These are the HR trends for 2021

Monday 18 January 2021

Identifying trends goes hand in hand with making predictions. When we looked ahead last year, no one could have imagined that the trends foreseen at the time would be completely colored by Covid 19. We knew that as a result of the WAB we had to redefine the fixed-flex mix and the economic consequences of the corona crisis this became even more important. We also knew that the importance of the employee experience was growing, but that it became so crucial, and thus became dominated by remote working, surprised us all.


We are now looking ahead to 2021. Which trends can you, as an employer, already take into account?

1. Strong labor market development

The Dutch economy has been hit hard as a result of the corona crisis. From economic prosperity and historically low unemployment, Nederland went into recession and increasing job losses in a very short time. The economy is expected to partially recover, but unemployment will rise further in 2021. Een parallel development is that many Dutch people will leave the labor market in the coming years: 1.9 million baby boomers will leave in the next 8 years. This is offset by 1.6 million new employees. The labor market will therefore remain tense, with rising unemployment on the one hand and difficult to fill vacancies on the other. Training and retraining and flexibilisation and digitization lead to a more hybrid labor market. Conventional thinking about terms and conditions of employment and collective labor agreements will have an obstructive effect; there will be a visible shift towards concepts aimed at flexibility, vitality and sustainability.

2. The need for strategic workforce planning

If this year has taught us anything, it is the importance of remaining agile as an employer. HR trend research shows that the labor market is in the top 3 of much-discussed topics in Dutch boardrooms.
Strategic personnel planning can be viewed from the perspective of quantitative and qualitative objectives. The factor that will receive more emphasis from 2021 is the flexible component. How do fixed and flex optimally match each other? Are you able to overcome the imaginary fence surrounding the flex workers and look at your workforce from an integral perspective?

3. Development of individual employees

The past year has forced many organizations to go back to basics and focus on the task. As a result of working remotely, we also started to work much more functionally. Training and development processes were often put on the back burner. At the same time, the need for coaching among employees is increasing as they experience more pressure and may be worried. Many organizations realize that they cannot postpone investing in development for too long. Employers who have applied for the NOW scheme are even obliged to encourage employees to take further training, in order to keep them optimally employable for the labor market. Development is therefore expected to become an important theme.

4. Digitization of HR processes

At the time of the intelligent lockdown, many organizations had to adapt their way of working; they had to digitize more quickly. This has accelerated the development of digital tools. We see apps and tools emerging that are not only efficient, but also intuitive and fun. It is in line with a focus on recruitment to a focus on the further development of existing employees. Een another perspective is that of performance management; managers want to stay connected with the development and performance of their employees, also from a distance.

5. Meaningful work

Some organizations make more social impact in their core activity than others. At the same time, more and more organizations are becoming aware of their influence on society, and of the importance of expressing this in a good way. Not least because their employees ask that of them: employees want to work for companies that make a positive contribution to our society. This can be in, for example, climate neutral working, or in inclusiveness. The fact is that for an increasing group of employees, not only salary or training opportunities are pull factors, but also meaningful work, and that does not only apply to the millennials among us.
When the corona storm has passed, we can hopefully see that it has also brought us positive things. It would be great if we could take on a role for ourselves as an employer that contributes to this.

Would you like to know more or discuss the impact of these trends on your organization? Please feel free to contact us.


Sources: cpb, central government, Berenschot, trends in HR.