Employer branding

The HR trends for 2021: experts’ insights and tips

7 Mins read

Every year brings different challenges, but the year 2020 certainly brought many more difficulties than the last couple of years. Due to the pandemic, all kinds of industries, including HR, change diametrically. Employees, employers, and recruiters experience some disruptions as well as opportunities. We’ve collected opinions from experts from all over the world on HR trends, challenges, and tips for 2021 so that you can prepare an up-to-date strategy for the next year. Let’s dig in! 

Hybrid working

One of the biggest HR trends to watch in 2021, is hybrid working. COVID-19 has seen greater flexibility and most companies are becoming comfortable with remote work. The US is hopeful in 2021 to return to the office, however as we have seen across New Zealand and Australia, most companies will be exploring a hybrid model of remote and on-site workers. As HR professionals we need to consider how to create new ways of working, which include all workers. 

With everything from the weekly staff meeting to the holiday party; how do you engage remote workers as well as the physical workforce? Many teachers have struggled with this over recent months. Does your company need new flexible work policies, new systems, and video conferencing technology, additional training for managers of hybrid teams, etc.? 

That is one trend to watch out for, but there are many more. HR professionals are increasingly finding a seat at the table with C-suite decision-makers, as a result of COVID-19. It is a very exciting time to work in HR.

Samantha Roberts, Talent Associate at Global Health Strategies 

HR trends on relationships in the company

Be compassionate

Of everyone in the group, you must be the most understanding and compassionate, because directives come from you and you will be everyone’s role model. Always see to it that you will be able to implement an effective system without compromising relationships and one’s self-esteem. You may be their superior but there’s no harm in giving them a seat at the table. They need to be heard and felt too. Nothing beats a compassionate leader. 

Invest in software solutions

As much as we want to apply the traditional way of hiring applicants, investing in software solutions is the next big HR thing in the market as of the present. These software solutions will help you screen applicants and their backgrounds without the need to check with them personally or invite everyone to an interview. 2021 hiring trend is more about hiring the best person to do the job, and not doing it out of empathy, so you have to screen skills the right way. 

Safety is the most important

I realized that no matter how passionate you are in your work, or how much you need a job, safety and security will always be the most important. 

Willie Greer, Founder at The Product Analyst 

Online recruitment and onboarding as one of the major HR trends

I think the biggest challenge for every recruiter will be online recruitment and online onboarding afterward. These are the points where the human touch and first impression is very important – both for a recruiter (“He’s perfect for the team!“) and for a candidate (“I’ve made the best choice – this is exactly where I want to work”). This is really difficult to achieve when you can’t meet face to face, but it’s definitely one of the most significant HR trends that companies should adapt to in 2021. 

Anna Sykut, Chief Evangelist at Traffit  – applicant tracking system

Traffit HR trends

Universal “family crisis” benefits as an HR trend

Universal “family crisis” benefits are next and will be a big benefit to working moms during COVID. Here’s why “family crisis” benefits are the future: 

They’re easy to implement

Companies already offer health challenges like “10,000 steps”, free Fitbits, apps like Calm for meditation, and weight management programs, because healthy employees are happy and productive. Adding “family wellness” benefits can be added seamlessly into the HR mix. 

Family health is mental health

The mental and physical health of workers is being impacted by the problems that COVID is causing within their families — so helping families get through COVID is critical if companies want to help women employees stay in the workplace. 

New technology makes it easy

Companies can add benefits like the tools Careacademy for caregivers, care.com for child care, and apps like S’moresUp that help moms completely manage the household and the kid’s schedule and integrate with homeschooling software – all for the price of a latte per employee. 

Priya Rajendran, Silicon Valley technologist, CEO at S’moresUp

Creating diverse teams as an HR trend for 2021

I think one of the major changes in HR will be the recruitment process. Since a lot of businesses have switched to remote work permanently, they won’t have to hire only locals anymore. Hiring managers will now be able to scout people from all around the world and create truly diverse teams. I believe that each business will need to re-strategize when it comes to the recruitment process and focus more on digital platforms for finding new workers. Personally, I’m quite excited about this opportunity because we will be seeing more collaborations between experts from different cultures in every single industry.

