New Year brings Human Resources trends

New Year brings Human Resources trends

Baker Creative > Blog > Human Relations > New Year brings Human Resources trends

Whether you keep them or not, with each new year most people establish resolutions to embrace some sort of changes in their lives. In the realm of human resources (HR), identifying trends and adopting those that fit your organization can provide an investment in human capital well beyond your own personal thoughts.

The HR Trend Institute and other organizations have identified practices that may be universal for quite some time. They include:

  • Adopting a personalized approach
  • Technology continuing as a major factor
  • A focus on current, urgent issues
  • Operating more on evidence and analysis than intuition
  • Moving toward more open, transparent organizations and away from rigidity
  • Being flexible with long-term plans and trying new ideas
  • Elevating the employee experience
  • Learning beyond the classroom and using the workplace as a living lab for on-the-job immediate results
  • Transforming HR to focus more on the client rather being seen as a bureaucracy
  • Moving from job-based to skill-based focus


For the immediate future, here are some HR trends to consider:

Ethics: Ethical leadership definitely should be a mainstay rather than a trend, although the events of 2020 have refocused HR professionals on the need to be dedicated to equity, diversity and inclusion. Ignoring the toxicity in the workplace created by one rogue employee for fear of retaliation is not acceptable when human resources professionals have the ability and responsibility to intervene and prompt company officials to take fair and appropriate action, no matter how difficult the circumstances. Be the corporate conscience and spine for the top brass.

Flexibility: Hire qualified employees who are also flexible, go-with-the-flow personalities who embrace change with the enthusiasm of the arrival of breaking news at a television station. If they’ve been in the trenches and weathered storms already, they’ll take modifications in stride and not behave as though the sky is falling on a daily basis. Qualifications are first priority, but a personality fit can either augment the staff you have or throw a perpetual dark cloud over the productivity of the group with a hire that will be viewed as a puzzle piece that will never fit. Make sure your associates are strong and resilient so the organization can continue to grow rather than remain stagnant.

Focus on hands-on HR service: By focusing on your company’s people and processes through your insider knowledge, associates will see you as the premier, trusted source even if you have the benefit of external assistance.

The office of today: In the past, we’ve seen cubicle farms, open floor plans and dedicated common break spaces where natural conversation and collaboration occur. Now, with the hybrid office model of today, some associates may successfully work 100 percent remotely, appearing in person only when summoned.  Others may welcome a combination of working from home and office. The option for personalization exists, giving due consideration to whether the person in the job needs to be physically present, lifestyle needs (including in-person interaction and child care) and how the person in the job influences other roles within the office.  Can a work document simply be forwarded to the next reviewer, or is in-person collaboration required?  Some companies have allowed their employees to take home computer equipment to ensure they have the same resources in their residences that they did in the company office, with the caveat that if the employee leaves the company, the equipment will be returned.

Keep in touch: You can tell what employees have been doing all day at home based on the work produced, but just because they may enjoy working in their pajamas doesn’t mean they don’t miss the human interaction with co-workers throughout the day beyond the ping of an arriving message. Establishing times to touch base with employees regularly, whether a morning Teams call or other avenue, provides associates with uplifting real-time conversations during the workday without interfering in their personal lives. Companies may also be able to hire more qualified candidates residing in out-of-town locales to work remotely, saving costs on relocation and heightening diverse perspectives. Wherever they connect from, make sure employees feel connected to a team. A dose of frivolity, such as a co-worker’s child or pet making a cameo appearance in the background of a call, can provide much-needed levity. Associates are more engaged, according to the Global Workplace Study 2020 of the ADP Research Institute, when they legitimately feel part of a team with a trusted leader. 

Examine skill sets: Take a look at the current skill sets of employees. Are the skills still relevant?  How can responsibilities be repurposed if the industry is changing?  What other skills can they learn to prepare for the next role upward and augment their versatility?

Encouraging versus mandating: Guide associates to a desired outcome by making it simple and enjoyable to comply rather than forbidding the alterative. They’ll be more inclined and delighted to comply rather than feeling as though they’re reading a list of statements that all begin with “Don’t…”

Keep personality types in mind:  People fall into primary personality types focusing on people, tasks, leadership and being a free spirit.  Knowing about how they think and their perspectives will let you know how to get through to them more effectively and honor their unique traits while accomplishing the task at hand.

Monitoring:  Some employers have had long-established means of people working from home, while others had to take a leap of faith for work to be performed other than in the office. In some circles, software monitoring of employees is increasing well beyond the recording of customer service representatives’ phone calls “for quality assurance purposes.” Some companies want to know exactly how much time an employee is spending on personal social media accounts rather than servicing key customer accounts.

Reality – augmented and virtual: AR and VR being integrated in the workplace will continue to increase,with possibilities to “wow” customers and select and train employees.

Utilize strengths: Not all leaders can convey the utopian philosophy of doing everything well. Utilize the proven strengths of each leader — within the HR team and beyond — whether it is leading by example, mentoring through encouragement or coaching an apprentice to journeyman level.

Knowing how and where to start can be tough. By utilizing the Solutions Studio of Baker Creative, we can help you uncover the insights you need to take useful trends and put them into practice in a way that makes sense for your organization and increases your return on investment.  Baker Creative can perform a detailed HR and corporate culture audit to evaluate ways to improve efficiencies and save on valuable resources and even your budget.