There’s no denying 2020 was a year of challenges. Keeping up with the pandemic meant HR professionals had to stay vigilant. What seemed important at the beginning of the year may have been set aside, such as hiring and recruitment. Many organizations shifted their concern to talent retention or even scaling back the workforce.

A renewed focus on health and safety also pushed wellness initiatives in new directions. Longstanding trends, like remote work and flexible benefits, also got a major boost.

As we look at continued uncertainty in 2021, business leaders and HR professionals have plenty of questions. What should your HR department focus on this year? These are our top picks.


Making Remote Work Permanent (and Better)

The first concern for most businesses will be remote work. Many made a quick shift to remote work in March 2020. Just as many were cautiously returning to in-person work before December.

Lockdowns around the world have forced a rollback of in-person work arrangements. Schools have shifted back to online learning, which puts parents in the hot seat as full-time caretakers. They need their employers to offer them work-from-home and flexible schedules.

Even as vaccinations begin, it’s unclear if this will be the last round of lockdowns. It might be best to prepare for another move “back” out of the office, especially through the spring and even next fall.

Many employees will want their flexible schedules and much-shorter commute to stick around. Many employers are already looking to make remote work a more permanent feature.

With that in mind, HR must focus on crafting more robust policies and refining what is already in place. Nine months of experience has likely revealed a few shortcomings in the hastily created policies of March 2020.


Maintain the Focus on Health and Wellness

More business leaders and HR managers recognized the importance of health and wellness initiatives. While some focused on physical safety in the office space, others looked at mental health, staying active, and even telemedicine benefits options as part of their wellness programs.

In 2021, the challenge will be to maintain and grow this newfound focus. It’s a fact that employees are more productive when they’re not feeling stressed out or depressed, and that many minor lifestyle changes can decrease stress, anxiety, and depressive feelings.

In turn, your employees will likely be happier, healthier, and more productive. Focusing on creating better work-life balance will be key, especially as remote work becomes a more permanent position.


Keep Diversity and Inclusion Efforts in Sight

In the midst of all this change, it would have been easy for HR leaders to lose sight of other important initiatives, like diversity and inclusion commitments. If hiring went on the backburner, you may not have had an opportunity to fulfill a diversity hiring mandate. With remote work, almost everyone is struggling to feel connected to the office.

Don’t lose sight of these efforts in 2021. Check in with diverse remote team members to discuss special challenges facing them in their home environment or work-life balance. Brainstorm ways to help them feel included. Remote workers face isolation, but diverse remote workers may find it even easier to feel excluded. Look at changes you can make to your company culture to support everyone.

As hiring freezes start to thaw, look to fulfilling those diversity efforts.


Prepare for a New Hiring Landscape

Finally, you’ll want to put some thought into your hiring and onboarding. As the year progresses, it’s likely hiring activity will pick up in a big way.

You’ll want to be ready for this. Check out new technologies, like video interviewing. Think about your benefits offerings and how you’ll both attract new hires and keep the talent you already have.


Be Prepared 

It’s going to be another rollercoaster of a year, and HR leaders want to prepare for it. Adopting new technology or getting the expert insight you need with an HR Hub could be the right move! Get in touch with us and discover the resources you need to succeed throughout the year.