Finding Your New Normal for HR in 2021

With an ever-changing global landscape, it can be even more challenging to figure out exactly what to expect from the HR world. However, while much about 2021 remains to be seen, there are a few things we can confidently say will be huge factors for hiring and retaining employees as the year progresses.

Remote Work is Here to Stay

Since COVID-19 forced more workers than ever to complete tasks remotely, employers are finding remote work to be more effective than they’d once believed. Still, many employers continue to experience a steep learning curve. For some it can be hard to believe that employees are actually getting things done if their workday goes largely unmonitored. However, at this point in quarantine 2021, it has become clear that the majority of remote employees are more capable than employers (and even other workers) have given them credit for in the past.

If you’re still finding yourself resistant to utilizing remote work, take a moment to reflect on your reasons. While you may find that it just doesn’t work for you, some reconsideration may be in order when you learn that over 70% of employees expressed a desire to continue working from home.

Employee Engagement is More Important than Ever

From virtual happy hours to scheduled coffee breaks, workers are getting creative to stay connected throughout the pandemic. But, while regular communication and post-work activities go a long way toward strengthening relationships and boosting employee satisfaction (both important factors in preventing turnover), they are more of a Band-Aid than a solution to employee engagement. Add COVID-19 to the already present employee engagement problem affecting up to 66% of Americans, and you can see why your engagement efforts matter.

Though certain programs, celebrations, and other regular activities have been dropped “temporarily” in the abrupt shift to remote work, the longer you wait to reinstate them, the larger the hole they leave in your employee’s lives.

Employees Grow When Employers Lead the Way

Of course, rushing to return to in-person activities may not be the answer. As a result, 2021 is the year to get as creative as your workforce. While it isn’t easy to hold holiday parties or volunteer events over Zoom, or organize employee training remotely, the challenges are not insurmountable. You’re most likely much more comfortable operating new technologies and finding HR workarounds today than a year ago, and your technological competence and creativity will continue to grow.

In periods of uncertainty like the one we’re currently experiencing, it can be tough to predict outcomes or anticipate when things will return to normal. Until then, get comfortable being uncomfortable while you wait to restore old systems. Maintaining your company culture, despite the extra work it may require in 2021, is key to fostering a sense of normalcy with your workforce. Re-engage your employees with the company and help them remember some of the reasons they loved their job in the first place.