The HR Trends Shaping the Workplace In 2021

In so many ways the impact of COVID-19 has been far-reaching, touching virtually every part of daily life. Among the most profound changes wrought by the pandemic has been how we work.

Human resources professionals agree that the workplace in 2021 will be very different from the one we knew at the end of 2019. Certainly, for some workers and in some industries, the changes will be less obvious and may even feel like “business as usual.” For others, it will be an entirely transformed experience.

What’s ahead? What are the workplace trends that human resources professionals will grapple within the year ahead?

Brian Kropp, chief of HR research at the consulting and research firm Gartner, shared on Human Resource Executive the HR trends he says will prevail next year. On his list – and on every other list from other HR professionals and thought leaders – is the acceptance of remote work as common practice, rather than some special benefit.

No longer a trend, Kropp says, “The next wave of flexibility will be around giving employees flexibility over when they work. Next year will see a rise of new jobs where employees no longer have an agreed-upon set of hours to work and instead just focus on a set of outputs to achieve, regardless of how long it takes them to achieve those outputs.”

Agreeing that remote work is now an established practice, HR thought leader Trish McFarlane, in her list for SAP, advised HR professionals to “Prepare to be flexible with scheduling and options for online trainings and upskilling.”

As part of the acceptance of work-from-home, Kropp sees a shift toward managing the life experiences of employees.

“We have seen (as a result of the pandemic) the struggles that they have faced when it comes to working from home, from balancing raising kids and working, and from caring for their family members,” Kropp writes. Supporting workers with these struggles gives them better lives and enables them to work more effectively.

“2021 will be the year where employer support for mental health, financial health and sleep will become table stakes of the benefits offer given to employees,” he says, addressing mental health support itself as one of the key HR trends: “Employers will work to de-stigmatize mental health by expanding mental health benefits, creating collective mental health days and supporting other initiatives to improve the mental health of their employees.”

Among the other HR trends Kropp sees are:

  • More companies will take public positions on societal and political issues.
  • States will compete to attract talent, rather than companies to move there.
  • The gender wage gap will intensify in 2021 as more men choose to return to the workplace than women.
  • Companies will shift from building talent to buying and renting it.

Like Kropp, other HR leaders see a broadening of the employee experience to be more encompassing of life experiences:

  • McFarlane says “Mental and emotional well-being will become central to the employee experience.”
  • The ReWork editors at Cornerstone predict the next step in the evolving employee experience is that “We will practice empathy in a virtual world.”

While all offer other, additional trends — some new, many accelerated by the pandemic — all see a different world of work in 2021.

As the ReWork editors wrote, “2020 has accelerated inevitable changes and forced industries, companies, and most importantly, people to adapt to these changes over a considerably short amount of time.

“And 2020, if nothing else, has shown us that people are resilient, organizations can adapt in the face of rapid change, and together, they can create extraordinary outcomes.”

Photo by Cytonn Photography on Unsplash

Prime Day 2021 Brings New Challenges for Amazon Sellers
Accounting + Finance General Interest Leadership + Management

Prime Day 2021 Brings New Challenges for Amazon Sellers

Juneteenth: History and Significance
General Interest

Juneteenth: History and Significance

Biogen’s Long-Awaited Alzheimer’s Treatment
General Interest Healthcare Pharma

Biogen’s Long-Awaited Alzheimer’s Treatment

The Internet Had a Bad Day
Information Technology

The Internet Had a Bad Day

The Role of HR Departments in LGBTQ+ Pride
General Interest Human Resources Worklife

The Role of HR Departments in LGBTQ+ Pride

What It Means to Be a Leader During a Time of Crisis
General Interest Leadership + Management Worklife

What It Means to Be a Leader During a Time of Crisis

Mid-Life Crisis? Consider a Mid-Life Career Switch
Accounting + Finance General Interest Information Technology Leadership + Management Worklife

Mid-Life Crisis? Consider a Mid-Life Career Switch

Lawyers Look to Move Firms to Keep Remote Work
Legal Support

Lawyers Look to Move Firms to Keep Remote Work

Is the Hybrid Workplace Sustainable?
Worklife

Is the Hybrid Workplace Sustainable?

Bank of America, Competitors to Raise Pay
Financial Services

Bank of America, Competitors to Raise Pay

Class of 2021 to Enter Job Market
Financial Services Healthcare Information Technology Marketing Technology Professional Support

Class of 2021 to Enter Job Market

Pharmacies Are Entering the Mental Health Market
Healthcare Pharma

Pharmacies Are Entering the Mental Health Market

Pandemic Challenges Create New Opportunities for Virtual Career Development
Worklife

Pandemic Challenges Create New Opportunities for Virtual Career Development

America’s New Tech Hubs
Information Technology

America’s New Tech Hubs

How to Recognize if a Manager Is Right for You
Worklife

How to Recognize if a Manager Is Right for You

Green Key Resources is Hiring!
Accounting + Finance Architecture + Engineering Creative Financial Services Healthcare Human Resources Information Technology Legal Support Marketing Technology Pharma Professional Support

Green Key Resources is Hiring!

How to Think Like a Lawyer
Legal Support

How to Think Like a Lawyer

3 Questions to Unlock Your Authentic Career
Creative Worklife

3 Questions to Unlock Your Authentic Career

Businesses Rethink “Necessary Travel”
Worklife

Businesses Rethink “Necessary Travel”

YOLO Is Sparking Riskier Career Moves
Worklife

YOLO Is Sparking Riskier Career Moves

Latest Blog Posts
View All Posts
Prime Day 2021 Brings New Challenges for Amazon Sellers

Prime Day 2021 Brings New Challenges for Amazon Sellers

The return of Amazon Prime Day to the summer calendar appears to be a sign of progress, but new challenges...
Read More
Juneteenth: History and Significance

Juneteenth: History and Significance

Juneteenth is an annual holiday commemorating the end of slavery in the United States. Here are 19 facts about the...
Read More
Biogen’s Long-Awaited Alzheimer’s Treatment

Biogen’s Long-Awaited Alzheimer’s Treatment

On June 7, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Aduhelm (aducanumab) for Alzheimer’s, which affects more than 6 million...
Read More