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What were the most significant HR Trends for 2021?

While 2021 was a year of reinventing Human Resources (HR) and solidifying the all-new role, 2022 is going to be about pushing new boundaries through which HR will add value.

From the initial shift towards the full-fledged remote working setting to several lockdowns and major health concerns, to the Great Resignation and talent shortages, the overall disruption of the economies has been continuous. This is why it has become more pivotal to become aware of the ongoing HR trends while understanding how to leverage them towards driving change and adding more business value in 2022 and even beyond.

Why Should We Care?

The last few years have brought about an avalanche of changes to the HR industry. Right from the rise of Artificial Intelligence to the growth of the gig economy, the increasing push towards improved diversity, and the global pandemic –all of these factors have altered millions and redefined the manner in which work gets done. This brings the question, what is in store for the future of the HR industry?

As per a study report, it is estimated that around 60 percent of employees across the globe wish to work remotely full-time after the pandemic. Technology adoption as well as deployment is a major priority as organizations continue seeking the unification of digital-first and dispersed workforces. There are several more such trends and new ways of HR practices that aim at revolutionizing the manner in which organizations function.

What Were the Most Significant HR Trends for 2021?

The Great Resignation has impacted almost every industry out there in 2021. In the modern era, a number of HR leaders are facing inflection point –the manner of attracting, retaining, and engaging the talent it is required to remain successful.

In the coming years, HR departments will be planning to depend on the rising HR trends including mental health, employee well-being, and digital transformation, workplace flexibility, and people analytics, to keep staff on board. Here are some trends HR leaders should expect to see in the coming years:

#Data-driven Decision Making

A top-level strategic focus of Human Resources in the coming years is going to be improved focus on data. The shift to the notion of remote working driven by the pandemic implied that employers had to increasingly depend on tools towards analyzing how productive and engaged employees were. By extension, employees will be capable of turning data insights for direction.

Data is going to serve as the all-new currency with respect to workforce. Data-driven decisions will help in providing understanding of important areas. Firstly, it will reveal how successful HR practices will be in adding ample value at the business or strategic level. Secondly, data will allow HR in identifying ways to improve practices and the overall employee experience. Thirdly, it will allow HR to showcase how its different functions will be aligning with commercial demands and related strategies.

#AI and VR

It is estimated that the adoption of Artificial Intelligence and its enabled software will continue growing in 2022 and beyond.

AI has transformed our day-to-day lives at work and home. It has become an essential part of the modern technology industry. Multiple HR procedures have benefitted by integrating Artificial Intelligence in the modern HR technology –right from recruitment to employee development, and engagement.

AI would continue enabling HR in the following aspects:

  • Coming across potential causes for higher employee exits and turnover
  • Boosting employee skill development and training through VR (Virtual Reality) and AR (Augmented Reality)
  • Identifying top performers along with the right development positions and needs
  • Coming across the most suitable keywords for marketing open job positions
  • Accelerating the recruitment process by spending less time looking for the right candidates while improving the quality of new candidates
  • Improving candidate engagement and experience
  • Allowing HR to track the employees by making use of employee engagement chatbots, surveys, and so more

AI offers a dedicated platform for engaging employees of a smart and advanced workplace culture.

#Concentrating on Mental Health and Well-being

It is now time to ensure mental well-being of employees. HR plays a unique role in the given aspect. Organizations all around are rethinking holistic ways to come up with employee wellness benefits and programs –along with mental health, physical wellness, flexible work schedules, elder care, child care, and so more.

The trend to maximizing employee mental health and well-being is going to continue in 2022 with employers investing in the well-being initiatives of the employees.

#Soft and Digital Skills

The right technological skills will help in streamlining business processes and adding value to the clients or company by coming across trends. It also helps in aligning decisions on the basis of business strategy. However, it is equally important to pay attention to the soft skills that technology is not capable of matching. It would include identifying aligned talent in the organization. As it is important to hone the digital skills, ensure that attention is paid to interpersonal skills at the same time.

#Using Creativity

As HR professionals, it is imperative to consider creativity while understanding how creativity can be utilized. Innovative and creative individuals are always seeking solutions to push the overall boundaries. They will be energized and flexible. Therefore, they will focus greatly on improving the overall productivity within the organization.

#Critical Thinking

Workers in the HR department are responsible for hiring new talent, analyzing which employees will get a raise, and deciding the right consequences for employees who might have violated company policy. Thinking critically will involve the ability to determine a concept objectively while considering the facts and different perspectives to reach out to a logical conclusion.


Irrespective of the industry, HR departments will enter the new chapter of life with the latest trends in the industry. These digital solutions will help in creating more meaningful connections between employees and the workplaces.

Kevin Legara
Author: Kevin Legara