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HR Trends 2021: Top 4 Pandemic Survival Skills


The COVID crisis offers companies an unprecedented opportunity to change – and HR leaders need to drive that change. These are the core competencies you’ll need to navigate the uncharted waters of 2021.




Self-leadership, or personal accountability, is equally important at all levels, from the actual leaders to the most junior employees. When it comes to generating ideas, solving problems and getting things done, we’ve learned the hard way that endless Zoom meetings won’t cut it. We have to rely on individual judgement and accountability.


In 2021, people will need to take the initiative to solve problems on their own, using critical thinking, and reaching out for help as needed, and performance management plans will need to change to reflect that.




Having said that, the pandemic has also taught us to value two-way conversation with employees more than ever before. Pulse surveys, check-ins, and inviting continuous feedback and suggestions have given us a detailed picture of employee wants and needs, where our messaging is being received loud and clear, and where it’s failing.


While these two points seem opposite, they actually both come down to the same thing: treating employees like the autonomous adults they are.


Diversity, inclusion and equity


Diversity and inclusion have long been buzzwords, but now they’re vital, with home working highlighting inequalities and forcing employers to recognise the need for flexibility. Women in particular have been under severe pressure, with record numbers of working women dropping out of the workforce. Unless we want to lose half our talent pool, wider societal issues like the distribution of childcare and housework will have to be addressed.


In the conversation about diversity and inclusion, it’s also important not to overlook workers in the burgeoning gig economy, whose needs and contributions often aren’t captured in HR reports.




With the pandemic rolling on into its second year, it’s important for stressed, exhausted and overburdened HR leaders to take care of themselves as well as their employees. Nobody can run on adrenalin forever, so don’t be a hero – you’ll only burn yourself out.


This is particularly important for leaders because you set the tone for the whole workforce. If you want to improve their experience, you have to start by improving your own.

Posted by: Morgan Spencer