2021 HR Challenges – 5 Issues We’re Facing

2021 has been a rough year for HR.

From global pandemics to digital transformations, there’s no doubting that your organization has probably been through a lot. Although the year may be almost over, it’s important to reflect on the challenges your company has faced in these life-changing times. For example, the software development platform GitLab is one of the biggest all-remote companies in the world. GitLab’s head of remote told VentureBeat,

Challenges will always arise and affect our work life, but what matters is being prepared. Staying ahead of the curve will make these challenges easier when they do arrive. By planning ahead and understanding what your organization needs to do to provide solutions for these HR challenges, both you and your employees will benefit from the steps taken to accomplish these goals. Here are the top 5 2021 HR challenges that you should prepare to face this year.

2021 HR Challenge #1 – Mental Health Struggles as COVID continues

Remember when the “New Normal” first started? The transition from traditional office work to remote work has not only resulted in several challenges for workplaces but also resulted in workers having to change their whole lives to adjust. Due to this, it’s essential for HR to prepare for the mental health struggles that accompany another year of lockdowns and quarantines.

Employee Mental Health has without question risen to priority for HR leaders, and for good reason. The HRPA estimates that 1 in 5 employees are experiencing symptoms of depression, anxiety or posttraumatic stress disorder.

With this in mind, is your organization making employee mental health care a priority? Are you prepared to support an employee who may be undergoing a mental health crisis? As 2021 continues, it’s time to support your employees and create policies with employees’ mental well-being in mind.

Business consulting firm EY, formerly Ernst & Young, launched their mental health program in 2016 titled “r u ok?”, which saw great success within the first three months of launch. Sandra Turner, the leader of the “r u ok?” program, states there was a 30.2% increase in calls to the EY Assist line about mental health. Turner says one of the most critical aspects to the success of the program has been the overall culture of diversity and inclusion. 

“We need to have the right culture – one where people trust that coming forward about their struggle with mental health will not affect their job.”

2021 HR Challenge #2 – Social Capital Loss – How to keep employees social while working remotely

Office work seems like a thing of the past! As companies transition to virtual work and home offices, employees have lost the social aspects of their work. No more coffee chats, happy hours, office parties, etc. With employees focusing on working at home and apart from one another, these organic and natural conversations were just completely lost.

The lack of social capital in the workplace has massively adverse effects. On the mental health side, social capital oftentimes greatly benefited the mental health of employees. On engagement and overall connectivity, this 2021 HR challenge has caused workplaces to lose the connection and effectiveness they once had. With talks of remote or hybrid workforces, 30% of business leaders are most concerned with maintaining corporate culture and 13% are concerned about a seamless employee experience.

With these HR challenges in mind, it’s essential to focus on ways to help employees stay social and connected within their organization. Ideas such as creating a virtual social workspace, such as virtual coffee meets and happy hours. Every organization is different, however, it’s always important to find the best ways to keep your employees social and connected.

2021 HR Challenge #3 – How to engage remote hires and integrate them

Chances are you’ve added some new faces onto your team in 2021! It’s without question that the hiring process has gotten more complicated, and bets are that you’ve hired a good amount of staff without ever seeing them before. As a company, this inevitably happens – you’ll always be adding in new team members! However, would you consider these new hires as engaged as your already existing team members?

The odds are no. The rise of virtual work has brought along the large HR challenge of alienating new employees. This is mainly due to the onboarding process and lack of connection new hires feel when starting at a company virtually. Over 30% of employees say coaching and onboarding new hires is worse than pre-COVID.

As your year continues, it’s essential to think about how these new hires will grow and connect at your company. Here at AirMason, we’ve helped countless organizations solve this problem! By building an incredible employee handbook full of policies that connect remote workers, companies have witnessed meteoric rises in engagement and connectivity with new hires.

2021 HR Challenge #4 – Redefining Your Company Culture

Why do your employees like working for you? Ideally, there are many reasons! Your employee benefits, work style, and engagement all impact your company culture. As your organization has moved digitally, it’s without question that your company culture has changed and adapted to digital work needs. Are you happy with your current company culture? What would you change?

Another HR challenge is the guidance and support necessary for your employees during these changing times, and the first source of this is recognizing what your company culture says to your employees. McKinsey touches on this in their “COVID-19 and the employee experience: How leaders can seize the moment” report, where they describe how leadership and company culture are necessary for employees to understand how their organization supports them.

Do your employees have flexible work hours? Access to incredible and supportive benefits? Do they connect with your company’s vision and purpose? These are all questions and ideas that need to be redefined within your organization in 2021.

2021 HR Challenge #5 – Digitization of HR

Your organization has likely added on many new tools and technology for you to use. With the advancement of companies moving further and further into digitally focused work, HR has seen much of the same. Within this, it is oftentimes difficult for HR workers to either transition into the digital space, or the company transitions and leaves their workers behind in many ways.

Through a six-month-long online survey period, Corporate Wellness Magazine found 24% of respondents and HR leaders in a virtual workplace saying using technology effectively is their biggest hurdle through the shift to digitization. With the rise of HRIS systems, payroll software, and a variety of other HR aimed software, we don’t blame you for seeing this as a large-scale 2021 HR challenge. What about focusing on HR software that engages and grows your company instead?

AirMason is your new employee handbook builder – with a fully online software able to create beautiful and engaging handbooks, it’s set to be the new key to maximizing engagement and performance at your organization.

Are you prepared to face these 2021 HR Challenges?

Like we said earlier, 2021 has been a rough year for HR. Your company has likely changed in so many ways, but that’s okay! Change is always needed – but you should always be prepared.

Keeping these 5 2021 HR challenges in mind will help you prepare your business for whatever comes next. Here at AirMason, we offer several solutions to these problems, saving you time and stress! See how your organization’s onboarding and employee experience can improve instantly with AirMason’s creative and efficient software. Book a demo right now!