The shift to remote working has led to plenty of new HR management trends emerging in the span of the last couple of years. Hence, it is imperative that HR professionals must be aware of these trends in order to stay ahead in the game.
In the last decade, the HR industry underwent a dramatic transformation due to numerous changes in the corporate world. These changes include the rise in popularity of artificial intelligence, the emergence of the gig economy, emphasis on greater diversity, and more. Not to mention, the recent pandemic has turned the corporate world upon its axis.
Now, let’s take a closer look at how the HR industry is redefining itself and what are the upcoming trends that will shape the future of the industry.
Home is the new office
One of the HR management trends we saw in 2020 was the shift from the traditional work model to a remote and flexible working environment with a boom in the gig economy. This was a trend that dominated the entirety of last year due to the pandemic. Now, in 2021, it certainly looks like this trend is here to stay.
Many big-name companies have permanently shifted a lot of their workload to virtual spaces, allowing employees to work flexibly and remotely.
For instance, Twitter brought out the option to allow its employees who are not required in the office to work from home forever. Other top companies that made similar decisions include Microsoft, Facebook, and Slack.
Digital work prioritisation
Businesses around the world are prioritising digital work due to the shift towards virtual working environments. This is another trend that is a byproduct of the pandemic and we feel that this is going to be a major trend for the upcoming years.
Many companies have come up with a hybrid approach in which workers are not required to come to the office regularly. This hybrid approach leads to digital work getting tackled first and coming to the office for tasks that cannot be done virtually.
This also means that the latest technology will become a necessity in most businesses and workers will be expected to be adept at them.
Employee Experience redefined
Employee experience has always been one of the most important initiatives for any HR department. Now, with the virtual shift, the employee experience will need to be redefined so that they can still get an optimal experience even though they are working from home.
Thus, the HR departments need to ensure a great employee experience virtually in order to achieve the following objectives:
- Productivity boost;
- Satisfaction improvement;
- Greater employee loyalty, and;
- Encouragement to achieve business goals.
HR managers are likely to take the aid of technology and automation so that the staff can have a good experience in a cost-effective and sustainable manner.
Much needed attention on mental health
Up until recently, workplaces have always ignored the mental health of employees. Finally, the corporate culture is incorporating mental health discussions. Managers have started considering it as an important factor affecting the productivity of employees and thereby, business growth.
This is why we can expect HR managers to help their employees manage mental health better. A report by Business Group on Health talks about a few areas of mental health where the organisations are expected to focus:
- More than 90% of companies are expected to provide tele-mental health to their employees;
- 88% of companies will be providing mental health resources, and;
- Costs for mental health services are likely to be waived or reduced in 54% of companies in 2021.
Learning is a life-long process and it doesn’t stop at finishing school. Firms are finally starting to realise that, as more and more companies are now investing in up-skilling their staff including the HR department. We are seeing a rise in learning programs for certain skills more than others.
Let’s take a look at some of the popular skills that the companies want their HR managers to acquire:
HR professionals must be capable of making data-driven decisions when it comes to managing employees. So, they must be able to perform data analysis and use the data to make informed decisions that will be beneficial for the company in the long term.
Business intelligence can always be improved. It is not something that you finish learning in a college course. HR professionals should always push themselves to get a better understanding of the business goals of their organisation including its business strategy and target market.
Since most business tasks are now virtual, HR tasks have to also undergo digital transformation. So, needless to say, HR leaders must learn to drive HR efficiencies through technology. This is, in fact, one of the biggest skill gaps found in HR and thus, employers desperately need to up-skill their HR department in this area.
Data-driven HR department
Data is the biggest instigator for success in the present business world. Therefore, one of the most important strategic focuses of HR departments in the coming years is expected to be on data. Due to the remote working environment, employers are using data more than ever before to determine the performance of their employees and in turn, determine the direction of their business tasks.
As the Founder and Consulting Partner at HR Curator, David Millner said, “Data is the new currency when it comes to the workforce”. It is hard to not agree with the statement.
Data is the game-changer in the current scenario. It not only shows how successful HR practices are when it comes to adding value at the strategic or business level, but it also enables the HR department to improve practices as well as the employee experience. Here is a resource for implementing HR and people analytics in a company.
