Digital Mind

COVID-19 changes leadership and hiring practices forever

In 2021, at least 21% of US information workers will work primarily from home, compared with 7% in 2019. Some 47% of North American managers surveyed during the pandemic anticipate a permanently higher rate of full-time remote employees, and 53% of employees say they want to work from home more often even after the pandemic.

Remote work will rise to 300% of pre-COVID levels.

Most companies will employ a hybrid work model, with fewer people in the office and more full-time remote employees. As a major portion of the workforce develops the skills and preference for effective remote work, they will come to expect a work-from-anywhere strategy from their company rather than an exception-driven remote-work policy. Expect this to reshape talent acquisition, moving right into talent poaching, as the most desirable workers seek location-agnostic work opportunities.

Expectations have been reset for HR leaders, just like they have for employees. The pandemic thrust HR into the middle of transformations that required coordinating remote-work tech with IT, rejiggering budgets midyear with the CFO, and completely altering talent acquisition and training models. Newly emboldened, the best will use their improved connection to IT to ask for better tools for analyzing and acting on workforce data; the best of the best will seek out AI-enriched tools that will inform workforce policy and guide specific employees to better outcomes.

This means more budget and more potential conflict among senior leaders. But HR will have a compelling argument: Chief among their new interests will be using these tools to boost employee wellness. This will help manage the new compliance issues associated with working remotely — just wait until the occupational health and safety claims for injuries that occur while working from home pile up — and build the EX environment companies need as a bridge to post-pandemic work life.

Article based on Forrester Predictions 2021