The Future of Work: 6 Post-COVID HR Trends to Look Out For

The first time COVID-19 made its appearance, a lot of uncertainty, fear, and doubt ruled many people’s lives. Since all of it was new, absolutely no one knew exactly what to do.

Nearly two years have passed, and we have gathered all the information and forces available to fight against it. The good news is that we have done it effectively to a great extent, and the current recovery situation is looking optimistic.

However, there is no guarantee that we are ever going “back to normal” since what is “normal” has been completely redefined.

From now on, HR professionals will need to adjust to the new normal. Here are some post-COVID HR trends to be prepared for.

1. A bigger focus on remote work

If there is one thing that the pandemic changed for most employees, it’s remote work. With all the video-conferencing calls via Zoom and Skype, the business world is steadily making its way to normalizing remote working.

While reports show that remote working was already becoming popular before COVID, especially amongst the self-employed, it sped up its pace.

The Pew Research Center reports that prior to the pandemic, about 20 percent of Americans were working remotely. Right now, this number has gone up to 71 percent. And out of that percentage, 54 percent want to continue working remotely.

That said, we expect to see working practices becoming more flexible in time.

Some businesses may even need to invest in more permanent communication tools or services. These should help them keep in touch with their employees and be able to support them.

2. Embracing technology

Technology is always at the forefront of change and will play a significant role in post-COVID HR trends.

When it comes to recruiting new talent, emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and blockchain technology will bring more changes in HR. With the possibility of streamlining the hiring process and improving the quality of the hires, the possibilities are endless.

But that’s not all that technology can do. Recruiting tech-savvy candidates that come with digital and transferable skills is more beneficial. This can help create a modern and ever-changing working environment that is adaptable and ready to face any potential challenge.

If you a looking for a winning HR tool, check out the TalentCulture 2021, HR Tech winners here.

3. Prioritizing employee well-being

More and more companies are putting their employees first.

Not only that, but they are also showing a willingness to address any health and safety issues. The trend of adopting a more people-centric company culture as opposed to business-centric is a positive turn of events. Now employers are being more understanding, aware, and flexible in ensuring the well-being of employees.

One way organizations can do this is by providing employees with better rewards and incentives. Time off or holistic benefit offerings can address both their mental and physical concerns.

Many famous companies are leading the way, showing others how it’s done. During the season of reduced demand, Microsoft continued paying their hourly workers who were offering their support. While Starbucks started offering more mental health benefits and therapy sessions to all its U.S.-based employees and family members starting in April 2020.

4. Rethinking current business practices

HR managers need to adapt to changing times, and to do so, they need to do a thorough re-assessment of company policies and practices. They need to look into what worked and didn’t work for employees during the crisis.

While some industries were lucky enough to survive the pandemic, some had cut down staff, or worse, close down.

Deloitte’s Workforce strategies for post-COVID-19 recovery workbook offers a helping hand to all managers who are rethinking their business practices. The workbook focuses on three key pillars: 1) respond, 2) recover, and 3) thrive. Considering every aspect of the business that needs to change, this guide can help organizations succeed.

5. Changing learning and training methods

When it comes to post-COVID HR trends, moving away from face-to-face learning and making use of e-learning resources is likely to be especially valuable.

Online learning has proven to be an effective and reliable method of providing training. In fact, it has been a lifesaver during the difficult coronavirus days. Given that e-learning is inexpensive and more efficient, more businesses will choose to invest in it and replace old training practices.

Webinars, virtual classrooms, online courses, video training, and mobile learning are trending. Many tools that can offer this type of training like LMSs (learning management systems), onboarding tools, and course platforms can improve employee training programs.

6. Relying on data to make decisions

When the financial situation of a business is unsteady, the need to forecast workforce requirements and reduce costs becomes paramount.

In order for HR managers to make well-informed decisions that will help sustain a business, they need to focus on data analytics.

Data analytics will provide the most reliable source of information, helping organizations successfully recruit candidates, as well as measure and monitor employee performance, engagement, and productivity.

A Look Into the Future

All these post-COVID HR trends pave the way for a new direction for the HR industry. New HR practices will soon replace the old, and companies will adopt the ones that will help them grow.

Pay attention to employees’ well-being, exploit all the tools available to you, and make data-driven decisions. Help your company survive through these troubled times and thrive in the future.

Can You Actually Learn Essential Skills Online

Digital Skills: Is E-Learning Enough?

Digital skills are becoming increasingly essential for future-proofing your career and not least because of the rapid proliferation of digital industries. According to Daniel Patel, the SAP (Systems, Applications, and Products in Data Processing) delivery director at Eursap, the world’s growing talent pool has made digital skills imperative. He has said “with the SAP market becoming saturated and competition increasing, having an SAP resume that stands out is now more important than ever.”

From coding to copywriting, transcribing to taxation, finding online courses for digital skills is easy. The popularity of e-learning platforms suggests that we enjoy this new format of education too. But when careers depend on the skills gained, we must be sure that we’re getting at least the same quality of education as others participating in real world learning environments. So, are we?

The Rise of Online Learning Platforms

From the simple DIY YouTube tutorial to more advanced video learning experiences, such as Google’s Academy for analytics and other Google tools, people are taking to video for many of their lessons.

Lynda was founded in 1995, but its appreciation has skyrocketed over the past few years. This has seen LinkedIn buying the platform earlier this year for a whopping $1.5 billion. The thinking is clear: E-learning will become more accessible, more innovative, and its flexibility will attract users who are unable to attend lessons.

The Human Brain Registers Information Better in a Real-World Environment

Though e-learning offers a flexibility that classroom teaching cannot, it still does not offer the learning experience that real-life environments can. As the drop off in Kindle sales this year illustrates, we do not always find it easy to process information from a screen.

Scientific American has claimed that the brain is able to process information from paper far more effectively than from a screen. They argue the tactility of a physical object is an important factor when learning and often entirely absent when interacting through a screen.

The Key is to Combine the Two

A tutorial on Google Analytics, Microsoft Excel, or video editing can give us the basic how-to points. But if these skills are to be practiced in a business environment they need expertise. This is much harder to achieve when you only have the e-learning experience.

It has been noted in an article from AoC Jobs that technology is encouraging new teaching methods in further education. In their blog, they discuss how it can provide an additional support for ESL students “who might need help when reading and look for pronunciations and meanings as they work through a text on a tablet.”

Business skills training platforms have also taken this into account. Tutor-led training company Activia Training have curated courses that can be personalized to individual needs and include e-books, digital learning, and the benefits of the classroom environment.

E-learning platforms can easily fit into our lives, but making the most of them goes far beyond simply learning at home. Finding practical applications for the skills gained will have immeasurable benefits that can boost employability.