It is clear that in such uncertain times, change is the only certainty we have. Today’s extreme dynamism commands a level of resolution, determination, and adaptability solely humans can deliver.  

As disruptions always reset the course forward, COVID-19 showed that people and organizations could have enormous growth under the stress of a crisis. The real trial for many will be to maintain that impulse during 2021 and create new ways to flourish in the long term. In an environment that varies all the time, methods, and time frames to reach goals must also change — making this adjustment depend on an organization’s willingness to convert and remain utterly human at heart.  

Human capital trends for 2021 focus on the essence of what makes an organization a social enterprise empowered to prosper. More than thinking and acting differently, this is a different reality, where every decision is taken from a human angle first. In such volatile circumstances, constant reinvention demands building a human focus, which in 2021 is no longer just an innovative idea but a command for growth.  

From surviving to thriving  

A “survival” mindset observes disturbances as a once-in-time crisis, expecting that the organization reverts to “business as usual” once the problems are over. Organizations with a “survival” mindset strive to deal with the actuality that the world inflicts; it’s about doing what’s necessary to succeed today. In contrast, when an organization is determined to flourish despite the unexpected disruptions, they welcome new human capital trends and embrace each new reality. To achieve goals and prosper, organizations must take advantage of new facts to redesign patterns in ways that were not possible before. By adopting human capital trends, enterprises choose new realities and create pathways to thrive today and control tomorrow. 

A recent survey exposed that organizations prepared for the COVID-19 crisis were already embracing a “thrive” mindset of using disruption as a chance to drive the organization forward in 2021. The 15 percent of executives who said that their organization was “very prepared” for the pandemic were 2.2 times more likely to whirl investments for changing business requests. This group was also twice as ready to use technology to remodel work. They were twice as likely to accept the importance of organizing work to promote accelerated decision-making. And most significantly, three times more ready to leverage worker adjustability and manage future disturbances. If companies want to prosper and dominate the market tomorrow, dynamic human capital trends need to be in place.

human capital trends - work transformation

Disruption as an opportunity to embody human qualities  

Many companies wonder how to put themselves in a position to thrive while focusing on making the adjustments needed to survive. However, as companies are determined to grow instead of merely surviving, solutions need to become dynamic. Human capital trends for 2021 show that disruptions could be an opportunity to incorporate human attributes into a holistic strategy that urges a change of mindset. Below we share the prominent trends that will make a difference in any organization.  

1. Well-being into the design of work  

To provide a future where workers can feel and operate at their best, organizations need to integrate well-being into work design. The integration must be accomplished consistently at the individual, team, and organizational levels. Leaders must guide the transformation to make a significant difference in every role. It’s important to realize that designing well-being into work is not solely under the responsibility of HR. Therefore, technology leaders will have to demonstrate a high level of commitment along with HR and business units, while technology becomes inherent in every aspect of how people work.  

As company leaders embrace their duties, they will ensure that technologies, workflows, and processes promote worker well-being. Taking a step ahead by facilitating new tools to advance workers’ health, performance, and quality of life can be a great asset to accelerate the transformation. These practices can improve well-being by allowing workers to eliminate distractions, reduce tensions, connect with others, develop confidence, and learn faster. As work itself is evolving rapidly, the methods to support individual and team well-being must readjust in parallel. It’s not about reaching a work-life balance anymore since the pandemic has shown that we need to combine them efficiently.  

2. Liberating worker potential  

Empowering employees with the freedom to do what they choose is the first smart move organizations can grasp. It might take a short while to understand that staff potential is not about what they’re qualified or assigned to do. Once workers feel a sense of autonomy in creating their methods to solve any business obstacle, they become more involved. 

Companies that genuinely want to unleash human potential should think about adopting AI-enabled technologies to understand unregulated data from inside and outside the company. Collecting and operating on workforce data provides a crude vision of staff skills across the entire ecosystem, a great start to acknowledge what needs to improve right away. 

Organizations must generate strategies and programs for workforce evolution and placement as active and versatile as the times we face. An organization’s ability to establish new outcomes and unlock human potential will dictate how successful their transformation is in 2021.

3. Superteams  

Keeping in mind that teams are becoming the driving unit of organizational performance is crucial. In fact, teams motivate individuals and challenge them to develop more useful and productive ideas. Groups can learn and adapt faster than individual workers; they can change things and get work done despite harsh and critical circumstances. Many leaders are now focusing on creating superteams, combining people and technology, optimizing their mutual capacities to seek incredible scale and speed results.

The most exceptional value of superteams lies in their potential to re-architect work, using technology to change an operational structure and maximize each employee’s distinctly human abilities. Superteams of humans and technology can unfasten organizational potential and deliver extraordinary results together in 2021, more than humans or machines could accomplish independently.  

4. Directing new workforce approaches 

As we enter a world where it is eminent to improve old work models, organizations need to use workforce insights to set new directions throughout 2021. To effectively establish new approaches, they need to be dynamic and action oriented. Understanding the labor force can help managers make better and faster resolutions based on relevant, up-to-date insights into their workforce capabilities. The more accurately an organization knows where to find and access those needed capabilities, the more efficiently it will empower people to fill operational gaps. 

Consequently, a holistic view of its people’s sentiments, norms, and behaviors will help understand its culture, specific risks and decide on actions to fulfill its ambitions. These insights will allow organizations to challenge their efforts and shift their methods as required continually. Collecting data during 2021 should focus on using information to take significant steps in approaching new outcomes.  

5. Re-architecting work 

During the pandemic, HR has shown us the importance of the role they play. As companies rise from the crisis, HR has the opportunity to re-architect work by assisting organizations to attain a position where they can thrive. When thoughtfully done, re-architecting work can bring new results that create positive transformations.

Changing the approach to work, teams, and capabilities will result in better productivity, improved agility, and notable innovation. These actions must be implanted into regular organization’s operations and not taken as a one-time event. By adopting this role, HR can extend its leadership and influence across the entire organization, accelerating broader business and human goals. As HR implements this mindset, workers will be more empowered and organizations more resilient and ready to achieve remarkable outcomes.  

Welcoming new realities  

As companies and individuals welcome new human capital trends and future realities, setting a purpose to direct an organization through constant disruption is crucial. By embracing purpose and leading with a shared goal, workers, teams, and managers will understand what the company is trying to accomplish.

To bring out human potential, leadership is decisive. This past year we’ve learned that putting people at the core of corporate resolutions about work and personnel will be rewarded by staying ahead of any future disruptions during 2021.