2021 HR Trends and Future Predictions

Designing Digitally


2021 HR Trends and Future Predictions

Over the past year and a half, world economies have taken a hit across multiple industries. The Travel, Entertainment, Accommodations, and Food industries were hit the hardest, with many restrictions imposed on how organizations conduct their business.

Although a relatively new domain, the Human Resource Management industry (HRM or simply HR) has changed the most. From a mixed HR global economy, where remote work was just starting to flourish, in 2021, companies across the map are huddling to hire professionals that can and are willing to work remotely.

This year, a spike in online-based businesses and remote hiring has redefined how we work, interact, and lead our personal lives. Even companies that didn't have much of an online presence before are employing web designers and programmers to build or redesign their websites. So, where does this leave HR employees, their hiring process, and the staff they bring in?

  1. HR departments are restructuring the way they recruit new talent

It's safe to say that, in light of ongoing global events, the workforce management blueprint needs to and is indeed changing at a rapid pace. Whether we are ready for it or not, most companies need to adapt to the new online global economy quickly.

Millennials and Generation Z employees are flooding the workforce. As such, HR departments everywhere are rethinking their hiring processes, management strategies, policies, and systems.

HR agents are now predominantly using platforms like Zoom, Skype, and LinkedIn to recruit, interview, and onboard new talent. Platforms like these have become essential for employee training, team meetings, creating a customized and productive workflow, and establishing an online-based work culture.

  1. Outsourcing is on the rise

There is a higher percentage of remote workers now more than ever before. Newer and better technologies are required to hire and retain competent staff in any field. This sudden migration to using more technology means recruiting talent with specific skills capable of navigating new software and a desire to learn continuously.

Pre-pandemic, many companies were location-bound and would hire employees living in the same city or state. The explosion of the gig economy has blown open the doors to working from anywhere. Organizations have shifted their focus from hiring competent in-house personnel to outsourcing their projects to freelance, gig, and remote professionals from all over the world.

The US alone has 59 million freelance workers, with 300,000 projects getting outsourced out of the country every year. The trend is not stopping here, and future predictions expect this number to grow exponentially over the next few years.

  1. Introducing the virtual employee experience

Beginning with the online interviewing process and ending with online staff training, the emerging employee experience is vastly different from past generations. Today, a new recruit might meet their team in an online environment, chat with various departments directly when solving problems, and actively participate in creating an online-based work culture.

This virtual employee experience is a natural result of the rising gig culture. Through the remote work lens, human resources departments can clearly see a need for encouraging a happy and growing workforce. Aside from work-related issues, HR representatives also need to solve employees' increasing desire for a balanced work-life relationship.

Integrating more technology into the workplace culture is proving to have a positive impact on employee productivity. Allowing your staff to engage in mobile learning, for example, lowers the fear of failure and lets them learn at their own pace, anytime, from anywhere.

  1. Adopting an inclusive work culture

Emerging HR trends place the focus on the importance of workplace inclusiveness. In this scenario, the human resources department is responsible for lowering international hiring restrictions. Finding staff from all parts of the world with specific job skills and tech-savvy skills is challenging but worthwhile.

Research says that people working from home have a better work-life balance, feel happier, and are more productive. An online Learning and Development (L&D) department is essential for helping the people in your organization lead happier, more productive, and more efficient lives.

Read also: How Training and Development is Connected to Employee Happiness 

  1. Embracing a growth mentality

Future human resource trends indicate that your management style will also need to evolve as your employees grow. Relying on eLearning, innovative technology, and the newest staff management software is one way of staying ahead of the curb.

HR departments will also benefit from following trends in Artificial Intelligence. By using AI technology, human resource managers can cut their work in half. HR departments will free up time to focus on more creative work by automating low-value and repetitive tasks.

Using data analytics will also improve the employee experience and help HR staff find matching candidates faster. Data collected over a certain period can help you:

  • Determine how well your employees are performing

  • Dictate the performance metrics needed to award promotions and bonuses

  • Figure out what factors lead to employee attrition

  • Increase employee retention

  • Analyze employee engagement and more

Embracing a growth mindset doesn't just mean using the latest technologies. It also has a psychological component. Every single one of your employees needs to feel valued and capable of surpassing their current level of performance.

Through gamification and AI applications, employee learners can evolve faster than by just attending more traditional learning models. Augmented reality (AR), Virtual reality (AR), and gamified employee training modules allow your staff to learn from their mistakes while removing the fear of failure.

  1. Working from Anywhere

As mentioned, recent pandemic conditions have forced most industries to change the way they do business. HR departments have had to adapt to the growing gig or project-based economies and to having most employees working from home.

Future predictions foresee an expansive work from anywhere culture. This means that thanks to all the changes and technologies discussed in this article, employing a global workforce will be easier than ever before. Not only can you hire employees from different countries, but these employees can also work from anywhere else in the world. As long as they have a laptop and fast internet connection, they are set to working from a coffee shop, a work hub, or even from the beach.

Read also: The Importance of Anytime Anywhere Learning in the Modern Workplace


An evolving HR management style, more outsourcing, and a well-defined virtual employee experience are only three of the many HR trends we are seeing in 2021. These will lead organizations of all shapes and sizes toward incorporating AI and data science to create an inclusive global workforce culture.

Designing Digitally can improve your HR processes and help you develop great employees through custom online training that overcome business challenges. To learn more, view our Capability Statement and Project Lifecycle Journey. If you are ready to talk about your own HR and employee development strategies, we invite you to reserve a time with one of our team members today.