Virtually no aspect of daily life escaped the 2020 pandemic unaffected. From preventing scope creep to maintaining a healthy work-life balance, companies have been forced to retool their policies, procedures, and strategies to meet the demands of the rapidly evolving modern marketplace.
The human resources (HR) sector has been forced to not only change the way it handles daily work in the HR office, but it has also been forced to adapt to rapidly evolving practices within other departments in order to best serve employees company wide. This has led to new trends that will impact workplace operations in 2021 and beyond.
Let’s examine five such trends.
1. Permanent Shift to Remote Work
For many companies, working from home has become the new normal. Although a relatively COVID-free future may be in sight, businesses and their employees have already grown accustomed to the convenience and cost savings that tend to go hand-in-hand with remote work.
In fact, many companies were already trending toward distance work systems before the pandemic struck. For these reasons, the Academy to Innovate HR ranks a permanent shift to remote work first on its list of trends to watch out for in 2021.2. Technology Drives Improvements
The complex computer systems that make remote work a reality are only the beginning of the technological advancements fueling the modern HR workplace. As we move through 2021 and beyond, HR professionals who fail to take advantage of the latest in state-of-the-art technology will inevitably fall behind their competitors.
To make the very most of your HR operations, consider adopting a comprehensive professional services platform such as BQE CORE.This type of software can help you with a wider range of human resource management and compliance issues. By embracing digital automation and computer governed processes, the HR world has become exponentially smarter and more efficient.3. Employer Support Encompasses Life Experience
Gartner, a business technology research and advisory firm, ranks expanding company benefits to improve employee life experience the most significant and noteworthy HR trend in 2021.
Since the home has become the new workplace, many firms are realizing that employee benefits need to extend further into the realm of holistic life care. If nothing else, the COVID-19 pandemic has taught employers the importance of maintaining good health among the people that they employ.4. Mental Health Support Expansion
It didn’t take long for companies to increase support for employee mental health initiatives after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to Gartner, by the very beginning of coronavirus spread in the United States in late March of 2020, nearly 7 out of every 10 organizations had added at least one psychological or emotional wellness benefit to assist workers through the pandemic. This more concerted emphasis on mental health has continued throughout 2020, and it is only expected to grow in 2021. Gartner also points to highly visible initiatives such as shutting down the entire company for designated collective mental health days as evidence of workplace trends that destigmatize mental health issues and provide significant mental health benefits.5. Hiring Practices Evolve
The events of 2020 have probably changed traditional HR recruitment and vetting practices for the long term. Specifically addressing hiring practices in the accounting sector, BQE has already discussed the ways in which virtual recruiting events and video interviews have changed the face of employee sourcing and job candidate assessment.
Beyond its effects on specific hiring practices and procedures, COVID-19 has fostered a HR environment in which geographical distance no longer hinders potential recruitment pools. Thanks to the dramatic shift to remote work that the pandemic has precipitated, HR professionals can often hire the best worker for the job, wherever they might live.
The Key Takeaway
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic and the other changes that have rocked every segment of society in 2020, it is simply foolish to assume that business will return to “normal” soon. Changes are inevitable and will inevitably occur at a much higher rate during periods of volatility.
Wise business leaders will not only adapt to cope with these changes, but also take advantage of the 2020 shakeup to make their companies more profitable and successful. Many of the emergency measures that administrators put in place as a response to COVID-19 have actually improved operational efficiency and boosted customer and employee satisfaction. Keeping these measures in place on a permanent basis will not only change the way you do business — it will make your business processes far more efficient.