Human Resources Trends of 2021
Heidi Zwart
human resources trends of 2021

If you’re a human resources professional, your role is vitally important this year. More than ever, you are managing and juggling an ever-evolving workplace. It’s imperative to keep up with what’s no longer working and what needs adjusting based on what matters most to your organization. Here are some of the most notable human resources trends of 2021.  

Flexible Work

While this will look different for every organization, flexible work is here to stay. Organizations like Bus Stop Mamas cater specifically to moms (and a few dads) who offer a wealth of talent but need flexible hours to manage their work and home life. Large organizations like Google have adapted to the changing times by saying their goal “is to give employees further flexibility, allowing people to work where they feel most productive and comfortable, while also encouraging employees to work from home as the virus and related variants remain concerning.” Freedom of employees to choose flexible work arrangements is one of the most important human resources trends of 2021.

Diverse & Inclusive Environments

Due to the outcry to address systemic inequities across the globe, diversity and inclusion efforts are one of the long overdue and significant human resources trends of 2021. Issues of race, gender, age, religion, education, and more are all part of the conversation around creating an equitable workforce. Research shows that when teams are more inclusive and diverse, the sense of belonging, trust, and contribution promotes better engagement of employees and better profitability for the organization. Additionally, 74% of employees expect their organization to take a stand and engage in cultural conversations publically, so staying on the fringes of this issue isn’t optional. 

Investing in Wellbeing

Protecting employees from burnout is one of the issues on the forefront of human resources trends of 2021. According to the American Psychological Association, 78% of employees said the pandemic was a significant source of stress. The rise in stress has directly impacted the escalation of employee burnout. Organizations have a two-fold responsibility to treat those who are currently suffering and prevent future burnout that could result in a mass exodus from the workplace. Investing in and prioritizing mental health can do both and is necessary for the health of every organization and its employees. 

Employee Development

Whether investing in ongoing training for current employees, creating promotional opportunities, or revamping job performance measures, employee development is one of the leading human resources trends of 2021. E-learning was trending upwards even before the pandemic, with expectations that it would triple by 2025 to reach $325 billion. Based on a 2019 survey, talent optimization is the number one concern for CEO’s. The quickly moving development of AI platforms is helping companies provide the necessary data to help companies do this well in the years ahead. 

While this isn’t an exhaustive list, it’s a good snapshot of some of the human resources trends of 2021. Human resource executives will continue to be on the frontline of managing their organization’s talent and health this year and beyond. Keeping apprised of the HR landscape is key to the success of organizations, big and small.   

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