5 People Trends that drove HR in 2021

A look at what drove 2021's Human Resource trends.

Published on : 12/20/21
  • The last one year has witnessed a lot of changes in the way organisations function.

    2021 was a year that best personified ‘survival of the fittest’. The upheaval in the economy brought about by the pandemic presented issues of mammoth proportions. And only the organisations and employees who adapted quickly to the new requirements; managed to stay afloat. It was no longer a solo, streamlined workplace that HR had to supervise; employees were everywhere - at the original workplace, working remotely from home and working from co-working spaces. HR had the unenviable task of providing a similar and exciting experience to all the employees, irrespective of their workstation.

    So, what did HR finally brainstorm and come up with?

    • Hybrid workplace – With only a part of the workforce coming to the original workplace, real estate space was optimised and the concept of hot desking was introduced. Like an airline, employees could choose their seat in advance from the available ones in an app. Next, HR had to bring about perfect collaboration between the employees of a team, working from the office or remotely. The right kind of tools had to be provided to promote cohesion. It was extremely important to ensure that every individual in a team worked in tandem with the rest, in a virtual office, to achieve a common goal. The rulebook also had to be suitably altered so that the policies did justice to all the employees in this hybrid workplace. There had to be discipline, proper monitoring as well as mutual trust.
    • Employee experience redefined – The original workplace had all the infrastructure and tools to support smooth functioning; but HR had to ensure a similar kind of experience for employees who worked remotely too. Tools to support proper connectivity, audio and video conferencing had to be provided. In customer facing jobs, bots had to be developed to solve customer queries. Easy, interactive and user-friendly bots were introduced that could substitute for real employees and aid the customer journey well.

    HR had the immense responsibility of ensuring employee wellness in this virtual work environment. With insecurity about job and prolonged isolation, mental wellness was at stake. The right kind of counselling had to be done to allay doubts. Also, physical wellbeing was essential to stay clear of the pandemic and develop immunity; fresh and nutritious food had to be made available to employees, anywhere and everywhere. Awareness about maintaining good health had to be created. Interesting employee engagement methods had to be devised.

    • HR as an integral part of business transformation – In the changed work atmosphere, it was vital for HR to allocate the right talent to the right job to ensure optimisation. Understanding staffing needs and developing the right kind of metrics helped HR to hire and retain top talents thereby propelling organisational growth. It was impending for HR to identify skill gaps and emphasise on capacity building. It was necessary to predict future capabilities and help the workforce to adapt. The need was to create agile teams that could quickly fit into priority roles.

    With proliferation of online operations, technology advances, and preference of people for freelancing, HR also had to build a flexible employee structure to support the gig economy. Innovative sourcing had to be done to meet specific short-term work requirements.

    • People analytics – To ensure that the best talent could be hired and retained, HR developed analytics capability that primarily relied on data mining. Tools like PowerBI were used to create interactive data experiences. HR also improved its data literacy; they extracted the right data that helped in decision-making. Empowered by technology, HR could evaluate business impact better and give the right kind of advice to the top management, related to employees. Their assessments were totally evidence-based. It improved efficiency of HR and promoted growth of the company.
    • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) – Remote working became a blessing in disguise for HR as employees could be hired from across the globe, irrespective of their gender, ethnicity and economical condition. It helped HR to dip into a vast talent pool, unhampered by geography. And ultimately, this helped create a more inclusive community, where the only factor that held good was talent.

    Thus, 2021 was clearly a year of reinvention for HR. It makes the roadmap quite clear for the future.

    • Remote working will certainly stay and there will be an increase in remote learning to upskill or reskill to stay relevant with the times.
    • Team building will be on top of the cards too, as a team that works together will certainly grow together. Investment in employee Health & Wellness has become top priority
    • Digital collaboration will increase with employee experience being redefined on the firm foundation of technology.
    • Data analytics will get smarter, and more and more tasks will be automated to help in decision making.
    • And, location will not matter much in making hiring decisions. The world has become smaller than ever.

    HR will continue to evolve and become more exciting. It will acquire an even greater role in helping organisations thrive.

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