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Three HR developments that came out of 2020 that are here to stay

Posted on 19/04/2021 by Samantha Johnston


The pandemic has had a notable impact on business.  These are the 3 key areas that we have seen develop over the course of last year that will impact how organisations work in 2021.

Diversity and Inclusion

The tragic death of George Floyd last year and subsequent growth of the BLM movement has rightfully encouraged everyone to look at diversity and inclusion differently.  We have seen an increase in organisations showcasing their commitment to D&I and having more open and frank discussions.  Whilst the BLM movement has been a real catalyst for this change it has opened further discussion around all areas of diversity and how every protected characteristic is represented and included within an organisation.

Organisations now see D&I as business critical to success.  Those who did not have a diversity and inclusion policy now have one, and those that did spent time last year reviewing their policies. In our recent job seeker survey, 64% of respondents said that an organisations diversity policy was important for them when applying for jobs.  We are now having more conversations than ever before with clients on how they can improve diversity ensuring staff reflect the diversity of their student bodies, service users and the wider community.  We are also being asked to provide more advice on how organisations can make their recruitment processes inclusive.

Utilising internal resources

Jobs are changing and it is estimated that up to 85% of the jobs that today's university students will have in 11 years haven't been invented yet (Institute for future). This is a real challenge for education providers who are trying to keep up with this change and are designing education courses for jobs that don’t exist yet.

The pandemic shifted this forward, and many jobs became obsolete last year.  With restricted budgets we saw a shift in the way organisations approached managing resources.  Organisations started looking at their internal resources and what transferable skills that their existing employee base have.  Could these be transferred into busier areas with the organisation?  LinkedIn data showed that since April 2020, internal hiring has been nearly 20% higher than it was during the same time in 2019.There was trend towards upskilling the existing workforce into new areas in high demand and job roles became much more flexible and adaptable. 

To be competitive and fast moving, adapting your existing workforce is key.  We are seeing this reflected on job descriptions and this will be a continued trend in recruitment.  According to a LinkedIn survey the five key skills that recruiters now look for are adaptability, creativity, collaboration, persuasion and emotional intelligence.  Interestingly these are all soft skills as these are harder to teach, whereas hard skills can be learnt.  Recruiting soft skills is something we expect to continue to rise in recruitment.   If you can maximise on your employees and be able to react to change it will help you stay ahead of the competition.

You can read more on hard, soft and transferable skills – do you know the difference here.

Flexible working

The pandemic accelerated change and last year we were seeing up to 10-20 years of change in one year. We had already started to see a rise in home-working, but the pandemic expedited that last year.  We have proved during this pandemic that you can have successful high performing teams whilst working flexibly.  Whether we return to the office or adopt hybrid working cultures one thing is certain, homeworking in one form or another is here to stay.

The home schooling and childcare situation has encouraged organisations to think more creatively and flexibly about how and when the work can be done.  We are seeing an increase in remote roles, part –time roles, job sharing and an openness to flexible hours.

Organisations have recognised that to stay competitive and open up the talent pool, being as open minded as you can be on how that role can be worked is key.  We survey candidates every year on what benefits they are looking for and flexible working always features highly as a key motivator.  LinkedIn also reported that the rise in remote working can help organisations become more diverse.

If you would like to discuss current market trends within non-profit and public sector organisations and how that could impact your organisation Contact me on or 020 7198 6090.