Newest HR Trends – 2021

Estimated reading time: 12 min read

Human Resources Management has always had to adapt, adapt to the changes in everyday life that, of course, change in steps with other developments in the society and business world. But especially since 2010, 2012 and 2016, we have seen some significant changes and what an exciting time. Here you find some of the elements we work with today in 2021. We are not all on the same step; some perhaps wait, some are on the way.

Also the virus crisis will shape a very new working life and we will see a growing demand for adjusting the way of working in the every day, and things will perhaps be very different, and it will be a huge challenge.

Adaption and absorption is a substantial part of our life today, to be upfront with the advises and the tools for making the transitions. And especially in this pattern, the differences between if your HR team are “down below” or “up front” in the development phase, you will find a lot of opportunities if your “up front”, and it can make the difference between losing or winning.


Recognizing the challenging workplace environment, many HR leaders are beginning to think about the employee experience. To get the most from your workers, you need to know how they are feeling about every aspect of their workplace experience. Through holistic, multi-touchpoint programs – such as surveys, employee lifecycle programs, feedback, and interventions – you can personalize the employee experience while streamlining connections between HR processes, experiences, and business outcomes.

After 2020 with huge problems, the focus on number one, I how we in Human Resources Management can place focus on the effect and effectivity, and productivity like the focus is on the selection the right people and how we evaluate the employees. We will see more focus on to drag a line in the sand.

We do also see that we will still in 2021 be in “Covid-19” mode, and at resent we are only at the second wave. The world will perhaps first be “more normal” after Q2, in 2021.

Two important concepts of talent 2020 are the absorption and adoption of change.
Businesses need to keep in mind that not everyone can adapt at the same speed that either a business needs or needs to evolve. Also, this applies when employees must return to work.
However, it is also now that the future must be planned and new ways of working can be defined.

Regulatory demands are increasingly challenging employees to embed accountability, responsibility, and good practices into financial services organizations. To help ensure that all employees become – and remain – compliant, and to make sure they have the training and support they need, HR leaders need to find ways to digitalize regulatory compliance issues.

HR is moving to a more holistic approach.

Using advanced technologies and being human centric
Adding value to all stakeholders, not only management
Combining intuition and thorough analytics
Internal and external focus
Strategic and operational
Short-term and long-term
Action-oriented and reflective (fast and slow).

When we think of the blended workforce we often think of full-time workers working side by side with contract and gig workers. In 2020 when we refer to the “blended workforce,” we mean humans and bots working together.

Research among 8,370 global HR leaders, hiring managers and employees conducted by Oracle and Future Workplace found that half (50%) of workers already use some form of A.I. at work, up from 32% in 2018. As Gartner predicts, by 2021 25% of workers will use a virtual employee assistant (VEA) daily, an increase from less than 2% in 2019. This includes Amazon Alexa for Business and an array of conversational bots used for all types of HR processes.

Knowing how to orient, develop, engage, and work side by side with a bot will be the newest skill set for 2020, as human and bot teams will work together and, in many cases, outperform either humans or bots working on their own! How you orient, develop and engage your blended workforce in 2020 will be your competitive advantage.

We have tested a lot of HR tools, created/programmed HR software. We do see from India, Pakistan and Bangladesh; many new tools are made. We like and love that, but unfortunately, lots of the tools are typically sent to the marked quite quickly – all too early, often so fast that the system is not completely tested yet and many things are usually lacking in the normal thoughts for what should a system do, work and act. This means that we in HR now often needs to test 8-10 systems before finding anything that meets the requirements we have. We can only hope it gets better. Even large companies are still not offering what HR needs.

Often we see programmes are offered either free or cheap, but if you want “the last parts”, then it is relatively expensive, often “you can talk all that you want”, they don’t use the time to “shape it up” to a reasonable level. Usually, you also get lost in a “support ticket game”. We hope the competition will change this.

We in HR use a lot of time to evaluate systems, also because when you first use them, its difficult to migrate to another or go back to what you did before.


  • Generation Y often have often extra jobs or two part-time jobs; it shapes a need for copyright clauses, confidentiality clauses are growing;
  • Generation Y likes to work and study in different countries. Related to work it requires a semi version of expatriate contracts, typical including airline ticket, and insurances as a company paid part.
  • We do see Affective Computing on the way in to the Human Resources Manegement area.
    Affective Computing is computing that relates to, arises from, or deliberately influences emotion or other affective phenomena. Emotion is fundamental to human experience, influencing cognition, perception, and everyday tasks such as learning, communication, and even rational decision-making.
    Frames and laws need to be made for this subject, and not least how it is used and in what combinations.
  • Artificial intelligence starts to replace some work tasks within the job categories: Doctors, Admin., Lawyers, Finance/bookkeeping!
    We still need more focus on the subject and laws to be shaped.
  • We do not yet see so many real AI build setups in HR. It’s more systems making decisions on existing data or defined flows, and they have arrived!
    We believe it will be difficult when the topic is about empathy and decisionmaking.

Some of the setups and programs we see today is not actually AI setups, but more programs that mostly work on existing data. The word or the concept of AI is not finally defined, so to speak. What we see most is that we will call machine intelligence or systems making decisions based on existing data (using learning based on past experience to inform future decisions).  The idea about AI is that the system can make decisions like a human brain, but it will still be in contrast to the natural intelligence displayed by humans.