HR as a guidance support
Last year caused a dramatic change in the majority of professionals’ lives. This dramatic change, needless to say, was overwhelming for many such professionals and some of them are still struggling to properly adapt to the innumerable changes.
Health has become a major topic of concern for business professionals, added to the stress over the security of their current jobs. These are only some of the stressors plaguing the current corporate population amidst the pandemic.
During this chaos, it is natural for employees to turn to HR for guidance. That is why it is not uncommon for HR to act as a guidance counsellor in the present situation and this trend is expected to continue in the future. HR professionals have come forward to manage the concerns and queries of employees, to support them, and help with their mental and emotional wellness as well.
While employees are working from their homes, it is inevitable that they will create their own optimal working environment. This can include arranging their workspace according to their own preferences and adjusting their time schedules. Now, many companies are able to provide them with enough room to do so.
The employees may also want to make a few adjustments to the work they do. This is known as job crafting. It is a concept in which jobs are improved in five different ways (tasks, skills, purpose, relations, and wellbeing) for the advantage of both the employees and the company.
Therefore, we believe that this trend where employees are allowed to take ownership of their job will continue because it increases not only job satisfaction, but also the productivity of the employees.
- Image: Pexels
Digitisation and automation of HR tasks
Many HR tasks are repetitive and tedious and a business usually spends a lot of its time on these tasks. Hence, automation and digitisation of such tasks will save time for focusing on growing the business or taking proper care of employees.
So, first of all, if an HR department uses paperwork for anything, it should be digitised as soon as possible. Next, all the repetitive HR tasks like the following should be automated:
- Onboarding, from resume collection to screening to online tests;
- Accepting/rejecting requests for leave;
- Managing payroll processing, accounting, expense claims;
- Maintaining employee attendance and timesheet, and;
- Monitoring employee performance.
Many more tasks like the above can be automated, which is our next HR management trends. There is no doubt that more and more businesses will be integrating this in the near future for the benefit of the company’s growth.
Digital collaboration platform
Remote work means virtual team collaboration sessions. Thus, it is not surprising that software that allows effective collaboration for teams will be extremely in demand. Google Workspace, Teams, Zoom, Google Meet, and Slack are some of the most popular platforms for staff members to work together right now.
The need for using these platforms emerged during the Work-From-Home trend. Thus, most organisations are turning towards cloud solutions to replicate the human-to-human interaction in a virtual setting. With time, more such platforms are predicted to be incorporated into the daily business operations of firms.
These platforms are not only useful for team collaboration but also for tracking the performance of employees with virtual timesheets, attendance, and performance management tools available.
The recruitment world has changed drastically over the last decade and now organisations can easily find top talent on their smartphones. This means that HR is supposed to create a process where anyone with a smartphone can apply for a role at the company and appear for a job interview.
For ensuring a great candidate experience, most companies are making their recruitment process mobile-friendly. Mobile-friendly recruitment makes life simpler for both the candidates and the recruiters. It is a cheaper method than traditional recruitment practice and is also easier to build and follow.
Mobile-friendly recruitment encompasses several new HR management trends that are expected to persist for a much longer time:
- Video interviews;
- Skill tests;
- Digital reference checks, and more.
Virtual team building activities
Adapting to the work from home (WFH) and other HR management trends can only be successful when the employees still get the sense of being in a team. Earlier, it was absolutely normal for people to go to the office every day, meet coworkers and have a chat with them over lunch or help each other in various business tasks.
However, this is not possible anymore. So, how to feel that you are part of a team when you are working alone in your home. Team building exercises are the solution to this problem. HR managers need to ensure that the team is in sync with each other and one way to do that is by having weekly catch-up sessions over video conferences.
The working environments of businesses have completely turned around in the last couple of years and so, it is interesting to see so many innovative HR management trends being adopted at organisations worldwide.
These above-mentioned trends will endure for years to come in the HR industry. Therefore, it is essential for companies to adapt to these HR management trends as soon as possible so that their business can grow smoothly without any hindrance.
About the author
Sakcham Tiwari is a content writer at Workex. Sakcham has produced content for a diverse number of websites, blogs, and magazines and now she writes well-researched articles for Workex Blog. Sakcham earned her MA in Digital Publishing from Oxford Brookes University.