New Year’s Resolutions for HR Teams in 2021
This year has been nothing short of a challenge, and things are no different in the business world, as the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a large scale shift to remote working on very short notice. To top it off, the threat of the virus, the need to self-isolate, and the looming economic recession has been disastrous for the mental health of employees.
Even though we’re approaching the end of this dreaded year, there’s no sign of when things will improve. On the contrary, many areas in the country were brought under the toughest restrictions on Boxing Day. With that said, this Pacific Prime UK article gives you some New Year’s resolutions to consider, so that you can be ready for HR trends in 2021.
1. Working from home can get to employees: support them in every way possible
Remote working is a double-edged sword. It is a coveted employee benefit, giving employees more freedom to manage their work, less time and money spent commuting, and many more. But it can also make it harder for employees to switch off, as there’s no clear distinction between work and home, not to mention how loneliness can kill.
Needless to say, one of your top HR goals and objectives in 2021 should be to support employees in every way possible. Allocate funds to ensure that employees have the appropriate set-up and equipment to work from home comfortably. What’s more, share with them self-care tips for working from home, along with telemental health apps to use if things get rough.
2. Workplace toxicity in a virtual setting is a thing: mitigate challenges associated with this
Not only do companies bring their toxic work cultures with them when they shift to remote work, but many of these toxic practices can also be exacerbated in a virtual setting. From a boss who micromanages to cyberbullying and ineffective communication to poor work-life balance, employees are likely to feel heightened stress and anxiety.
As such, HR teams should address virtual workplace toxicity. That being said, things can get complicated if it’s an employees’ manager who is the source of the toxicity. Be sure to audit your current policies to deal with toxic practices, seek advice from employees and managers, provide the necessary coaching and training, amongst many others.
3. Things will eventually return to ‘normalcy’: plan to return to work in a safe and smooth manner
For the most part, the shift to remote working has been temporary. When things return to normalcy (whatever that will look like), we’ll have to go back to work. Given this, HR teams should ensure that this transition is as smooth as possible, and employees are reassured that they’ll be coming back to a safe enviornment.
A phased return is one of HR’s best practices during COVID-19. When considering who to bring back first, consider bringing those who are under the most stress at home, or those who are least vulnerable to contracting the virus. And of course, space out desks in the office and clean high touch point areas more frequently.
4. The pandemic has changed many things: rethink your stance on remote and/or flexible working
Speaking of returning to work, you may find that employees have gotten a taste of remote working, and would prefer more flexible working arrangements. In fact, this is one of the biggest HR trends post-pandemic, which we’ve written about at length in our inaugural Global Employee Benefits Trends Report 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has not only shown that remote working is indeed possible, but it has highlighted the disproportionate burden of household duties on female employees. Therefore, rethinking your stance on flexible working arrangements is also a key tool to support female employees, enabling you to attract and retain the best talents.
5. Travelling isn’t easy during the pandemic: adapt your holiday policy with this in mind
Most companies begin their holiday year on the 1st of January, mandating that employees use up all their pending holidays before the new year. While some employees may have taken leave for staycations, others may want to carry their holiday forward. And rightly so; this year has been a bummer for travelling. As such, consider adapting your holiday policy.
You’ll also need to plan for it by looking at how many employees have carried holidays forward and the number of days they have each carried forward. Bear in mind that these days are in addition to their holiday entitlement in 2021.The easiest way to manage this is by stipulating that at least 75% of their holiday must be booked by a certain date.
6. Employees have been through a lot: remain empathetic in your approach and offer robust employee benefits solutions
Whether it’s grieving the loss of a loved one or dealing with financial repercussions, it’s important to remember that the COVID-19 pandemic will have a long-lasting impact on many employees and employers should do their best to remain empathetic in their approach, even once the pandemic is declared officially over.
Think long term about how you can support a workforce that may be scarred and burdened by the unprecedented global health crisis. If you don’t already offer private health insurance, employee assistance programs (EAPs), and corporate wellness programs, you may want to consider doing so.
Seek help from Pacific Prime UK
Luckily for you, Pacific Prime UK has two decades of experience designing and implementing tailored employee benefits and corporate insurance solutions for companies of all sizes and industries. If you’d like to learn about future HR trends in the UK or need help refining your HR strategic plan in 2021, you’re welcome to get in touch with us.
Contact our corporate team today!