4 HR trends to watch
by Arina Smith Business Development 19 July 2021
HR departments have always been a vital cog in the corporate machine but they have never been more important than right now. The past decade has seen businesses forced to tackle immense change when it comes to the future of human resource management, with factors such as inclusiveness, diversity, automation, and the gig economy creating a whole new working world.
Then, just as HR managers were getting their heads around such issues, along came a global pandemic that has forced businesses to adopt remote working models on a scale – and at a speed – they would have never considered possible. For these reasons alone it is more important than ever to leverage a recruitment agency for these reasons alone, it is more important than ever to leverage a recruitment agency to scale your global workforce.
Amid such revolution, one thing that hasn’t changed is successful businesses are invariably those that monitor trends to stay ahead of their opposition and, in turn, source the latest technology to allow their HR departments to thrive. The competition for talent has never been more intense and the ability to enhance HR processes is essential for organizations that want to remain employers of choice and HR managers who want to deliver positive results for their own bosses.
With that in mind, here are four HR trends to watch in the post-COVID environment and how businesses can leverage them to drive efficiencies.
1. Digitization of HR tasks
‘Time is money has long been a corporate war cry and HR teams are increasingly turning to technology to ensure they are doing their bit on that front. While tedious, routine tasks such as onboarding, payroll, and recruitment administration have traditionally soaked up HR resources, integrated software is increasingly doing the job for them and allowing teams to focus on more strategic activities. Likewise, self-service options are enabling staff to solve their own requests, saving both them and their HR teams vital time and money.
Business news publication Mint has reported that Indian firms alone could save at least $600 million each year by using HR technology. This also extends to talent acquisition, with another study showing machines are 25% more efficient than humans in hiring the right talent.
2. Remote working
COVID-19 prompted an unprecedented spike in companies rolling out remote working models and the enthusiasm of employees for the concept will ensure it remains an integral part of future HR landscapes. A survey of 1,200 people who started working from home in the wake of the pandemic found 84% enjoyed doing so and 65% would consider working remotely on a permanent basis, clearly showing that the remote working genie is out of the bottle.
With remote workers less likely to have face-to-face interaction with colleagues, HR managers need to leverage technology as much as possible to maintain employee engagement. Software solutions will play a critical role in ensuring communication and accountability for staff separated by distance, while HR departments need to develop processes and protocols to ensure remote workers adhere to proper time-keeping policies.
The flexibility so appreciated by remote workers can also prove to be an HR challenge, with the risk of wage and hour issues as staff potentially toil outside of traditional hours. HR is not the only sector affected by remote work, with wider business trends impacted in the past year such as an increased focus on cybersecurity issues.
3. Diversity and inclusion
The past few years have seen a huge rise in social justice causes, culminating most recently in the Black Lives Matter movement that swept the globe in 2020. Where diversity and inclusion policies may have once been considered a worthy add-on for HR teams, they must now be a priority as employers and employees recognize the need to address past wrongs and pave the way for a better future.
Along with an increased focus on diversity and inclusion when recruiting new employees, HR staff will start to roll out quality programs and initiatives that not only create safe and inclusive work environments but bolster employee engagement, productivity, and retention.
More diverse companies are not only known to benefit in terms of positive workplace culture but also on their balance sheets. Studies have shown diverse companies enjoy 2.3 times higher cash flow per employee, 43% of companies with diverse boards notice higher profits, and racially and ethnically diverse companies are 35% more likely to perform better.
4. HRD and data
Data has been playing a growing role in driving HR decisions for several years and with the pandemic accelerating digital transformation across workplaces, there will be even more opportunities to generate numbers. By increasingly using data to identify how specific leaders, regions, or initiatives are performing, HR leaders are able to turn their attention to Human Resource Development (HRD) and choose where to provide, expand or adjust training and coaching programs.
It’s all about accountability and consistency, with data and predictive analytics allowing HR teams to identify issues before they become widespread and take the proactive action required to deliver better results.
While the COVID-19 pandemic has created huge challenges for HR departments across the globe, it has also delivered a once-in-a-generation opportunity for HR professionals to help facilitate a new way of working. From remote working to digital transformation, the scope for change is endless and trends such as the above are just the start of what promises to be an exciting period of evolution.