Looking to Build a Better Workforce? Try These Top HR Trends
HR Trends, Looking to Build a Better Workforce? Try These Top HR Trends, Hyer

Looking to Build a Better Workforce? Try These Top HR Trends

5 HR Trends to Focus on in 2021

HR professionals have had their hands full in recent months. In fact, a recent survey showed that this has been the most stressful year of their working lives. And with unemployment expected to remain high and a majority of people in the labor force looking for new jobs due to the pandemic—HR executives are looking for ways to re-build their workforce.


Gartner’s Brian Kropp says 2021 will be another year full of reinvention. But how far will HR teams have to stretch and where should they start? We’ve reviewed the latest research from leading organizations like Gartner and have highlighted five HR trends worth looking into this year. 

1. Recruiting vs. Renting Talent

Online HR trends resource XpertHR asked 563 U.S. employers in a September 2020 survey to rate expected workplace challenges in 2021 and found that recruiting and hiring while the nation struggles to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic tops the list.  


The number of skills that employers are looking for has risen dramatically, with a Gartner analysis showing that companies listed about 33% more skills on job ads in 2020 than they did in 2017. Unfortunately, organizations can’t reskill the capabilities of their existing workforce fast enough to meet their changing needs.


While some companies will hire and pay a premium price for skills when the need manifests, other organizations will instead expand their use of contingent and contract hiring or expand their partnerships with organizations to “rent” employees for a short period of time to meet the skill needs that they are facing.


“As the speed of in-demand skills accelerates, companies will shift their investment away from build strategies and focus more on buying and renting talent than they have ever before,” said Kropp.


2. Building Superteams

Covid-19 has been more than an accelerator into the future, Deloitte found it’s brought a dramatic shift to new ways of working—highlighting “superteams” as the way of the future.


Combining people and technology to produce outcomes more quickly and at a greater scale than would otherwise be possible, Deloitte’s recent report suggests using technology to design work that helps humans perform at their best. “Your tools can help people collaborate in teams, break down silos among functions and businesses, create knowledge, learn in the flow of work, and personalize and humanize the work experience, they stated.”


As organizations shift to a “thrive mindset” by embracing disruption as a catalyst for growth, Deloitte says, “Increasing their reliance on superteams may help them drive growth, navigate uncertainty, and unlock the potential of their workforce.”


3.  Maintaining Flexibility

Remote, flexible work was the name of the game in 2020 and will remain paramount in 2021 as customized work schedules and flexible pay will accelerate transformation. According to ADP, approximately 44% of employers now have official flexible working policies established, up from 24% prior to the pandemic.


Gartner’s 2020 Reimagine HR Employee Survey revealed that only 36% of employees were high performers at organizations with a standard 40-hour work week. Organizations that offer employees flexibility over when, where and how much they work, see 55% of their work force as high performers.


Kropp said, “In 2021, I expect to see a rise of new jobs where employees will be measured by their output, as opposed to an agreed-upon set of hours.” 


4.  Developing a Crisis HR Plan

If an unprecedented pandemic has taught us anything—it’s to be prepared for anything.


“Crisis adds to organizational complexity, straining design, culture and value proposition,” shared Gartner in their recent HR report. “Whether it’s a pandemic, a natural catastrophe, or something else that proposes an imminent threat to your business, you can plan for the unexpected by creating a crisis response plan. Because at the end of the day, if employees don’t feel safe or supported at work, then they aren’t able to bring their best selves to work.”


Although it may seem impossible to predict what’s around the corner, creating a crisis HR response plan and getting your team on board will help ease minds—ensuring you have a plan in place to turn to should the need arise.


5.  Workforce Planning

McKinsey & Company shows how HR can drive workforce planning by reviewing how disruptive trends affect employees, identifying future core capabilities, and assessing how supply and demand apply to future skills gaps.


Moving to a skills focus also requires innovative sourcing to meet specific work-activity needs (for example, the gig economy and automation), and changing which roles companies need to source with traditional full-time-equivalent positions and which can be done by temporary workers or contractors.


In their survey, McKinsey & Company shared that, “70 percent of global executives said that two years from now they expect to use more temporary workers and contractors than they did before the COVID-19 crisis.”


By shifting the supply and demand equation, organizations can build a talent marketplace that actively addresses both sides of the workforce planning equation.


Searching for a way to rebound and recover faster this year? Check out how these leading organizations are reaping new benefits by following some of the above HR trends.