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HR Trends For 2021

Top HR Trends For 2021 & Beyond

To say that the pandemic has altered the talent landscape would be an understatement. Day after day, HR is finding new challenges emerging from under the hood where previously everything was going smoothly.

For example, the dreadful ‘talent gap’ fear has once again reared its ugly head. Analysts predict that the pandemic will leave the talent ecosystem much worse off than previously thought.

Some even predict the IT skills gaps to consume the vast majority of HR teams’ headspace in the immediate period following widespread vaccination and return to the office.

However, return-to-office might just have to wait. Our online chatter analysis has revealed some interesting trends that HR teams need to pay close attention to before executing any return-to-office strategy for 2021.

Remote Is More Connected Than You Think

Had the pandemic struck us at any previous 20-year period in our recent history, remote working would have been touted as a failure.

Thanks to the ubiquity of always-available communication channels and most enterprises deploying their solutions on the cloud, we have managed to preempt this potential misrepresentation.

In a way, enterprises were forced into the much-feared remote work era with little preparations, but as it turns out, it isn’t nearly as bad as it was thought to be.

“98% of people surveyed said they would like the option to work remotely for the rest of their careers.”

-World Economic Forum

So, the demand for “remote work opportunities” will be the number one challenge for HR teams to look out for. For every company that insists on their employees work from the office, there are many more out there that are completely fine with a daily standup over Teams or Zoom.

Tools like Slack & Jira have elevated team collaboration to a whole new level and even empowered other non-IT teams with the same communication prowess.

The point is that in a talent deficient market, it makes sense to make room for remote working protocols.

Speaking of making room for remote…

Flexi Is Better Than Nothing

For service providers with strict contracts that ensure client data never leaves the premises, completely remote work can be a hassle. Which is why a few of them are shifting to a flexi-remote setting, where employees show face in the office for a set number of days in a week.

Critical, sensitive activities can be scheduled these days, while those requiring minimal oversight can be offloaded to the work-from-home days.

Analysts have seen encouraging offshoot benefits of the flexi/remote work model.

Chief among them being that inter-office hierarchies are being flattened and the evolution of the office space into a collaboration & innovation hub.

Another offshoot benefit observed is that managers are increasingly assessing employees based on their outputs alone rather than the time put in. This, in turn, has given employees a new sense of empowerment and has boosted productivity despite what the remote skeptics say, even if it means just working from home for one day a week.

So, HR teams better be prepared with the right flexi/hybrid work model. This model should be flexible enough to accommodate the needs of various teams while offering a certain degree of rigidity to ensure that office days are not missed.

Interest trends in the global remote work ecosystem are emerging in this domain and it would behoove HR leaders to stay current on them.

Welcome Giggers & Move Away From Rigid Talent Pipelines

For a talent management team, hiring doesn’t get any more flexible than looking for gig talent.

Gig workers are able to deliver on-demand talent for time-sensitive projects, often with impressive turnaround times. They are not just used by marketing agencies to create mockups, rather, even several AI/ML startups have recently gone the gig economy way to keep their initial costs down.

The results are clearly positive. A C-suite executive of Indian IT major Infosys was quoted as saying that the percentage of gig workers will go up to 35% in IT organizations.

So it makes sense for HR leaders and talent management teams to ensure that their workplace architecture allows for the seamless integration of gig talent.

We have covered how to achieve in this article on Meeting The Talent Demands Of The Gig Economy.

Virtual Onboarding Will Persist

In what is good news for employees and employers alike, it seems that the virtual onboarding process is here to stay.

While the current socially distanced environment surely gave it a boost, the numerous benefits seen has virtually guaranteed that the trend is here to stay.

However, onboarding new talent that you haven’t met yet can be an infrastructure-heavy process.

Here are two basic tasks that will simplify it to a certain degree:

  1. Create an onboarding template: This template will change from job role to job role; however, the mantra is to keep it as focused as possible to enable new hires to hit the ground running. For example, this template might include all the forms needed to fill and complete instructions to fill them.
  2. Ensure compliance needs are met: Doing everything virtually opens both parties to a certain amount of risk. This is why it is crucial to establish a legal compliance framework that embodies best practices and do’s and don’t’s.

Reskilling/Upskilling Is Taking Off

The talent gap for existing jobs aside, companies are staring at a critical talent gap when it comes to building the workforce for 2030.

On average, new-age job roles that leverage talent in AI, ML, Cloud, Data Science, IoT, and other allied fields are looking at a talent gap of ~20% to 33%, depending on which study you go by.

The solution?

Reskilling & Upskilling taken up a frenetic pace can stave off and even help overcome the talent gap.

The pandemic has revealed this to many organizations with re/upskilling becoming the de-facto strategy to scout for new talent rather than making a new hire.

On the flip side, many enterprises that have hit the ground running with reskilling are yet to reap the benefits. This can be attributed to their haphazard & unstructured reskilling strategies.

To solve this problem and provide HR teams with a structure framework for re/upskilling, Draup has developed an AI-powered reskilling framework.

Connected with over 4000 data sources, the AI platform uses proprietary models to detect job roles at disruptions and identify adjacent skills they can learn to stave off job role redundancy.

With the Reskill Simulator tool, HR teams can visualize the end-to-end reskill process for over 4500 job roles from a single dashboard.