14 Key HR Lessons Learned in 2021

Looking back, 2021 has been a year in which HR professionals at all levels learned critical lessons. Here are some of the areas we HR folks have struggled with this year:

1. Show employees the company’s purpose beyond profits. People join and stay with a company only if their personal values are in line with those of the company. The purpose can’t just be about making money. The company must not only do well, but also do good.

 2. Find new ways to attract and retain talent. The key to attracting and retaining employees is to listen to their needs and accommodate them. The Great Resignation is real and employers are seeing and feeling it both at the corporate level and at beyond. Many employees are still hesitant to return to work.

3. Create a safe work environment. This is about creating workspaces where employees feel safe both physically and psychologically. Employers learned this early in 2019, recognizing that the majority of its workforce was a combination of younger Millennials and Generation Z members who demand that their workspaces be something more than just a place to work.

 4. Be more flexible. A recent survey stated that employees want their employers to be more flexible. This requires us to think differently about how work gets done. Corporate employees said they wanted more flexibility on when they come to the office and when they work from home.

 5. Create an organization that rewards internal talent. The most-sustainable companies typically elevate employees from within and demonstrate a clear path to promotion.

  6. Create an inviting workplace. One logical way to encourage employees to return to the workplace is to make the workplace look and feel more inviting.

7. Offer opportunities to learn and grow. Learning and development opportunities have got to become priorities for employers. Employees want to be productive and they want to have the ability to learn and grow within their organization.

     8. Watch out for the mental well-being of workers. 2021 showed us that one of the main reasons employees are leaving their workplace is burn-out and stress. Companies who have been successful at retaining their employees have provided a clear path for access to therapists for their people, at no cost to the employee.

9. Offer easy and clear digital scheduling. Just as consumers want access to quick and easy digital actions, so do employees. It’s all about making sure that their schedules fit their lifestyles.

10. Be inclusive. Hiring a workforce that is reflective of your customer base has never been more critical.

   11. Participate in a power shift to employees. The role of the HR department is no longer primarily administrative, but is instead about engaging and retaining employees. What experience are we creating for people in the organization? The power shift has gone from the organization to the employee.

 12. Respond to inflation. Wages should reflect the real world—and the current inflationary environment.

    13. Improve perks. Longer-term incentives—like stock equity grants at every level—have become more common at public companies. Other employee perks need to be attractive, too.

14. Support employees who are caregivers. More companies are finding ways to financially assist employees who are family caregivers—particularly those who are caring for parents. This could come through subsidizing memberships with services like Care.com or offering an allowance to support caregiving duties.

2022 is certainly going to be an interesting year for HR professionals, and we are here to help, whenever possible. Please feel free to visit our website at www.strategic-hrsolutions.com anytime.

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