Top 5 HR Trends - Leaning into the Data
for a Strategic 2021

We can't talk about life these days without talking about the pandemic. Face coverings, Empty bars, tables outside in the parking lot, barren streets, empty freeways at 8 am and 5 pm, and offices stark and quiet have come to be expected. Last year upended the priorities of almost every HR leader as they navigated the rules of the pandemic.

But, they overcame the obstacles and transitioned to a new way of doing things. The 2020 pandemic set a new standard for how we get the job done. It brought about changes that sparked technological innovation as social distancing became the norm.

The lessons we learned from those challenges are starting points for 2021. How we develop a standard of work that is both inclusive and compassionate will determine how much an organization thrives.

What new trends await in 2021? Actions that go from employee to human, guidelines that trade process for mission, and ideas that go beyond functional to impactful. The past predicts the future. Some of these trends may sound familiar. However, the trends of the past are evolving into something more comprehensive and far-reaching for the future.

A Bold New Path from Lessons Learned- Here's What's Coming

1. Transformation of the Workplace

"We have seen two years' worth of digital transformation in two months." - Satya Nadella (Microsoft CEO)

Yes, the pandemic has fast-forwarded the workplace by five or seven years, and the change is here to stay. Figuring out how to make hybrid working productive and honoring employee preferences will be a challenge.

Questions such as: What work is best performed remotely? When do we need to be together to accomplish desired outcomes? How can the workplace be more cooperative, will need to be answered.

Employee benefits will need to be revamped as workers struggle with financial and mental wellness. The need for financial counseling has grown and many employers have expanded the budget for new financial wellness programs.


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2. Well-being Becomes the Star of the Show

An amazing thing happened inside organizations during the crisis. Priorities shifted to employee health and well-being.

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This is the start of something good, and 2021 will see this trend continue. Employee well-being and mental health will emerge from being an afterthought  and become commonplace in the workplace.

Employers are now understanding the importance of stress relief and mental health and will work to destigmatize mental health by expanding benefits and offering mental health days.

3. Enhancement of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

There was a nationwide call for real systemic change in 2020 with the death of George Floyd. Creating a diverse and equitable workforce is expected in 2021 as more employees demand it.

Seventy-four percent of employees are expecting their employers to become more culturally active. CEO's will respond by making significant budget investments that support these issues.

Additionally, a third of business leaders are making a concentrated effort to nurture traits such as empathy and humility into the culture of the workplace.

4. It's a Matter of Ethics. How Much Tracking is Too Much

With hybrid and remote working becoming the new best thing, organizations are struggling with how to track and monitor employee productivity and movement.

Some technologies have taken advantage of the remote working experience by developing tools that can monitor employees (without their knowledge in some cases) and are trying to cash in.

These tools help upset the balance of employee-employer trust and thus create a need for an Ethics Charter to mitigate risk.

5. International Hiring Possibilities

It is becoming clear that more professions can do their work from home or some other remote location. The gig economy will continue to thrive. As a result, employers will realize the fastest way to reach their desired goals is by hiring a mix of contractors, freelancer and full-time employees.

New employees will go through a simplified onboarding process because they will be hired for their specific skill set.

The freelance/remote talent pool is more extensive, and the more employees that can work from home, the larger the talent pool becomes. This creates excellent opportunities for employers, freelancers and recruiters.

"The challenges of 2020 and the resilience of employees and leaders have demonstrated that together organizations can overcome seemingly impenetrable obstacles."  #Riseabove

It also created a new and improved way to work that has become a human first experience. Leaders should assess what the workplace experience means to them and their employees. It is up to leaders to plan and prepare for what the new workplace will look like and how it will function as the national workforce begins again.


Bigham, B. (n.d.). Top HR Trends To Help Shape Your 2021 Strategy. Retrieved from Human Resources Today:

Colletta, J. (2020, December 3). 7 workplace realities HR needs to focus on in 2021 . Retrieved from Human Resource Executive:

Green, D. (2020, December 15). The Future of Work has Arrived/ 12 Predictions for HR in 2021. Retrieved from LinkedIn:

Hawk, T. (2020, 23 23). 11 HR Trends to take into account for 2021. Retrieved from HR Trend:


Now more than ever, your employees need emotional support and resources. The pandemic has created a whole new set of physical, financial and emotional stressors that have woven their way into the home and workplace. 

Hundreds of organizations support their employees through The Ulliance Life Advisor Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Investing in the right EAP to support your employees before, during and after they face adverse events will help them and help you. Visit, or call 866-648-8326.

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Investing in the right EAP or Wellness Program to support your employees will help them and help you.  Visit, or call 866-648-8326.

The Ulliance Employee Assistance Program can address the
following issues:

• Stress about work or job performance
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