Oxford Economics and the Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM), in partnership with SAP SuccessFactors release the results of two surveys (a U.S.-based survey and an international survey) that outline new HR trends related to workplace changes, talent strategies, technology adoption, and the equity issues that are woven through all of these topics. The report aims to guide leaders on the next steps in HR management for 2021 and beyond.
SHRM President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor Jr., SHRM-SCP said,
“This has been a year of dramatic challenges for organizations around the world, and human resource executives have been at the forefront of navigating their organizations through this unprecedented time.”
“To realize the future of work, human resource executives and their colleagues on the leadership team must accelerate their efforts to establish culture, invest in talent and address diversity, inclusion and equity to drive their organizations forward. While HR executives continue to work through these difficult times, there is a great opportunity to lead meaningful change for the workplace and beyond as the report shows.”
Both surveys were conducted in August and September 2020. Respondents spanned industries, sizes, and locations within ten countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, India, Mexico, Spain, the United States of America, and the United Kingdom.
The new HR trends survey findings build on a series of research reports on the turbulent labor market published during the second quarter of this year, according to SAP.
New HR trends and what to expect in 2021 and beyond
Remote work will be a talent differentiator
The research findings by the Oxford Economics, SHRM, and SAP SuccessFactors present some broad trends. One such trend is that remote work will be a talent differentiator in the coming years as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. In Australia, 61% expect more flexible work policies concerning remote work.
Furthermore, the survey respondents view remote collaboration tools as a valuable long-term investment—most say that these are the top area of their technology investment plans, even among the countries less focused on remote working.
The productivity challenge and the value of investing in learning programs
Overall, respondents said that maintaining productivity under the new ways of working is their biggest obstacle.
However, the surveys also found that few organisations are planning to invest in development and succession programs, despite employee readiness (based on another recent SAP survey). In Australia, less than half of the respondents (34%) said they are planning to invest in learning programs for reskilling and upskilling.
SAP SuccessFactors President Jill Popelka explains the value of investing in reskilling and upskilling learning programs as part of an organisation’s long-term strategies in maintaining productivity:
“The urgency for more agile processes, easier access to data and the ability to support remote work is accelerating digital transformation. It’s critical that leaders develop a culture of continuous learning and inclusion. This will enable workforces to drive needed transformation projects, even during a period of unprecedented change.”
The two-tier workforce will be the new normal
As a result of COVID-19, the global workforce will be split into two categories: people who can work remotely, and those who must be on-site. The survey report shows that more than half of all workers at surveyed companies must be on-site to do their jobs.
This presents a significant challenge for leaders and requires reimagining new ways of HR management to ensure varying employee needs are met while maintaining consistent organizational goals, policies, and culture.