HR priorities in 2021

COVID19 has altered people’s lives in ways they would never have imagined. As we adapt to the new normal and organizations continue to navigate through change, HR leaders have a significant role to play in building an agile, productive, and engaged workforce. With digitization at the forefront, here are the 5 priorities for HR leaders in 2021:

1. Redefining critical skills & competencies

The need for a multiskilled workforce is no longer a good-to-have, but a must. In order to ensure adaptability and overcome the learning curve at the time of need, organizations must identify the critical skills and competencies relevant to their business and provide staff with opportunities to learn and upskill. Creating shared responsibility between HR and relevant stakeholders to constantly assess and sense the shift in  skills required to deliver a job is crucial to ensure minimum downtime.

2. Flexibility over efficiency in Organization design & change management

The shift from rigid organizational designs and workflows to flexible structures that empower employees to be more responsive is the way forward. 

Gartner’s research states, current organizations cannot respond as quickly as conditions require. Work design, focused for years on efficiency, has left many organizations with rigid structures, workflows, and networks. Employees suffer the effects in various forms of work “friction.”

Unlock Organisational capacity by reducing work friction

Source: Gartner – Top priorities for hr leaders 2021

3. Building a strong and diverse Leadership & Midlevel management

Covid19 has highlighted that leaders and managers were not equipped to navigate through crisis. Failed succession planning, not being able to deploy the right leaders at the right time, ineffective midlevel management were some of the key issues with organizations leading through quick change. HR need to prioritize ‘intentional growth’ by creating networks for knowledge sharing that give senior and midlevel managers the exposure to a diverse skillset and prepares them to step up when required.

Growth-Focused Diversity Networks

Source: Gartner – Top priorities for hr leaders 2021

4. Plan for Contingency

Human capital is by far the most important resource at every organization and despite digitization efforts, Covid19 has validated the need for HR leaders to observe the global trends and have a strategy for contingency to ensure busines continuity.  

Source: Gartner – Top priorities for hr leaders 2021

5. Employee Experience

2021 sees a significant change in employee experience. Compassion and wellbeing is at the center of every decision, policy or governance and for the first time ever it is a unanimous business initiative as opposed to just an HR initiative.

In the current climate, we’ve experienced burnout at all levels and the impact on businesses has been significant. HR leaders have a huge responsibility and a massive platform to recreate the company culture and the employee value proposition to provide employees with a flexible, agile and resilient work environment.

The image below taken from Gartner’s research highlights the key areas for change:

Source: Gartner – Top priorities for hr leaders 2021

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