Hiring Workers and Learning Trends for 2021

Learn about key trends in Talent Hire and Learning for 2021

The report, ‘Workforce and Learning Trends 2021: Accelerating Through the Curve’, is based on a 400-person survey of US human resources and workforce learning professionals, qualitative interviews with L&D experts, as well as a review of market trends and literature.

Worker resilience is a priority for companies

The pandemic heightened concerns about work-life balance and morale in many ways, with the struggles of vulnerable workers (the elderly, working mothers and fathers, low-wage workers) becoming more visible as a result of the crisis. Even though these groups are still suffering from the effects of the pandemic, it’s encouraging that organizations are now becoming more aware and focused on how to help these groups based on their actual, multidimensional needs. The focus on wellbeing and resilience may then go hand in hand.

These needs can be gauged and tracked through technology investments. A survey of HR managers shows that 38% of those who responded provide work-from-home stipends for employees, and 41% hired new employees in IT support, network engineering, software development, or cybersecurity.

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Businesses take steps to improve diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)

The last year also marked a turning point in terms of social justice, and the future will likely be defined by initiatives aligned with diversity, equity, and inclusion. More than half of the HR professionals surveyed anticipate their organizations will pursue plans like these throughout the year, with plans designed to be more “intentional and accountable.”

In particular, large firms expect to implement a range of new DEI initiatives, while medium firms expect to implement 47% of new DEI initiatives, and small firms expect to implement 35% of new DEI initiatives. According to HR professionals, 38% believe implementing such initiatives is the right thing to do, 36% believe they are strategic or good for business, and 27% believe they are a mixture of both.

After last year’s public support of DEI and social justice causes by many companies, organizations are still promoting their actions and holding themselves accountable. The diversity commitment of companies is becoming more proactive. In addition, they tie that into how belonging plays a big role since diversity won’t work without inclusion.

In small, medium, and large businesses, several obstacles could get in the way of these DEI efforts, including training and mentoring, identifying goals and metrics, accountability, and employee buy-in.

Managed hiring services are being sought by businesses

Managed hiring services allow you to efficiently manage the vacancies within your company. We can manage and organize this integral part of your operations with our talent acquisition facilities, so you can trust us to find and hire the best employees for your company.

The new trend in education is continuous learning

CompTIA found that 75% of HR leaders intend to increase their use of tools to personalize talent development, indicating a more targeted, specific approach to employee development will be the norm going forward. Although this is a positive sign, CompTIA says their discussions and interviews point to a different L&D need – continuous learning – and that “personalized” learning has often led to segmentation.

Continual learning, while messy, is an important strategy for better understanding employees. Training based on events was destroyed by the pandemic. There is an ongoing relationship between the employee and the organization when it comes to education. The job function is important, but their career also plays a role.

CompTIA suggests the following examples of continuous learning:

An adaptive learning technology that allows people to learn at their own pace by skipping ahead, paused, repeated, or stopped out where necessary. Learning record software that documents and credits a wide range of learning experiences. Learning experience platforms that provide anytime, anywhere, “streaming channel”-style access to content. Social learning platforms allow employees to connect and collaborate in a more personal way. Employee experience platforms that allow employees to access all HR functions through self-service.

There is a broadening and branching of alternative learning pathways

The leaders surveyed are mainly interested in making their organizations more accessible or less dependent on ‘traditional’ talent pools. A majority of senior leaders (57%) expect that the four-year degree will continue to be devalued. However, this is only the first step.

In the job listings, we don’t see enough alternative credentials. The degree requirement should be removed as a first step. Their next step is to determine what aligns with the skills they need.

According to many leaders (43%) and sufficient evidence that candidates of all types can be successful (43%), it is probably either a better idea to relax or eliminate the four-year degree requirement. Employers may be discouraged from taking this step due to a variety of reasons, the most common of which is the general organizational resistance to change (44%).

Human-digital teams become more effective with AI

In HR, leaders predict that AI will play a significant role in future workplace interactions, especially in their area. According to 80% of respondents, AI will have either a moderate or significant impact on HR in the coming year, with senior leaders more likely to agree.

As a result, 68% of these individuals are exploring or using this technology to help them develop their careers, 71% are using it to assess candidate competency, 64% are using it for onboarding, and 71% are using it to schedule interviews and engage candidates.

The collaboration between digital and human workers must be underpinned by learning and development. Learning and development should not be perceived as a “cost center that teaches workers how to use new technology.” Instead, leaders should place learning at the core of their strategy.

The learning and development strategy must integrate technology, as well as understand how to build up the human elements for effective implementation. As companies move toward strategic learning and development, they are no longer just throwing things over the wall. For L&D, more and different must be understood: AI changes the way questions are asked and the skills that are required. A curriculum must include more than just skills. It’s teaching us that we need to think more critically. Before we can start using these results, we need to consider the data that’s coming in and ask important questions.

Future of Work and Learning:

No matter what the future holds, it appears clear that technology, learning, DEI, and innovation will be at the core of this trend for optimistic change. Nevertheless, as CompTIA researchers also point out, nothing can be guaranteed.

There’s a big caveat here: we shouldn’t assume that all will be well after the pandemic.

After we complete this report in March 2021, a return to normal seems imminent, especially as effective vaccines become widely available. We also recognize, however, that March 2020 was a reminder to never take anything for granted.

These trends aren’t guaranteed to play out in the immediate future, nor can we predict how they will affect future workplaces.