Human Resources Trends We Can Expect to See in 2021

Written by Felipe Laucho, Human Resources Coordinator at SpicyMinds

While 2020 was a rough year for many businesses, those who previously considered themselves digitally natives had a significantly less amount of trouble. Their processes, and most importantly, their mindset, had already considered factors that traditional industries had not taken seriously or even contemplated, such as remote work.

To keep your company up to date with the current market and the near future, here are some HR trends that will shape 2021.

Remote, here to stay?

Businesses that never thought they could be completely remote are now considering this a possibility. Major companies like Twitter and Facebook have already told employees remote work will be an option post-pandemic, and we can expect the same from smaller companies as well. Remote work will shape the following trends, since being physically present at an office is no longer a constraint for employers.

Remote work post-pandemic will probably lead some countries to regulate laws so that remote employees won't be affected by their decision to stay home. For example, Mexico has already passed a bill requiring employers to take on all expenses related to remote work environments such as chairs, desks, and even part of their employee's home electricity bill.

Location, location, location

We’ve all lost a job or didn't even apply because it was based far away. This year, however, we can expect companies to hire worldwide, with a more important focus on workers’ skills and qualifications rather than their location. The factor that will remain most important is availability; employers will look for candidates who can adapt to their way of work regardless of timezone.

Significant increase of freelancers in the workforce

Like the previous trend, which focuses on hiring employees remotely, we will also see a significant increase in the number of freelancers taking part in company projects. More and more people will take on gigs while working a full-time job, and this will increase as companies will tend to focus less on work time and more on results.

This won't come without its challenges. Adapting freelancers to company work is not the most straightforward task and can sometimes become inefficient. Because of this, heads of HR will focus on how to strategically include freelancers in specific projects and processes while building a framework that will allow for the standardization of this type of worker.

A focus on the employee experience

Having remote teams will be a big challenge for HR globally, since preventing burnout could become more taxing than ever before. Companies will have to focus not only on managing work but also on helping manage their employee's daily lives. We will see HR provide resources that will make employee's mental, physical, and digital well-being more balanced. Such is the case for companies who are already offering free counseling sessions for their employees, helping them achieve work-life balance, or getting personal trainers involved in the company’s routine to get employees off their chairs every once in a while.

Whatever your company may be doing for employees, the important thing is that it’s focusing on the employee experience. The days have passed where one size fits all, and we are now expecting items to be as tailored as possible. While you may have some employees who love working from home and don’t mind it at all, you might also have some who are running around in circles and driving themselves to burnout. Providing an individual experience where each person feels like they are being listened to and being provided with the resources they need to develop will truly make a difference in their life.

Teams will be a key factor

Another significant trend will be enabling team roles in the working environment—allowing teams to set their way of work and having a culture that promotes adaptability is one of the top challenges HR faces this year. Developing the right skills within these teams is also something HR teams have to plan. The entire world is going through a reskilling phase, where some traditional skills are left behind, leaving room for newer, more relevant ones.

It’s not "all work and no play": remote work sometimes makes us feel like we are working with robots on the other side of the screen. On the contrary, the pandemic has people needing human connection, ever more so than before. Fostering fun team dynamics and safe spaces where workers can get to know and connect with each other will be more critical than ever before.

When it comes down to it, 2021 will be a challenging year worldwide for HR in all industries. Companies will endure the challenges of adapting to a digital way of work, all while shaping employee experience and reskilling their teams. Small companies might have to fight the risk of highly talented employees looking for opportunities elsewhere since location is no longer a boundary.

Those in charge of HR will have to find a way to face these difficulties and make their companies more robust and adaptable at the same time, or they might be open to even more substantial challenges in the future.

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