2020 has made irreversible changes in people’s lives and also businesses. A few changes, which we thought to be impossible or take time during pre-COVID times, have become reality today. With vaccines found for COVID-19, will we go back to the familiar normal or continue living in the new normal? The answer to this one question decides the future of HR in 2021 and beyond. The uncertainties have grown, but the trends are decided based on the current scenario of the business world.
COVID-19, though forced us to make difficult decisions to ensure business continuity, it has brought many positive changes to the HR industry. People-centric organizations like Amazon extended their work from home until the Summer next year, and they are trying to bring in more resilience in their performance management system. On the other hand, companies with strict HR policies, which struggled a lot initially to adapt to the new normal, are now looking to adopting technology to focus on performance management and employee engagement to run the business under any kind of circumstance.
Working from anywhere has always made the list of HR trends but it always seemed like a distant reality. This pandemic has smashed all the conceptions of HR experts and made some unbelievable changes. Working from anywhere is a reality today. Many companies are planning to continue it even after the situation is brought back to normal. Tools like Slack, Zoom, Synergita are used to ensure undisrupted communication and collaboration among team members.
All the collaboration tools-based companies will work on improving their products to facilitate seamless communication among remote workers. Adopting sophisticated collaboration tools and experimenting with different software to enhance employee experience in the organization will be one of the major behaviors of HR in organizations of any domain except the manufacturing and logistics industries.
Virtual Work Culture Building
As the saying goes, culture eats strategy for breakfast, operational excellence for lunch, and everything else for dinner. In 2020, companies did not focus much on culture as they were busy with creating a comfortable workplace for their employees at home. HR came up with techniques to manage employee performance and engage employees, and so they hardly had time to focus on building or maintaining the company culture.
Now, the companies, with the power of technology, have gotten used to the new normal and are fully-equipped and prepared to run businesses undisrupted in any kind of work environment. In 2021, companies will focus on building a strong work culture among their remote workforce. Despite COVID-19, hiring activities took place in the latter part of 2020. Therefore, there are many employees added to the workforce, and also employees who have left organizations too.
These changes mandate the companies to come up with plans to instill the core values of the organization within the employees’ minds. No matter what the strategy is, only if the employees share the same growth mindset, the organization will be able to move forward as a whole.
The pandemic has not changed the experience economy we live in. Still, customer experience and employee experience rule the product and service worlds. Even when the companies were struck with the COVID-19 wave, exemplary customer service and an engaged distributed workforce had been their priorities. The significance of employee engagement has been realized by companies, especially with the influx of digital-savvy millennial employees.
Companies, in 2021, will focus more on leveraging the power of artificial intelligence and advanced technology to streamline business processes and make it even more interesting for the millennials. The old-school techniques like filling in forms manually for onboarding, surveys, feedback delivery, performance review will not help in retaining your best talents, especially if they are young and dynamic. The companies will figure out ways to attract and retain high-performing employees by coming up with brilliant engagement strategies.
Security Implications and Data-Driven Strategies
Connecting remote workers securely has been a great challenge for organizations. Having great digital experience does not guarantee a secure flow of information among remote workers. HR and top executives of companies will focus more on a secure way of communication and sharing of knowledge and resources.
Acing data and analytics is the way to stay ahead in the game of business. Today, all the software products are focusing on providing more data reports and analytics of the user’s activity. Planning strategies based on the data can assure the best results for the organization. For instance, the performance report of an employee generated by a tool provides the required information on how the employee performs, what he lacks, his achievements, etc.
COVID-19 has given a golden opportunity for employees to upskill and reskill themselves. The commuting time has been spared due to remote working, and there are many online courses to learn a new skill. Companies will analyze the data on the performance reports of employees and come up with a personalized development plan for each employee. The learning time taken by each employee was already increasing even before COVID-19. If the companies provide the right platforms for employees to learn a skill, it would have a great positive impact on the workforce.
The cost of hiring talents with the required skills to perform a particular job is more than training the existing workforce to develop that required skill. The retention rate will skyrocket if the employees see growth in their organization.