Another Crazy Year for Businesses & Human Resources?

2021 is shaping up to be full of change like 2020. These continuous transformations will play out through the rest of this year and across the coming years. Here’s a sample of three prominent trends that are keeping human resource experts busy.

1. Companies taking a stance for societal and political issues

Last month, when Georgia Republicans passed a sweeping law to restrict voting access, two of the state’s largest corporations, Delta Air Lines and Coca-Cola, expressed their opposition. Two days later, Major League Baseball pulled its All-Star Game from Atlanta.

Employees want to work for companies that are willing to stand up for their values, and the race for talent is pushing companies to speak out. Research from Gartner shows that 74% of employees expect their employer to become more actively involved in public debates. One reason CEOs are responding to cultural issues is to retain and attract the best talent. Those companies who allocated real resources to issues are driving significant increases in employee engagement with a 40% to 60% lift in the number of employees who were considered highly engaged.

2. Gender wage gap continues

The pandemic has already had a disproportionately negative impact on women’s careers, and unfortunately, this trend is continuing as offices re-open. Men are more likely to return to their offices, while women are more likely to continue to work from home. Despite the many recent studies showing that full-time remote workers are even more productive than in-office workers, many managers still believe that office workers are higher performers. Therefore, these managers are more inclined to give these male office workers higher salary increases and promotions.

Also, we fear that the fight to close the gender wage gap may stall because next year we are likely to see data that shows that the wage gap is shrinking. The pandemic forced nearly three million women, mostly in lower-wage jobs, out of the workforce. Ironically, the data will be skewed to show a lower disparity in gender wages, while the problem still exists.

3. Expanding role of benefits

The pandemic gave co-workers visibility into each other’s personal lives, including their personal and professional struggles. As a result, business owners have seen that supporting their employees both on and off the clock enables employees to perform at a higher level. Managing the employee experience has expanded into managing their life experience. The role benefits play in engaging, retaining, and hiring employees is key. Employees now expect a lot more from their standard benefits offering, and employers have stepped up. Basic employee benefits packages include exciting new components to support physical, mental, and financial health.



Samantha Harwood