HR Trends Emerging During Covid-19

Posted in : HR Updates on 3 March 2021
Olga Pollock
firmus energy
Issues covered: Coronavirus; HR Updates; Remote Working; Online Learning

The Covid-19 pandemic has forever left its mark on how we live and work. As the vaccination roll-out is well underway we begin to cautiously look forward to post-Covid times. It is unlikely however that things will ever return to normalcy and there are some trends that have emerged as an inevitable result of the changes that the world of work has had to face.

Here are some of the trends that I have seen come to the fore as a result of the pandemic:

The shift to homeworking

Few of us would have imagined a year ago that for many, home would become the new office. This has promoted some employers such as Twitter and Facebook to allow their staff to work from home permanently. While this may not work for every organisation, it is probably likely that many will adopt a more hybrid approach offering flexibility and ‘the best of both worlds’ to staff. Such moves should greatly enhance the ability to attract and retain talent.

Increased use of remote-working technology

Technology has played a crucial role in the shift to remote working. Meetings, interviews, inductions and performance appraisals are now taking place online. HR have had to rethink many of its practices which traditionally were carried out in-person. Activities such as performance management and even dismissal meetings have had to take place in a digital setting. Other activities like recruiting and on-boarding have also had to adapt to the virtual world. Digital recruitment platforms have offered a lifeline to some HR departments which traditionally would have relied on manual systems and face-to-face selection processes. Video interviewing provides huge flexibility to both the employer and candidates, and for some organisations may even replace traditional hiring methods.

Staying connected

For HR and line managers, it has been harder to check in on staff and keep a finger on the pulse of the workforce. It has been widely reported that many employees have felt isolated from their colleagues and have missed the camaraderie.  We have had to be creative and rely on virtual tools to stay connected with our people and maintain morale and motivation levels.

Reinventing our health & wellbeing strategies

Pre-Covid, most health and wellbeing interventions would have involved close contact activities such as wellbeing briefing sessions, group fitness challenges, health checks or yoga classes. Come March 2020, everything grinded to a halt! HR departments were forced to reconsider their wellbeing strategies and team challenges were replaced with virtual, individually based ones. Online webinars become the norm and even some health providers were able to offer virtual health checks and remote GP referrals. The focus became about fostering a culture of togetherness, despite physical distance.

Meeting learning and development needs

L&D which was often carried out in classroom environments has now been replaced with digital interventions such as webinars, Zooms, eLearning courses or via some other suitable delivery platform. Again, these offer huge flexibility to learners where they have the ability to learn at their own pace and convenience and negate the need to travel off-site to a training location.

Putting HR in the driving seat

HR has been thrust into the driver’s seat as companies turn to them for answers to the huge uncertainty that has prevailed. We have been at the forefront of decision-making; facilitating communications, managing concerns and supporting peoples’ emotional and physical wellbeing. And all the while having no manual to turn to.

It is likely that many of these trends will continue well into 2021 and beyond and it is hoped that the benefits of IT will continue to prevail. The digital world that we now live in has allowed us to embrace technology to a new level.

 It is hard to imagine how well we would have adapted to the global pandemic 15 or even 10 years ago without the advances of technology and video conferencing. I expect the feelings of isolation and disengagement would have been much greater back then. Technology really is a wonderful thing!

Useful reading

Future Trends and the Road Ahead in Human Resources

The Growth Of Agile Working – A Look At Policy And Practice Considerations

And if you liked this article...

Legal Island is running a Re-skilling HR for the Virtual Employee event across 2 half-days on 20th and 21st October 2021. The session, which has received excellent feedback from participants, is led by expert HR trainer Michelle Halloran. Learn more at


This article is correct at 03/03/2021

The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.

Olga Pollock
firmus energy

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