5 of the Biggest Workforce Trends for 2021

Published in Member Communities on February 25, 2021

Sara LauresBy: Sara Laures, Chief People Officer, VGM Group, Inc.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our entire world. Some of that change is here to stay. 2021 will be the defining year where we will start to refer to conditions as “pre-COVID” and “post-COVID.” Here are five things you should know as you embark on a new year with your employees.

1. Employee Experience Will Be Key

Gallup defines the employee experience as the journey an employee takes with your organization. It includes every interaction that happens along the employee life cycle plus the experiences that involve an employee’s role, workspace, manager, and well-being. These interactions lead to an experiential feeling that the employee holds about your purpose, your brand, and your culture. There is a race for top talent, so employees can afford to be more selective about where they work. In 2021, employees will be looking for employers to provide:

  • Flexibility – Recognize that the world is different now. We must be flexible in our thinking and in our expectations of how, when, and where work can be done.
  • Greater work-life balance – Look for ways to support employees through all areas of their life. If they feel out of balance, they can’t show up like the super star they might be.
  • Purpose – Remind employees of the impact they are having on your organization and to the customers they are serving. They will have a strong desire to find meaning behind their work. 
  • Recognition and appreciation – Focus on recognition programs and ways to shine the spotlight on their top talent.

A positive employee experience produces outcomes like increased productivity and performance, more innovation, and the ability to adapt. Plus, people will be more likely to stay and to recommend your organization to other talented candidates.

Positive Employee Experience Quote

2. Remote Work Will Be the New Normal for Some

Organizations showed an incredible ability to adjust at the start of the pandemic, as did their employees who quickly arranged a home office to perform their jobs remotely. While not all jobs can be done at home, certainly there are many that can. In fact, some roles can be performed just as well, if not better, remotely.

Sara Laures CallOut Quote

Some companies are offering support and accommodations to employees who will be permanently working from home, like a stipend for home office expenses or internet connectivity. In the recently released, “2021 HR Trends Report” from McLean & Company, nearly half of organizations report that 50% or more of their roles are capable of being performed remotely on a permanent basis. However, 25% of senior leaders are against permanent remote work. Organizations that don’t allow for remote work may be left behind when it comes to retaining talent.

3. People Will Need Psychological Safety

Psychological safety is a basic human need. Once employees feel that safety at work, they can then focus on mastering their job and showing up in an exceptional way. In order to attract and retain extraordinary people, you must allow and encourage employees to bring their authentic
selves to work. They will need to feel safe and secure at work, just as they do around family
and friends.

Employers who create a place of psychological safety will end up welcoming talent from various walks of life and who have valuable insights and experiences. That will add tremendous value to
your organization. You need people who are going to make a difference and have an impact.

VGM Playbook: Forecasting 2021

This article was originally published in the VGM Playbook: Forecasting 2021. To read the complete article, download your copy of the playbook.


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  1. human resources
  2. playbook

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