Artificial intelligence can be classified into three different types of systems:

  1. Analytical;
  2. Human-inspired;
  3. Humanized artificial intelligence.

Human-inspired AI has elements from cognitive and emotional intelligence; understanding human emotions, in addition to cognitive elements, and considering them in their decision making. Humanized AI shows characteristics of all types of competencies (i.e., cognitive, emotional, and social intelligence), is able to be self-conscious and is self-aware in interactions.

  • The way social media interaction has changed the direction of communication. We see this influence also on internal communication;
  • The higher level of misinformation and shaped confusion about what’s right and wrong will require a renewed focus on internal communication;
  • The old form of internal communication will die out, replaced by new app tools/chat/info-wall platforms.

COVID-19 was a big part of the last month in 2019 and have been the essential element since second world war, and we are still in the COVID-19 here in October 2020, and we are perhaps only near the second wave. We now see the infection numbers going up every day.

New demands from clients to external recruitment companies, is getting more visible and only those who can transform into the new topics will survive in the future.

Some of the keywords:

    • Quality in the recruitment process needs to go up, especially with the focus on the selection process;
      Selection on the full concept of talent;
    • The existing network of candidates is indeed a value, some will perhaps say this is the key difference to the internal recruitment setup (if this is a new department);
    • The speed in the process is a second key element; often its a position the internal recruitment team not have been able to find the candidates for, and first, now this task is handled to the external recruitment company, and wich for fast solving is now in demand;
    • Communication to clients and candidates;
    • The use and the handlings of the data with a focus to the new EU Data law, also in relation to being a subcontractor to a company.
  • Human Resources Management will be integrated more into the organization;
  • Part of the administrative tasks will be separated from HR, Cognitive computing will solve more of the HR tasks like;
  • L&D, workplace planning, payroll and benefits administration, compensation & recognition, Talent acquisition, leadership development;
  • L&D will be more included in HR and will use more of the data from HR; old barrier will disappear.

In 2019 and until medio January 2020: We did see a growing keen interest in Talent Management, particularly with a focus on selection and evaluation. However, we see a need for the assessment processes to deliver faster results. The feedback needs to be better in quality so that the employee, in reality, can use the status/the evaluation. It will require focusing on the work process and training to lift the quality of the work method.

We have changed the normal performance evaluation process. We work with a mentor system. It takes some time to change, but we see it work a lot better and shape better results, and it also better match the daily need for higher speed in the feedback delivered to the employees. Finally, we made the process easy, cut down the material from 7-10 pages to 1-3 pages.

  • There is a need for greater focus on the leaders’ empathy skills and social interactions;
  • New demands for a new leadership role, with more focus on mentoring – lead and optimize daily on-the-floor;
  • Proximity and accessibility employee and immediate leader between are getting stronger.
  • Companies have to adapt more to the clients/customers need!
  • The old Performance Management Processes (If it doesn’t show a value) will require new workflows and will be optimised;
  • New models using mentor/coach models (on the floor training) will be in demand.
  • The task of selecting, here we will see a higher demand for higher quality;
    Selection will need to be done on full definition of the concept of talent;
  • 2019: New tech is allowing our recruiters to have more valuable conversations with the candidates!
  • “The old role” as hiring manager will get back in a new form, with a stronger focus on speed, selection quality and induction;
  • Substantial need to match far more than just education and experience, primarily focus on professionalism, the ability to use the relevant amount of talent;
  • Especially for people working in “the hot job sectors”: Doctor, Nurse, Engineering, we see more expatriate employment also in Europe;
  • Major changes in the way recruiters work, more focus on: The recruiter’s interaction with candidates, a demand for a higher service attitude, relationship building, quality in the recruitment;
  • Note; amount of talent: Many parameters effect like pension age, pension savings, birthrate, longer life, the amount of educated in different segments, lower costs of moving/airline tickets, immigration level. (Europe’s population growth is comparatively low, and its median age comparatively high, in relation to the world’s other continents, especially compared to Asia, Africa and Latin America).

“Job hopping” is still at a high level in Asia, this to achieve a higher salary.

  • Offered employee training & development will focus more on business need;
  • Training in social interaction; the part of empathy is in the high demand especially from Generation Y.
  • Professionalism and attitude become the new great values. Emotional connection, involvement/participation, commitment, and results are put in solid focus;
  • What can we learn from the new employees who enter the organisation?
  • The new knowledge is in high demand;
  • On-going (not 6 or 12 months) evaluation of performance/capacity; between employee and nearest leader;
  • A stronger focus on whether an employee “deliver” or “not deliver”;
  • Far more freelancers, part-time employment, time-limited/project appointments (can be giving problems with legislation in some countries);
  • A need for more focus on workload adjustment is in demand, demands for better planning will change the present.
  • Safety and security related to employee’s safety at work and living in a foreign country are in demand;
  • Unfortuanly we does see more kidnapping cases.
  • Old non-argued salary raise processes will be phased out, a need for connection to engagement, commitment and results are in demand;
  • We see a change in where the monthly salary tasks/adjustment is made in the organisation;
  • The individual employee gets the possibility to make adjustments in workhour, leave and sickness online.
  • We will carry on having focus on Sexual Harassment.
    (Sexual harassment is defined as any unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other physical or verbal misconduct. The Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination in employment on the basis of sex, race, color, national origin or religion. )
Last updated: January 18, 2021 at 1:48 am


Human Resource Development & Management; Talent Development & Management, Learning & Development; Talent Acquisition, Executive Search, Assessment & Selection; Attitude, Behavioural and Aptitude Interviewing; Organizational development, Organization design & planning; Change Management. Reward & Recognition systems; Management Audit, HR transformation; Human Resources Information System; Employee Relation, Engagement, Retention, Surveys, Handbooks.

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