5 HR Trends to Expect in 2021

Kiljon Shukullari

December 22 2020

2020 has been an incredibly difficult year and everyone's glad to see the end of it. In just 10 months since the first lockdown in March, the way we live and work has changed entirely.

Social distancing and putting on a face mask when stepping out have now become second nature. When outdoors, you're more likely to instinctively reach out for hand sanitizer than for a handshake. Virtual hangouts are now routine. Months of following these safety measures have turned them into habits.

In the workplace too, HR management has changed to meet new challenges. Perhaps, you've had to draft new contracts with a lay-off clause. Or create new policies on remote work, handling work refusals or on the use of face masks.

The year end is a good time for reflection. You can prepare better for 2021 by understanding how 2020 has affected your business.

With vaccine doses being rolled out in Canada, 2021 offers the hope of return to normalcy.

Here are five HR trends we expect to see in the new year:

Remote work stays in the post-pandemic workplace

According to the findings of the 11th Annual Hays Salary Guide, 40% of employers in Canada plan to include remote work into their normal practices. The report says employees this year found that the option to work from home is one of their “most desired benefits”.

By offering a remote work policy, businesses would also be able to broaden their talent pool and hire qualified candidates from across Canada.

Working remotely has also helped businesses save on overhead costs such as supplies and equipment this year. Many companies may consider a permanent switch to remote work to save on rent costs.

Virtual interviewing becomes commonplace

Conducting job interviews using video conferencing software, such as Microsoft Teams or Zoom, is another practice that emerged during the lockdowns of 2020.

Given that organizations would be hiring remote staff spread across the country, if not the world, video recruiting, too, shall become a common occurrence. Though remote interviewing brings its own challenges (distractions at home; technical glitches), it also saves a company time and money. If video interviewing is new for you, we’d recommend you read our blog: COVID-19 & Recruiting: How to Conduct Video Interviews.

According to Statistics Canada’s latest Labour Force Survey, unemployment rate fell 0.4 percentage points to 8.5% in November 2020. The steady fall from the record high 13.7% in May continues. Once the vaccine becomes widely available, recruiting is expected to pick up. If not the entire hiring process, at least the initial rounds could be carried out virtually.

Increased focus on mental health and employee wellness programs

The past year has shown the need for mental health support in the workplace. In addition to our physical and financial health, the pandemic has also adversely impacted our mental health.

The Hays Survey found that despite the dismal state of the job market, 49% of employees are thinking of quitting their current jobs.

In fact, 54% of employers admitted they had done nothing to support employee wellness or mental health during the pandemic.

Once the job market improves, such employees may be looking to switch jobs. It is important that employers invest in their people’s well being to avoid costly employee turnovers.

In the new year, employers will focus on providing wellness programs and activities to keep employees engaged. Mental health initiatives and awareness campaigns will also become popular.

Internal hiring and upskilling

The pandemic has pushed us closer to a digital future. Besides the use of digital tools to communicate and collaborate, employers are also taking their small businesses online to expand their reach and boost sales.

Upskilling or teaching your staff new skills and technical know-how that’ll help in their work will become important in 2021.   

Upskilling not only keeps your business competitive, but it also improves employee engagement and job satisfaction. Workers are more likely to stay with a company that offers them growth opportunities. It will also save you costs as you can train an existing employee to take on bigger responsibilities and roles within the company.

Use of cloud-based HR management software

With remote work becoming a component of the workplace in 2021, use of online HR software will also increase. An online HR software makes daily staff management quick and simple. Peninsula clients already enjoy the many benefits offered by our award-winning HR management software — BrightHR

BrightHR helps you manage the many demands of remote work with ease.

  • You can create and share work schedules within seconds
  • Remote staff attendance is easy to track with the Blip app
  • You enjoy unlimited and secure cloud-based storage. You can access and share HR documents remotely
  • You can share updated policies and handbooks that your employees can view and download while working from home.

Need help preparing your workplace for 2021?

At Peninsula, our goal is to help small businesses thrive. In 2020, our HR and health and safety experts guided over 75,000 small business clients across the world through the workplace challenges created by the pandemic. Let us help you make your business a success in 2021.

Feel free to give us a call at 1 (833)-247-3652 to find out more.

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