HR Trends for 2021: The New Normal


January 6, 2021

Written by María Eugenia Raffaele

Considering the current upheavals in the world of work, how is HR supposed to prepare for this 2021? These are the main 3 emerging trends in HR  you should get familiarized with.

2021 is already here and HR has a difficult task ahead: Plan in times of breathtaking change. The Covid-19 pandemic has turned the world of work upside down, and it is crucial for HR leaders to rethink their workforce management approach for next year by focusing on the digital transformation trends that seem to have reshaped the future of work for good.

HR Trend 1: Hybrid working models

Without a question, one of the HR developments that will remain with us this 2021 is home office. Throughout 2020, many surveys have been carried out around the world to get further insight into people’s experiences working remotely, and reports show that while a great number of employees picture themselves working from home this year, there are also those who look forward to going back to office.

HR Trends 2021

Now, here’s the challenge for HR:  Can we conceive the idea of a fully engaged and efficiently communicated workforce in a hybrid working model? The answer is yes, as long as HR redesigns the employee journey considering the implementation of groundbreaking platforms that would give people the feeling they are working closely together no matter the distance.

To start with, in a hybrid working model, organizations will have to make sure communication flows smoothly so that everyone keeps in tune with current affairs.  Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Twist, for instance, can be effective modern tools that help you create a shared workspace where information is transmitted in a proactive and assertive way.

What’s more, this 2021 will demand the need to build a solid organizational culture which effectively communicates the company’s values, allows employees to strengthen bonds and shortens distances. For example,  StarMeUp is a platform that helps organizations build a culture where commitment and connectivity increase everybody´s productivity wherever their workplace is.

HR Trend 2: New Distance Leadership

A new concept of distance leadership is emerging and, without a doubt, this year it will be necessary for HR managers to build its foundations on the pillars of organizational values, transparency, and trust.

According to a report published in June 2020, many remote workers experienced great uncertainty throughout the year due to the lack of feedback from their managers and the feeling that their work wasn’t visible enough. Also, they felt at times they struggled to understand what the organization expected from them and, especially new employees, found it difficult to get familiarized with the culture of the company working remotely.

HR Trends 2021

Bearing this in mind, how can HR leaders make distance leadership truly work this 2021? Considering a possible hybrid working model, it will be vital for HR departments to implement the use of platforms that would allow them to keep updated with each employee’s performance and also give office-based and remote workers efficient feedback that would allow them see the impact they generate.

While there are many working monitoring software options, such as Teramind, InterGuard, and ActivTrak,  during the current year HR managers should go one step further and, other than merely keeping track of their employee’s productivity, they should look for ways to optimize their performance by offering them a detailed evaluation of their strengths, opportunities, goals and values, which would make them feel their work is visible and  appreciated. For example, BetterMe is a platform that would allow distance leadership to become more human and effective as workers’ level of commitment and productivity grow when they feel appreciated other than controlled or exposed.

HR Trend 3: Employee wellbeing

This 2021, employees’ wellbeing will continue to be an important issue HR professionals will have to keep an eye on, as remote work can cause severe emotional and physical stress.

The line that used to divide our work and personal life vanished abruptly during 2020 and, let’s face it: we have a new lifestyle in which parenting, household chores and work coexist throughout the day in the same time and space. All our roles have changed and we’ve become more multitasking than ever. Without a doubt, this can lead to employee’ burnout, which affects their wellbeing and productivity at work.  

Burnout is a serious problem remote workers face nowadays, which can lead to serious health conditions, such as irritability, sleeplessness and even depression. According to Gallup, the main causes of mental burnout are: 

  • Unfair treatment at work,
  • lack of role clarity,
  • lack of communication and support from the manager. 

Furthermore,  75% of the workforce have manifested they felt burned out at work, and 40% felt so during the pandemic in particular.

HR Trends 2021

Bearing these statistics in mind, how can  HR leaders help employees preserve their mental and emotional health during 2021?  Since distance leadership will remain important next year, HR´s plan should be meticulous when it comes to approaching each individual working in your organization, and make sure managers are updated with the way their employees feel and make sure each of them is fulfilled at work and isn´t overloaded with tasks.  

The truth is emotional intelligence and empathy are becoming increasingly important nowadays and HR will need to consider rethinking their organizational structure based on the implementation of platforms that would intertwine soft skills and soft objectives. Evidence shows that people are affected by remote work in different ways, thus, keeping fluent communication with your employees, providing them with emotional support and positive feedback will make your organization become more empathic, intelligent and adaptable to every individual’s needs.

So, has this article helped you plan a modern work structure adapted to the HR trends for this challenging 2021? Our experts will be pleased to offer you further insight on the way you can create an amazing place where people love to work because they feel immersed in an employee-focused organizational culture that allows them to become autonomous, empowered and engaged.


Employee Wellbeing, Future of Work Trends, HR, Hybrid Work, Leadership


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