Five HR Trends for 2021

Updated: May 7

“Crises are often resolved only through a new identity and new purpose, whether it’s that of a nation or a single human being.” - Rebecca Solnit

2020 has been a challenging year for all of us. The pandemic has had and still has a significant impact on our work and private life. It has changed the way we are working together drastically. Yet it also is a unique opportunity to rethink current structures and shape the future of work.

Many businesses transitioned to a hybrid or remote business model. Leaders and HR teams were confronted with many questions:

How do we make sure employees are feeling supported in these uncertain times?

How do we build a remote company culture?

How can we help employees who are juggling work while homeschooling children?

The 5 Key HR Trends for 2021

New Definition of Employee Experience

We often talk about employee experience, but 2020 showed us how important it is. When the pandemic hit out of the sudden people were working from home, at the kitchen table, on the sofa, bed wherever they could find space. New starters had a different onboarding experience and didn’t get the opportunity to meet their team in person. Team events, meetings, coachings, feedback discussions - most of them happened virtually. Therefore we needed to create a new employee experience and adjust our programs, initiatives and strategies to the new ways of working. The key question for 2021 is how do we build an inclusive and positive company culture, while many of us are working from home?

Remote Working

Remote working can lead to a significant productivity boost, foster a better work-life balance and enable people to be happier and more motivated. But transitioning to a remote or hybrid business model is challenging. Setting boundaries and finding a good work rhythm is harder when we live and work at the same place. Feeling overwhelmed and stressed is a common symptom of juggling work and private life. So what can we do? We can develop and implement strategies, tools and programs to support our employees and make sure they have everything they need.

Diversity & Inclusion

The benefits of nurturing a diverse and inclusive culture can be huge, ranging from higher retention rates to more productive and happier employees.

The transition to remote and hybrid business models is a great opportunity for organisations to rethink their current diversity and inclusion strategies and adjust their programs to the new working models.

One of the key challenges in 2021 will be how to maintain and establish an inclusive company culture while people are working remotely. How do we make sure people are feeling connected to the company and the team?

Employee Wellbeing and Mental Health

The pandemic has had a huge impact on the wellbeing and mental health of people. Therefore it is more important than ever to focus on employee wellbeing and make sure that organisations are providing resources to support people in these challenging times using a holistic approach. Understanding the unique challenges of each employee and offering tailored solutions.

One of the critical elements is regular check-ins with team members. As many of us are working remotely, it is crucial to think about different ways to check in with your people, build trust and make sure your team members are feeling a sense of belonging. For example, a text message or a quick phone call instead of an email or slack message can make a big difference.


COVID-19 has shown us that anti-fragility and resilience are vital. Antifragility is beyond robustness or resilience. Resilient businesses are dealing with challenges and unpredictable circumstances while antifragile businesses are adapting to change, inventing new products and services and are getting better. This applies to HR teams too. We need to think outside the box, accept the challenge, see the pandemic as an opportunity and help organisations to build the future of work.

While we don’t know what 2021 will bring, we can be antifragile, stay open-minded and see the opportunities ahead. We all have been challenged in a way most of us have never experienced before, but out of each crisis we learn, grow, and together we innovate and build the future of work.

If you need support developing and implementing HR strategies in 2021, HR for Life is keen to help. Book your free consultation today via phone 0491085510 or email

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