2021 HR Trends to Shape the Future

It emerges every day that the most important and determinant element of working life is human. Accordingly, human beings constitute the essential development point of human management science. Every year, many types of research try to predict changes and new global trends in Human Resources. Developments that we anticipated in a longer period of time have become the reality of our lives in just a few months due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. The future came faster than ever before, and it didn’t even give us time to adapt. As many concepts in our lives have changed dramatically, emerging facts have rapidly reshaped our perspective for work. We wanted to identify and examine the main themes that marked this period and will shape the future of work in 2021.

New Office

In pre-COVID, the previous world, offices were places we spent more time than our homes, and our colleagues were the people we were with more than our family. Working areas were the most critical places that shaped our physical and psychological development. 

Most of the time, we complained about coming to the workplaces every single day and the meaninglessness of spending time there. Usually, we were dreaming of working remotely one day, planning our day according to ourselves, be more flexible and free. 

Many global companies experimented with different working models and initiated the change in the industry with research results. In early 2020, Microsoft announced that its offices in some Asian countries had switched to a 3-day-a-week model and achieved much more efficient results. Many companies were also winking at the flexible working model by declaring Fridays as a holiday or a remote working day from home. However, all these developments showed that it would take years for this fact to enter our lives.

The pandemic suddenly started this transformation, which would take years, and shortened to within months or even days. While the adaptation of organizational processes took place rapidly, the psychological dimension is still to be resolved. According to Sorwe, a hybrid working model will shape our future with a new process design. While technologies that allow online meetings and team collaboration enable us to work remotely and manage business processes, they still cannot meet our humanitarian needs. Socialization, human contact, receiving feedback, transferring emotions, and physical experience is still our most essential needs and development areas as human beings. For this reason, in the new era, offices will turn into spaces that will meet the demand for socialization rather than a work area. Since our emotional needs, the most important factor affecting our physical performance, will not change quickly, it would be best to design our new working models accordingly.

Digital Employee Experience

Following the Industrial Revolution and the Information Revolution, we entered a new era that we can call the Digital Revolution. It was inevitable that digital opportunities that shape all our habits in our lives will take an active place in our work life. Considering that we are in a transition period, we are going through a cultural change with the development of digital technologies. Our attitude, perceptions and patience towards events have changed and continue to change significantly. Like every organism, companies are evolving to adapt to this process, experiencing a cultural change. Our offices do not have the same meaning anymore, as our customers have changed, the way we do business, our goals and even our goals in life have changed. The activities that we call employee experience in the physical environments, which aim to create loyalty, participation, desire, and motivation, have stopped working. We have to develop new approaches to suit this new digital era.

First, repetitive operational tasks were transferred to digital, and this was the herald of a new era for all of us. Then, as our social life shifted to digital, we entered a more personalized period, and our expectations started to change in this direction. In this era, where personal touch to the employee has a significant impact, the focus is now on digital solutions that can appeal to the individual. Now it has become essential to create experiences that will facilitate the life of the person and meet their psychological needs and ease the operational burden. The most critical change that we have witnessed with digitalisation was that our business and private lives became independent from the context of time and space. Therefore, by looking at the experience design framework, it is imperative to evaluate the employee’s every moment with an end-to-end holistic perspective. It is necessary to design an experience process, starting from an employee’s recruitment process until he/she leaves the job and even afterward. In the recruitment phase, all operations such as evaluation, orientation, training, development and measurement now produce much more meaningful data thanks to the developing artificial intelligence and machine learning infrastructures. With this data-based approach, we can design more accurate and useful experience processes. The future is now in personalised employee experience applications, independent from time and space. Adapting to this process as soon as possible for ourselves and our institutions to complete our digital evolution remains critical. 

Personalised Communication

In this period, many people have realized how important it is to be individual and how they are different from others. As this awareness changes our perceptions and expectations, we value personal and unique approaches from the services and products we use in our relationships and even in our business life. 

When communicating with our employees, we must openly state how much they are at the centre of the work, what impact their participation and contributions have on business results and the workplace. In short, how important they are for us as individuals. So individually, we should be able to touch our employees directly.We must correctly identify the days, events, objects and concepts that people value personally and convey our messages through them. 

In the digital age, data comes to our aid in all these problems. It is possible to construct a personalized communication process by analysing data correctly and designing data-based flows. Birthdays and business anniversaries celebrated with an automatic and personalised message, periodically asking the employee how he/she feels and presenting personalised announcements and suggestions according to the result, making appropriate requests in the light of the behavioural data of the person and creating unique training plans for the employee’s development areas would be some examples. By combining many creative approaches with personal career and technology, you can touch employees’ lives uniquely. In the new era, personalised communication will be the most critical concept in companies to create a space-independent team and develop a sense of belonging.

Intelligent and Personalised Education

It has been a long-standing thought in business life that competencies can be developed through extensive training. However, the calculation of the efficiency and return of investment of the training provided is still controversial. Many training plans and activities created with good intentions turned out to be not as productive as thought and weakened many companies’ beliefs. When we examine the subject in a data-oriented manner lately, it is important to deep dive in learning dynamics of employees and how they internalised and transfer it to business results. In line with these results, personalised and smart education will be among the sine qua non of the new era. With the changing conditions and the digitalisation wave that develops in 2021, assigning the training with the right content to the employees at the right time, independent of place and time, in accordance with the competence and needs of the person is important. Developing the learning experience with the analysed data will bring significant gains in employee performance and business results. We believe that companies that design more people-oriented processes will be one step ahead in the competition.

Human Resources are Stronger Now with Data and Analytics

 A company’s success is directly related to how well-equipped the talent pool you have and what atmosphere it provides to those talents. In the face of such a reality, it is expected that the Human Resources departments of the companies will be the most strategic department and the HR managers are the most critical managers. They directly determine the strategy of the company. Unfortunately, Human Resources around the world have not been able to see the importance and value they deserve. When we examine the reason for this, the most important reason is that while all departments and business lines have numerical data, Human Resources departments do not have sufficient data to support their strategies. Analysis and evaluations of Human Resources have been more like wishes and wishes than having an analytical structure. While the Big Data concept has been used in the marketing, production and finance sectors for years, it has not been adopted in Human Resources applications until the People Analytics concept emerged recently.

People Analytics will completely change the way Human Resources think and work. People Analytics is the magic word that will bring Human Resources managers the strategic value they deserve. With this concept, which we will frequently hear, especially in 2021 and beyond, we will be talking about a much stronger Human Resources that can make data-based decisions and have strategic importance in companies’ success by managing more human-oriented applications.

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