The Top 5 Challenges Facing Human Resources (HR) in 2021…and Beyond

The Top 5 Challenges Facing Human Resources (HR) in 2021…and Beyond

Human Resources (HR) professionals have had to pivot and take on new challenges in 2021 they may have never dealt with before. Here are the top 5 HR challenges of 2021 and probably well beyond.

2021 has been a challenge for most businesses and HR departments in some way or another. The COVID-19 pandemic, restrictions, and economic uncertainty have changed the way many HR departments interact with and support both employees and their organizations. Here are the top 5 HR challenges of 2021 and possibly beyond.

Transitioning to a Remote Workforce

According to Kate Lister, President of Global Workforce Analytics, 25-30% of the workforce will be working remotely from home by the end of 2021. This is a significant shift and a challenge for many HR departments trying to adjust quickly and efficiently. With uncertainty around COVID-19 and the risks associated with the virus, many organizations are choosing to have their employees work from home. When implemented effectively, remote work can provide organizations with many benefits including increased productivity, performance, engagement, retention, and profitability.

In fact, according to a Forbes article about the benefits of remote work, even part-time telecommuters can increase profitability by 21%.  

Even with the associated benefits, transitioning from an in-person to a remote workforce can create several challenges for HR departments. A few of the most common challenges for HR departments with a remote workforce include employee engagement, telecommunication, maintaining team dynamics, adapting policies, and maintaining morale.

HR departments can adapt to a remote workforce by developing remote guidelines that include eligibility, expectations, technical requirements, training, communication, and an in-depth process for transitioning from in-person to work-from-home. HR departments should also invest time and create resources to help employees maintain mental and physical health from home.

Here are a few additional tips for HR leaders from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) on managing flexible work arrangements including remote work.

Fulfilling Diversity and Inclusion Responsibilities

There are clear and undeniable benefits for organizations focused on diversity and inclusion in 2021. According to a McKinsey research study, racially diverse companies outperform industry norms by 35%. A cognitive intelligence study, done by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers, found that successful teams have three things in common: they give equal time to talk, they are sensitive towards each other, and they included more women.

Focusing on diversity and inclusion is a challenge for HR departments in 2021, with 41% of companies claiming they are too busy to implement effective strategies.. Regardless, diversity and inclusion should be a top priority in 2021. HR departments can start by creating a diversity and inclusion plan with set goals, gaining organizational buy-in, providing training to managers and senior leadership, and creating behavioral standards.  

Check out these 5 reasons why diversity and inclusion are important

Employee Engagement

With many organizations transitioning to a temporary or permanent remote workforce, employee engagement continues to grow in importance and is a top challenge for HR departments, worldwide. According to a report published by FastTrack360, 71% of executives say that employee engagement is critical to their company’s success. Regardless of whether a company’s workforce is in the office or remote, engagement is key to success.

It is up to HR departments to provide managers and leaders with tools to empower employees. A few of the top employee engagement challenges HR departments are facing in 2021 include measuring employee feedback and translating it into actionable insights, building employee trust in leadership, providing employees with rewards and recognition, creating a training and coaching strategy, and combating burnout.

 SHRM offers some great tips for increasing employee engagement without spending a dime.

Providing Wellbeing and Mental Health Support

2020 and 2021 have been unusually difficult for a lot of people, increasing the need for HR leaders to focus on mental health and wellbeing. In fact, a new research study, conducted by SHRM, found that between 22-35% of employees are experiencing symptoms of depression amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Depression can lead to reduced morale, lower productivity, and burnout.

HR departments can help employees and establish wellbeing programs that prioritize mental health, provide valuable wellness resources, offer one-on-one support, and incorporate health into the organization’s overall benefits program.

Here are a few tips on how to design and implement a corporate wellness program.

Sourcing New Talent

The COVID-19 pandemic and economic uncertainty have caused many HR departments to struggle with finding and recruiting qualified talent. Some of the biggest challenges around recruitment in 2021 include in-person restrictions, hiring freezes, low application rates, cost-cutting, lack of remote hiring processes, and difficulties filling job vacancies.

The challenges organizations are facing when it comes to recruitment reinforce the need to retain talent. When a highly-skilled employee leaves an organization, it can cost up to 213% of their annual salary to replace them

Taskly is Helping Organizations Tackle HR Challenges in 2021

Taskly, a leading HR expertise provider, is helping organizations tackle HR challenges in 2021. Taskly helps by providing organizations with access to HR experts, who can complete a variety of tasks including assisting with recruitment and retention, employee engagement, diversity and inclusion, and the transition to a remote workforce.

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