Top HR challenges in 2021 and how to overcome them. The most pressing issues in human resource management and what organizations can do about them.

Employers made difficult decisions to navigate COVID-19 in 2020 but it’s unclear what the lasting impact of those changes will be.

A new report by Lattice, The State of People Strategy: The New World of Work, asked HR leaders what their most crucial initiatives are for the 12 months ahead and what challenges they’re most concerned about.

Top HR Challenges in 2021 and How to Overcome Them

HR leaders said their most important initiatives in the next 12 months are: 

  • 48 percent said employee engagement
  • 46 percent said training and enabling managers
  • 44 percent said diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) programs
  • 37 percent said learning and development 
  • 33 percent said performance management

Most of these initiatives have to do with adapting procedures and processes established to limit the risk of COVID-19 while remaining operational, with the exception of DE&I programs which have become an organizational priority for many companies after the events of this year underscored the pervasiveness of systemic racism and inequality. 

The top challenges HR teams face are:

  • 58 percent said emotional exhaustion (for themselves or their team members)
  • 54 percent said an overwhelming number of projects and responsibilities
  • 51 percent said employee morale/retention
  • 43 percent said budget constraints
  • 29 percent said low perceived value of HR’s worth in an organization

Health and wellness programs can help HR teams overcome their challenges in 2021, if they can find the right mix of benefits within their budget constraints. Benefits that help employees improve aspects of their overall health, like mental health benefits and financial wellness programs, can build resilience and help employees both manage and avoid exhaustion and burnout. 

Communication is going to be critical to organizational success next year, especially as many workplaces plan to continue working remotely indefinitely. Finding the right balance between professional check-ins where supervisors touch base with employees’ workloads, productivity and engagement are going to be just as important as personal check-ins where supervisors ask employees how they’re doing with everything going on and encourage them to ask for support when they need it. 

The businesses that are most adaptive and communicative stand to come out of 2021 on top. Effective HR teams focused on their most important initiatives and highly aware of the challenges they’ll face will help their organizations beat their business goals in the new year.

More on Topics Related to Top HR Challenges in 2021 and How to Overcome Them

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How Employee Health and Wellness Programs Help Build Resiliency