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HR Trends to look out for in 2021 and in years to come

HR Trends to look out for in 2021 and in years to come


There is still plenty of uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 and what will happen next in terms of the way it affects working life. However, given the progress that’s been made over the past six months with vaccination programmes and case numbers there is scope to start looking ahead, beyond the pandemic conditions we have recently experienced. So, what does the rest of this year look like in terms of HR trends and what can we expect from the years to come?


  • A shift towards home as the new office. Many businesses are returning staff to work from the autumn but many are not. Big brands, such as Twitter, for example, have announced that home working is here to stay. Expect to see home working - or an element of it - continuing as an HR trend and a possible permanent shift.
  • An emphasis on upskilling and learning. Particularly in the wake of the accelerated digitisation that occurred during the early months of the pandemic there are now some serious skills shortages in many workforces. But it’s not just data literacy and data integration that are important here. Areas such as business acumen and knowledge development can also be invaluable, both to individuals and the business as a whole.
  • Integrating technology for a more seamless experience. This trend is likely to have an impact on HR in two key ways. The first is moving from a paper environment to an almost completely digitised one and the second is introducing more automation to tackle manual, repetitive tasks.
  • A more virtual and online HR culture. During the pandemic, recruiting and onboarding had to go online and many businesses have found benefits to doing this. Monitoring and managing people, checking on welfare and creating opportunities for connection have also gone through this same shift and a new HR culture is emerging that takes greater advantage of virtual tools and online experiences to bring people together.
  • Moving beyond generational distinctions. In recent years there has been a lot of focus on what different generations - Millennials, Gen Z etc - want from the workplace. Now, we are starting to shift away from the idea that people want different things based on when they were born and towards the concept of ‘perennials.’ This is a group that is beyond generational stereotypes and shares characteristics in terms of wanting to connect with others and with the world around them.
  • HR takes on a renewed importance. Over the past year it’s become incredibly important for organisations to be able to communicate effectively with staff and take care of their needs. HR teams are central to this, not just when it comes to dealing with the ongoing practical issues arising from the pandemic but the need for greater support and communication into the future too.
  • Broader use of analytics. Data has a lot to offer any business and it’s going to become increasingly vital for HR data to be tracked and monitored. This can bring insight to many areas, from training and development to performance management.
  • Now more than ever, the ability to ”individualise” every aspect of people management whilst being compliant and consistent is the major challenge for HR professionals and Business leaders.

HR is changing and these are some of the key trends that will define what the future looks like. To meet these major challenges contact us, it’s what our HR professionals deliver every day for our clients and business partners.

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