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What are the top HR priorities for 2021?

Updated: Mar 2, 2021

This entry is brought to you by Grove HR.

As much as we'd love to forget 2020, it was a defining year for companies. It led to a shift in workplace trends, and HR was at the heart of their organizations' strategy to adapt to these changes. Their key priorities became employee experience and workplace safety.

But those priorities are no longer enough to help HR meet the needs of the future we're heading to. They have to do more to help their companies succeed for years to come.

In this article, we discuss what HR's top priorities should be for 2021. These priorities are based on research and experts' predictions.

  1. Rethink employee benefits

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped how we think of employee benefits. For starters, more than 50% of employees now believe their benefits package is more critical than ever.

But there is more. Employees want benefits that mitigate the challenges they faced last year. According to research conducted by YouGov and Grove HR, the top 3 benefits employees want are; 13-month salary (51.3%), health insurance (49.7%), and flexible working time (45.4%).

HR must introduce these types of benefits that prioritize employee wellbeing and help them retain talents. Other similar benefits HR may consider are KPI bonuses, extra leave days, and gifts on special days.

2. Continued workplace digital transformation

When COVID-19 struck, digital transformation became a must for companies looking to survive the uncertainties that came with it. According to our COVID-19 research, the more digitized a company is, the less it is affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

But despite the enormous progress made last year, experts expect this transformation to continue this year on a larger scale.

Aside from collaborative tools, there is an emerging focus on HR technology because it helps companies navigate the pandemic. With it, companies were able to recruit efficiently, manage their employee data, empower them (self-service), and much more - all remotely and in one place.

Therefore, prioritizing the implementation of a free-for-SMBs technology tool like

Grove HR this year will benefit HR in so many ways. Not only will they be able to enjoy the benefits HR technology offers in navigating the pandemic, but they will also find it easy to adapt to the unpredictable future of work we are facing.

3. Retrain employee to adapt to new demands

When experts predicted that automation would replace humans on most jobs, they underestimated the need for human expertise.

However, because of the disruption caused by the pandemic, there is a widened skills gap. Business demands have shifted, and new skills are required to do the new jobs that are created.

HR now has to assume center stage in retraining the employees by coming up with a reorientation strategy. The reorientation strategy should be technologically inclined and remotely supported to provide the employees with the necessary skills to increase productivity. Companies should conduct this retraining on both old and new employees.

4. Focus on employee mental health

Companies had to implement a WFH policy due to the pandemic, but employees have begun experiencing burnout. According to research by SHRM, 72% of employees suffer from burnout during the pandemic - a 30% increase from pre-pandemic time. This has led to reduced productivity.

To solve this problem, HR needs to prioritize employee mental health this year. According to health experts, the following steps can help improve mental health among employees:

  • Implement an employee assistance program

One of the best ways to save employees from burnout is by implementing an EAP policy. With this policy, HR can help employees balance personal lives with work and support them during tough times.

  • Take a mental health day off

Employees working from home try to overcompensate by working too hard, which leads to burnout in the first place. One of the ways to solve this is by taking a mental health day off.

  • Make work schedule more flexible

Finally, HR may encourage employees to have a hybrid of work-in-person and work-at-home schedules. This will reduce the feeling of isolation and may help reduce stress and burnout.

5. Recruit differently

We are in a new era of recruiting, which means hiring in 2021 looks different.

For starters, due to the job loss caused by the pandemic, candidates now want job security over anything else. If you’re going to stand out in the job market, you need to let talents know they are not losing their jobs soon.

Other factors that can motivate candidates to consider your job offer are benefits, flexible time, office location, and employer brands.

HR also needs to prioritize adopting a digitally hiring process. Only a few candidates will be willing to sit for face-to-face interviews. Many would instead do it over video.

Lastly, onboarding physically has become less effective. HR departments looking to fasten the onboarding process should consider doing it digitally. That way, automation, and self-onboarding can significantly increase efficiency and reduce onboarding time.

Final thoughts

HR has come far from what it was when the pandemic struck. But we are likely to face even more changes this year. To ensure that their companies remain successful moving forward, HR key priorities this year should include:

  • Rethink employee benefits

  • Continued workplace digital transformation

  • Retrain employee to adapt to new demands

  • Focus on employee mental health

  • Recruiting different

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