2021 brought another year of turbulent and disruptive circumstances to the workplace as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Below, we discuss 5 prominent HR trends that emerged during 2020, that are likely to shape the dynamic of future workplaces worldwide. 

1. The Great Resignation

With 42% of Irish employees likely to leave their job in 2022, The Great Resignation is perhaps the most surprising trend to come out of 2021. The high percentage of employees wanting to leave their current job has been linked to a growing dissatisfaction with work practices and ways of working, Most research indicated that the reasons employees are leaving their roles are not salary-based. While earning a living from work is essential, a sense of purpose is becoming increasingly important for people in terms of the kind of work that they do. It will be interesting to observe the full extent of The Great Resignation in 2022.

2. Permanent Hybrid Working Model

Since March 2020, the concept of remote working was introduced and soon became a favourable working arrangement with some employees. For employees, full flexibility is gained for the location of their working hours which can be adapted to suit their individual lifestyles. Whilst for employers, productivity and engagement are more likely to be optimised when employees are working at their preferred location and schedule and can avail of attracting and retaining the top talent if they offer a hybrid approach to working. Since the pandemic continues to evolve coming into 2022, it is in the interest of employers to set a hybrid working model as a long-term option for employees. 

3. Focus on Employee Experience & Well-Being 

With remote working in worrying and unprecedented circumstances, the employee experience and employee well-being have been challenged significantly. The lack of physical interaction with colleagues in a remote working environment in comparison to full offices pre-COVID has led to a reduced employee experience whilst also affecting their mental well-being. Employers have had to prioritise their employees more than ever before during the pandemic with additional support through flexible working arrangements and mental health supports.

4. Talent Retention Strategies

In the wake of The Great Resignation trend, it is crucial that employers seek to retain their top talent within their organisation. Talent retention can be achieved by nurturing and growing their current talent through skill development and training. By facilitating training and development opportunities for employees to enhance their skill set and knowledge, employee satisfaction and motivation will increase with employees feeling more valued whilst envisioning a long-term future at the organisation. 

5. Workplace Diversity, Equality & Inclusion

Whilst workplace diversity, equality, and inclusion have been on the rise for the last several years, 2021 HR trends appeared to specifically focus on adopting a more inclusive workplace. Currently, 70% of organisations believe they effectively attract and retain diverse employees, yet only 11% really understand what it is. Alongside The Great Resignation and competitive talent retention in the current market, employers need to ensure they have strong diversity, equality, and inclusion policies in place to be viewed as a reputable employer.