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2021 - The Year of Human Resources

Karunesh Prasad, Founder and Director, Change Et AlKarunesh Prasad, Founder and Director, Change Et Al
Multiple myths got busted during 2020. Work from home stole the limelight. Organizations came in-to headlines for announcing permanent change in the way they work while role of managers changed significantly overnight. Covid 19, political changes, protectionism and bankruptcies stole the limelight in all primetime news.

Both HR and IT teams across the corporate world remained very busy managing the sudden spotlight with huge expectations to keep the lights on and, get the organization to run. 2021 will be all about coping with sudden changes and getting ready for more. I would argue that 2021 will be the year of HR function. Five top predictions from my point of view are likely to be as follows:

1. Need for Talent Agility and people strategy will put HR in the driver’s seat: I think talent agility will become one of the most important agendas this year. As organizations try to recover and assess the impact of Covid19, they will want to reduce the base cost further causing employment loss. Since the needs still remain, creative ways of using high caliber, on-demand talent will become a huge agenda completely driven by HR teams.

2. Prioritization of Wellbeing: 2020 came in as a wake-up call for many of us as individuals and organizations alike.
As employees express more interest on their priority towards wellbeing, organizations have no option but to creatively think about providing support for the physical and emotional wellbeing of employees and families. HR fraternity remains at the forefront.

3. Diversity & Inclusion come back with a vengeance: We are seeing a very interesting trend currently. Countries are adopting a protectionist approach and politics is causing polarization. The rebound effect of that is coming from a society where organizations are becoming even more passionate about supporting the cause of diversity and inclusion. HR teams will play a huge role this year again with even more passion towards diversity as politics in the USA goes through the transition.

4. Paradox of data privacy and intrusion: Cyber thefts, frauds are at an all-time high but personal data is becoming almost public. Tracing apps, the requirement to check-in everywhere, a declaration on travel are all meant to be keeping us safe from infection. On the other hand, all the data which is being collected can be extremely intrusive. Organizations have to find that balance and work with employees, authorities, and other stakeholders to keep employees safe. Another tough balancing act where everyone will be looking at HR to help.

5. The competitive advantage of Change enablement, speed, and agility: Training, education, and self-improvement remained on everyone’s mind this year and we all saw a clear difference between how agile and fast change, put companies in advantageous situations compared to others. The HR team will be again leading a huge change enablement and culture change initiative everywhere.

For HR Teams within the organization and HR professionals as individuals, this is the time to rise and shine.
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