The past year was marked by a violent upheaval in the world of work. Fixed, rigid processes and structures have had their day and have given way to a kind of "forced flexibility". Whereas digital processes and virtual collaboration were previously treated rather stepmotherly in many companies, in 2020 they have moved from one moment to the next to the centre of attention. This trend will continue in 2021. But we also expect many other innovations in the coming year.
In very many companies, the transition to home office has taken place without much preparation time due to the Corona pandemic. Accordingly, there is often still a lack of fixed structures, corresponding processes and a planned use of remote work.
HR departments must now examine which solutions for changing work locations can be implemented in their company. What does the ideal hybrid model look like, in which creative exchange within the company is not neglected? The most important task for 2021 is to create predictability for the employer, while allowing employees as much freedom as possible (e.g. for childcare). Efficient HR departments are supported by innovative software solutions for mobile work.
Company bicycles, fruit baskets or canteen meals - most of the attractive benefits in the company are hardly a motivation for employees in the home office. Now it's time to create new benefits that also offer remote workers an incentive to perform, whether it's online training opportunities, digital meal vouchers, fruit delivered directly to the home, care packages, mentoring programmes or online health offers.
The term Big Data has been haunting the HR world for years. The huge amount of data that is processed every day in German companies offers gigantic possibilities. It has to be linked in a meaningful way - for example, employee-related data with information from the ERP software - and then evaluated. With the help of artificial intelligence and a specialised data warehouse, the data can be evaluated in such a way that decisions can be automated with their help. As a result, decisions are made less on the basis of gut instinct and more on the basis of real facts.
The past year has shown that personal presence in the company is not as important as thought. This enables you to tap into new labour markets - be it on a supra-regional scale or even beyond Germany's borders. To achieve this, however, the technologies and tools in recruiting are moving even more into focus: the applicant management software must cover the individual recruiting process individually. Job interviews via video or video-on-demand are becoming more and more standard. Chatbots are also being discussed again and again - but rather in other areas than in HR.
Managers are increasingly concerned with health protection issues in 2021 and are more in demand here than ever as diplomats. For while some employees are overcautious and avoid all contact, others are affected by "corona fatigue" - they no longer feel like keeping their distance. Here it is necessary to develop ventilation and distance concepts that do justice to the more cautious target group (and also the legal requirements) and can still be sold to the rest of the workforce as a normal programme.
If there is no regular exchange between employees in the home office, colleagues and managers, they increasingly feel socially isolated. Employees' loyalty to the company dwindles and their willingness to change companies increases. Managers are now called upon to strengthen the team feeling, be it through online team events, joint "coffee breaks" or regular staff meetings.
Leadership must also change in this process. Those who now revert to the antiquated control and supervision of remote workers are wrong. This kind of cooperation must be characterised by trust. Managers must increasingly hand over responsibility to their team members and encourage their independence and commitment. They are best supported in this by modern software solutions for talent management and tamper-proof time recording.
Many employees have already lost their jobs due to the effects of the Corona pandemic and many more will follow. Employers are hiring more cautiously, but still need support from time to time. They are resorting to the so-called "gig economy". They hire self-employed people and freelancers for individual tasks or short projects, who complete the tasks at hand remotely without being permanently tied to the company. For job seekers, the gig economy with its platform work represents an alternative employment model on a freelance basis.
The topic of sustainability does not stop at the HR world either. HR managers are increasingly working on strategies for more environmental protection in the company. For example, instead of financing a company car, they can sponsor a permanent public transport ticket, lease electric cars instead of diesel vehicles, save paper through software-supported HR management and increasing digitalisation or pay attention to CO2 compensation.
Now that digitalisation in Germany has progressed much faster than planned in many places, processes need to be scrutinised even more than before. In the HR sector, this means: Again and again, it should be reassessed to what extent processes can be streamlined and automated, especially with the help of modern HR software, for example for time-consuming seminar management, onboarding or the digital personnel file. This creates time resources for the crucial tasks of the HR department. These include, for example, the corporate culture, the retention of employees in the home office and on site, or the custom-fit recruiting of new skilled employees.
Remote technologies allow work teams to be put together and tested again and again. In the process, the individual qualifications, experiences and perspectives of the employees can be perfectly bundled so that a large whole is created. Men and women, German and foreign employees, young professionals and seniors are connected. The diversity in the teams and the different perspectives now give employers the edge they need.
What does 2021 hold in store for employers and HR specialists? With all foresight, no one can say with certainty. However, every HR department can already prepare for the upcoming topics. This way, they can ride the wave instead of being overwhelmed by it. We would like to support you in the digitalisation of your processes!
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