The last year has by many accounts been the most disruptive year for HR teams and most teams are still adjusting to the disruptions of a volatile year — ensuring employee engagement, restarting hiring programs as business picks back up, and all of this with most teams working remotely.
But we also know the best people teams are those that choose to make the best out of a messy situation. 2021 presents a new horizons for how we think about building agile organizations that can adapt to an ever-changing world.
Looking ahead, three key trends will define the future of HR
1. The future of work arrives ahead of schedule
“There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen” – the quote by Lenin saw a revival during the pandemic as most people and companies experience a seismic shift in the way we work and live. But for HR organizations, the pandemic didn’t change the future – it accelerated it.
In the beginning of March 2020, about 30% of American knowledge workers were working from home. Two weeks later, this number was 60%, according to Forbes.
We believe that the future is neither remote or onsite, but rather a hybrid model that provides both employees and employers with the right flexibility when needed. This is supported by a recent study from McKinsey & Company:
“The McKinsey Global Institute estimates that more than 20 percent of the global workforce could work the majority of its time away from the office—and be just as effective”
2. Flexibility becomes the key to a competitive advantage
A key learning from COVID-19 is that everything can change in a matter of days and weeks. For years, we’ve talked about how the companies that can cope with change are best positioned in a world, where new trends are constantly arising. COVID-19 has accelerated this by 10x.
The takeaway for HR organizations in 2021 is that agility needs to be build into the core of their workforce model. With business starting to pick up again, now is the right moment to rethink workforce structure.
Most companies are seeing business coming back gradually, and a freelance workforce can help in mitigating the gaps in the short term as well as building a long term competitive advantage by creating an agile workforce.
Enable companies to scale up gradually
Ability to immediately react to changes in business
Access to specialist capabilities to accommodate changing needs
3. Access to talent and specialist skill will define tomorrow’s winners
Speaking of scaling back up, 2021 presents a bigger challenge to the companies that rely on Pre-COVID talent attraction strategies.
The old limitations of geographic locations are no longer there, which has opened up for the opportunity to access talent anywhere. For employees, they can change job more frequently without the friction of having to move to a new place every time.
This opens an opportunity for companies to recognize this new trend and focus more on hiring specialists for 2-3 months projects to accommodate the constant increase in skill levels and changing abilities needs as.
In a study from Harvard Business School, CEOs points to the increase in skills and skill shortage for evolving jobs as key challenges
CEOs ranks access to talent and specialist skill as the factors with the most impact on the future of work