Top 5 Aspirations for HR Leaders in 2021

Jan 19, 2021 | Human Resource

The challenges of 2020 seem to be slowly coming to an end. The expected ‘new normal’ is here and it is survival of the fittest (read: most adaptive) again. Enter the human resource department. When all of us thought that the world is coming to an end, they had taken charge of ensuring their organizations remain operational, and it’s again going to be the HR leaders and CHROs who will need to take control post the pandemic.  

In 2021, HR people will have five top priorities across business sectors, and these will be – 1) Building critical competencies & skills 2) Change Management & Organizational Design 3) Developing Current & Future Leaders 4) Planning & Predicting the Future of Work 5) Managing Employee Experience.

In a recent Gartner survey about the future of HR in 2021, 800 HR people from across industries and geographies participated, with 36% of the respondents being CHROs & Heads of HR Team. The objective was to figure out the HR goals of the year and they have also divided the importance of these HR goals by percentage. In the order mentioned above starting from Goal No. 1, here are the percentages – 68%, 46%, 44%, 32%, and 28%.

Let’s discuss these HR goals for 2021 in the same order mentioned above.

1) Building Critical Competencies & Skills

In the said Gartner survey, 68% of the respondents approve of this goal as their number one priority in 2021. The global HR community this year, is going to brainstorm ideas and strategies that will help their workforce become more skilled at what they do.  Identifying skill gaps, and then developing personalized L&D programs will be key to achieve the said objective.  

2) Change Management & Organizational Design

46% surveyees from the HR community voted for this very factor as the second priority in 2021. It would include forward-planning to dealing with contingencies such as a virus-spread or a recession, building strategies to gain competitive advantage, and managing diversity in terms of nationality, gender, talent, behavior, etc.

Under this will also come modifications in process design. Here the goal is to make business process more flexible as per the employees’ needs, so as to extract the best productivity out of the human resource.

3) Developing Current & Future Leaders

44% found ‘cultivating current & future leadership’ the third-most important objective to be accomplished this year. Organizations in the recent past have struggled badly with developing effective mid-level leaders. Most HR leaders blame the lack of diversity to be the reason for this. The potential solution will be creation of a growth-obsessed diversity network to back & promote under-represented & hidden talent that can be developed as future leaders.

4) Planning & Predicting the Future of Work

We all saw and witnessed the sudden & unprecedented change COVID brought to the functioning of the corporate world in 2020. Almost all of the business operations went digital in the wake of the fatal virus-spread. WFH (work-from-home) and remote working immediately came into effect out of nowhere. Now, when the impact of COVID is diminishing gradually, the challenge for HR folks is to effective plan and adjust for a post-COVID world, and digital markets.

The challenges for HR leaders are just too many. A few being – planning for short & long-term adjustments in a post-COVID business landscape, managing the large remote workforce, and determining what future of work trends comply with their business needs.

5) Managing Employee Experience

In the Gartner survey, 46% of surveyees classified under the category of head of diversity & inclusion, 31% of Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs), & 28% of respondents who were HR leaders, pinpointed to this very pressing need. The workforce of majority of organizations, post COVID, is operating remotely, which means the primary HR functions such as recruiting, L&D, and onboarding, all are getting realized virtually. This poses a significant threat to upkeeping of positive employee experience.

If you are an HR leader and found this article with consolidated information helpful, all we would like to say is – you can thank us later.

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