Top five HR predictions for 2021

2020 was a year that taught us to expect the unexpected

Top five HR predictions for 2021

2020 was a year that taught us to expect the unexpected.

COVID-19 threw HR quite the curveball, leading many employers to rethink their whole business structure, their priorities, and their future goals.

But what now of 2021?

UKG recently released their predictions for the year ahead – looking at the definitive trends that will dominate our workplaces in the coming months. 

“2020’s legacy will be one of immense disruption, but following disruption always comes the opportunity to refocus and reinvent,” added Dr. Chris Mullen, Ph.D., SPHR, SHRM-SCP, executive director, The Workforce Institute at UKG.

Read more: 89% of HR employees expect solidarity with Black Lives Matter

“While the COVID-19 pandemic was unimaginable just a year ago, our 2020 predictions—anchored by themes of wellness, advocacy, and empowerment—now seem serendipitous. Organizations and their people are now doing things they once thought impossible, showing incredible resilience and creativity, presenting a small silver lining to a year we’d otherwise wish to forget.”

And now, without further ado, the top five workforce predictions for 2021…

1. The Great Reset
As we emerge from the chaos that was 2020, leaders will have to harness the skills and accomplishments learned over the past few months in order to thrive this year. UKG predicts that organizations will be making conscious decisions based on data to review policies, processes and practices.

2. An investment in trust
Trust in 2021 will be viewed as an imperative – both internally and to customers. Employees have been struggling over the past months, and the importance of mutual trust has only increased. Companies must explore new avenues to support the needs of their workforce, mitigate the effects of burnout, and best position themselves as a destination for talent.

3. Compassionate leadership
COVID-19 brought the importance of employee wellbeing programs into the forefront. Holistic initiatives are no longer a ‘nice to have’ – they’re a necessity. Organizations that will excel in 2021 will be led by compassionate and inclusive management that emphasizes empathy, wellness, and belonging.

4. Outside forces pushing businesses to the brink
The full impact of the virus on the Canadian economy is only now coming into view. From economic downturns to government debt, uncertainty is rife. Organizations do not need to wait for regulations to be put forth to do what is right for their workforces. Instead, HR leaders should be focusing on creating healthy, happy workforces that will inevitably draw in that top tier talent.

5. Technology expectations higher than ever
Technology essentially saved us last year. Pivoting to remote work was the key to survival for many organizations, allowing work to continue remotely. Digital transformation took precedence in the pandemic – but that journey isn’t over yet. This year, businesses will have to pay close attention to new tools on the market - including tech that measures performance, productivity, and all-round employee experience.

It’s high time we embrace the disruptions and challenges coming our way – and make 2021 the year of HR.

In fact, it’s high time we embrace the disruptions and challenges coming our way – and make 2021 the year of HR.

Read more: 'Leaders should look inwards – to create real change'

“I think we are on the cusp of a golden era of HR,” Dr Jarik Conrad, senior director, human insights & HCM evangelism at Ultimate Kronos Group (UKG), told HRD.

“The pandemic has helped the C-Suite understand that HR is a business-critical function. We have proven our worth in a crisis, and we will have the opportunity to demonstrate that same value during ‘normal’ times.

“There will be a tremendous amount of energy invested in getting to know employees better and respecting them as partners, as opposed to resources only to be used in service of organizations.”

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