Malte Scholz, CEO and Co-Founder at Airfocus 

HR trends: longer retention of employees

In 2021 and beyond we are going to see an HR trend toward longer retention of employees. For many people in their 20s and 30s, it has become normal to job hop every few years. With the massive shift to remote work, we are also seeing an opportunity to keep people for the long term. This trend is driven by very practical reasons, for example, you don’t have to leave your job to move to a new city. 

This trend has interesting implications for HR and managers. If you know that you will work with someone for 30 years instead of three, then you approach it differently. We will see correlated increases in investing in employees’ productivity, training and development, happiness and engagement, and more. 

Michael Alexis, CEO at TeamBuilding

HR Tech will completely take a new shape

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and massive adoption of technology promoting remote work, HR is also jumping on the bandwagon of this new tech-era. 2020 can safely be assumed to be the year when human resources technology or HR Tech will completely take a new shape. 

The era of Artificial Intelligence

The role of artificial intelligence in HR is immense. The application of AI becomes useful to make data-driven decisions and improve decision making quality. It is helpful and very effective for recruiting, training employees. More ways to use it are for onboarding and measuring retention rates. AI measures and manages the performance of each employee. 

Robotic Process Automation

Research by EY found that 93% of the time spent by HR personnel is on doing repetitive tasks. RPA is not a machine but software which can do repetitive tasks carried out by humans. It is very useful in assisting complex and multi-step data-driven processes. EY already has an RPA software in place and says in the future. Another reason for the growing demand for RPA’s is the increasing number of millennials and gen-z’s in the workforce. 

Work-life balance as one of the strongest HR trends in 2021

With the Covid outbreak where the majority of the employees are working from home, the difference in professional and personal boundaries are blurred. Maintaining a work-life balance helps in reducing stress, improves health, and helps prevent burnout in the workplace. Prioritizing a healthy culture and creating a happy workplace increased retention rates. 

Gender Equality, Women empowerment, and workplace safety

Despite these incredible advances, women still have to face a lot of challenges. From sexual harassment, pay parity, lack of security to gender biases, and pregnancy discrimination. The list just goes on. In the Present scenario, thankfully, movements like #Metoo and #TimesUp have created a steer on social media. Women are finally standing up against the injustices held against them in the workplace. Hopefully, 2021 will see more steps taken in this strata and make the workplace a safe and better place to work in for everyone. 

Anjan Pathak, Co-founder and CTO at Vantage Circle

HR trends: be unique, and be honest

You need to find A THING that differentiates you from hundreds of other companies out there. Thousands of job offers are constantly fighting for the attention of a small pool of candidates, also global brands are already hunting in Poland for great talent. Recruiters need to accept that in order to have a fighting chance in this market your company, and your job offers need to have something that will attract candidates’ attention and turn out to be true once you succeed. Companies that have nothing to offer (great development plan, great teams, great projects, great salary) won’t stand a chance in this competitive environment.

Michal Gąszczyk, CEO at Inhire.io

Too many candidates

It might be a challenge for recruiters to review so many applications, very often of candidates with no relevant experience, as there are many job seekers on the market, trying their luck and applying for anything they can find. On the other side, the organization will need to invest more in their CSR practices and in treating employees well, to be the company of choice, as candidates might be pickier with their selection. Candidates will be more careful when choosing their new employer, investigating how the company treated their employees during Covid 19 and how they dealt with many difficult situations that took place in 2020.

Aneta Bochenek, Talent and Ops Manager at Meritum Cloud Services

Key takeaways on HR trends for 2021

2020 thought us that both companies and employees need to be flexible and adjust to the new environment. As technology is helping businesses still grow and enhance our work, we should keep investing in tools that improve online productivity. Reliable and efficient software can be a game-changer for the HR departments as well. 

Experts notice that employers should take care of employees’ wellbeing and ensure a healthy environment, as well as support their families. The pandemic showed us how important a company’s approach to workers’ private life is. Enhancing relationships and transparency in the workplace will help you create a friendly atmosphere and build trust. 

We hope that now you know what are the HR trends for 2021 and with the insights presented above you can improve candidate experience and employee satisfaction. Good luck!

Traffit sign up HR trends