As we say goodbye to one of the most challenging years ever, what are the key takeaways for employers? Will the workplace eventually return to some variation on “normal”? Let’s dig into ongoing risks and opportunities that could help your business innovate, pivot and thrive in 2021.
Employees should get comfortable
2020 has certainly changed how we work. Remote work for tech and professional service jobs isn’t going anywhere in the near future. There have been many high-profile companies officially announce they’ve gone completely remote, even post pandemic. For others, returning to the office will be a slow, phased process only after the majority of Americans are vaccinated.
Employees are maxed out on Zoom, feeling isolated and overworked. Find ways to connect with smaller groups to foster a strong employee culture and build team resilience. Break things up with a social hour, games or lunch on the company. Encourage employees to completely “disconnect” after their workday so they don’t burn out. Finally, be flexible and say thank you.
New hiring options
You can broaden your talent pool options since geography no longer limits your hiring decisions. Give yourself ample time to find the right addition since the process will take longer. You may want to adjust your vetting process if you can’t meet candidates in person.
A continuing trend will be hybrid working scenarios. Some employees may need some in-person connection to work at their best. It’s also a critical component for building trust, emotional bonds and a shared work culture. Other employees may have limiting health concerns that makes remote work important to maintain. Work arrangements should be customized to the individual with as much flexibility as possible.
Surge in retirement
Baby boomers are either getting fed up or forced out. In the third quarter of 2020, 28.6 million left to retire and we expect the trend to continue. At the mid- and executive levels, this could create a challenging experience gap. On the flip side, this leaves room to bring in new talent or promote from within.
Progress not just promises
Tragic events from 2020 have shed new light on pronounced racial and economic inequities for black and brown communities. From police reform to a diverse, inclusive workforce, Americans are demanding meaningful change. Research proves that diversity drives innovation. It’s a moral imperative that can also benefit the bottom line. Expect to see workplace diversity and inclusion programs expand in 2021.
With the rise of remote work, millions of Americans are thinking about moving away from expensive cities. This could trigger compensation adjustments, depending on the local labor market and demand for their skills.
Ignite team bonds
It will take a little time for employees to adjust once they are back in the office, even if it’s not a traditional 5-day schedule. In anticipation of this transition, assess which office perks reinforce your brand, support team building and fuel creativity. Employees will crave these exchanges and companies that deliver will have the advantage.
A different perspective
Many companies have suffered a massive blow and rebuilding will take time. Cutting costs may have included layoffs. Those are expected to continue and some jobs may never return. Even in the face of an unprecedented crisis, America is resilient and will rebound. For talent, the pandemic has changed what is most valued. Stability is even more important and companies that provide benefit packages with 401(k) matches and better health plans will attract the best talent.
Chicago PEO, MidwestHR, is a leading CPEO in Illinois (certified professional employer organization). Clients outsource their HR to our team of experts so they can focus on growing their company. Our a la carte pricing allows clients to choose if they want us to manage all or some of the HR functions including benefits, HR guidance, payroll and taxes, training, workers comp, retirement, hiring/layoff/firing and more. Having partnered with clients for over twenty years, we stay current with emerging products, services and trends that may impact businesses. Give us a call at 630-836-3000 to learn more.