The Top 3 HR Trends for 2021

2021 HR Trends

2020 brought a number of new challenges and circumstances for organizations to adapt to.

But nobody had to adapt more, perhaps, than HR professionals. Between rapid policy modifications for drastic changes in the work environment, providing reports for loan applications, and communicating with an increasingly stressed and scattered workforce, the HR department endured quite a bit during this year.

In response to 2020’s massive global workforce changes, the HR industry and its practices have stretched undeniably. The needs of this year have shaped the future of Human Capital Management, including trends anticipated for 2021.

HR Professionals, here are 3 of the top trends we are anticipating for next year -- and you can see the rest of the trends for the year by downloading our 2021 Workforce Trends eBook.


Trend #1: AI Matters More than Ever

While Artificial Intelligence (AI) is hardly a new concept, 2020 transformed the way organizations use and rely on it. Now, organizations are finding that AI goes far beyond just providing automation and efficiency; it can be used to improve and personalize many aspects of the employee lifecycle. 

During the recruitment process AI can empower you to build out rich candidate profiles and reduce bias. This type of candidate profiling can layer resume and other submitted information on top of the candidate’s social media and online footprint. AI can also serve up tailored questionnaires and activities to connect with ideal candidates. All of this provides you a fuller picture in hiring decisions, reducing bias and matching candidates based on what truly matters.

Artificial intelligence makes an impact at many other stages of employment, including training and development. Through Augmented and Virtual Reality, you can provide employees with “real, in-person” training virtually. This has proven extremely beneficial in the age of COVID-19 and remote work. AI can also help you implement personalized education tracks to your employees, providing a higher ROI for your training investment due to increased effectiveness and applicability. 


Trend #2: “Upskilling” Supports Need to Fill Talent Gaps

In February 2020, 87% of executives said they were either experiencing skill gaps or expected them within the next few years. Since that time, COVID-19 has caused most organizations to scale back their workforces and put a hold on hiring, exacerbating this skill gap even further.

But, using upskilling, employers can invest in their current employees by helping them acquire new and relevant abilities they need today and in the future for their roles. 

In order to weather what lies ahead, your organization needs to begin or expand an upskilling initiative, creating educational growth paths for your current workforce. This will allow you to scale more flexibly, and to stay on top of quickly-evolving technology in the long-term.


Trend #3: The Employee Experience is Redefined

Our third top trend for 2021 is the Redefined Employee Experience. 

The “typical workplace” changed forever during 2020. When teams made the immediate switch from seeing each other in an office daily to working from home, company culture changed rapidly, as well.

Many of the interactions and expressions that build company culture for an organization are experienced in person. And with companies focusing on adapting basic business processes to the new environment, as well as covering roles that were furloughed or cut for budget costs, time and energy was not dedicated to adapting these aspects of company culture during 2020.

But, now that many companies have been working remotely or had adaptive environments for almost a year, it is critical to begin considering how to maintain culture and interaction in the long-term. If organizations don’t rework their employee experience, they can expect a disengaged, uninvested workforce that does not meet their needs. 

Moving ahead, employees will need support in different ways than they did in the past. And, HR leaders must consider how effective their organization’s employee experience is, or expect that their company culture will become stale or nonexistent. 


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Interested in learning more about upcoming HR trends for 2021? Download the full eBook here to read about all 8 trends, as well as best practices for applying them to your organization. 


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