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2021 HR Trends Affected by Ongoing Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on HR priorities and trends. Last year ushered in this change but there is plenty more to come in 2021 as we see the roll-out of the vaccine and the lingering effects of the virus on employees and the economy.


2021 HR trends affected by the ongoing pandemic

The pandemic has affected each of us in our own ways. Parents were asked to take on a much bigger role in their children’s education, adult children were no longer able to visit with their parents in nursing homes, thousands lost their jobs and others were asked to work from home. Not to mention, the loss of our regular social and entertainment routines. People are struggling with mental health more than ever because of the stresses caused by the pandemic. Data from the Kaiser Family Foundation shows the grim reality: 36% of adults reported symptoms of anxiety or depression in June 2020, compared to 11% in June 2019.


Employers are seeing their employees bringing the stress and anxiety they are feeling in their lives into the workplace more than ever before and this is leading to a shift in approach. Employers are finding ways to support their employees as whole people rather than simply their workplace experience. Here are two major ways businesses will work to support their employees in 2021:


1. Businesses will budget for employee mental health services


Businesses benefit when they invest in their employees’ mental health and wellness. Research has consistently shown that employees who feel well are less likely to call in sick, are more engaged and productive, and have higher workplace satisfaction. This year, more businesses than ever will invest in health and wellness programs such as offering paid “mental health days” and mental health education or apps that promote mental wellbeing.


2. An increase in employee resource or affinity groups


More companies will create or support employee resource groups (ERGs) or affinity groups this year. Their purpose is to give groups of people with certain commonalities a place to connect and share. For example, groups for women of color, parents or LGBTQ. When a business supports affinity groups, they are investing in the wellbeing of their employees and potentially increasing employee satisfaction and retention.


Here are three potential workplace consequences that will happen in 2021 as a result of the pandemic:


3. Covid-19 vaccines


Large companies will make bulk purchases of Covid-19 vaccines to provide them for their employees. While this gesture will be welcomed by many, tensions and even lawsuits are likely to emerge for businesses that decide to require they employees to take the vaccine.


4. Limits on employee-tracking technology


With the sudden rush to get employees working from home, many businesses bought employee tracking technology to ensure their employees were staying on track while working away from the office. Expect to see new regulations put in place this year that will put limits on exactly what employers are allowed to track.


5. An increase in the gender pay-gap


Almost four times as many women as men dropped out of the workforce in 2020 because of the sudden need to oversee their children’s at-home learning or the closure of daycare centers. Men, who were more able to stay in the workforce or return to the workforce during the pandemic, will benefit with wage increases as the economy rebounds while women’s pay will fall further behind.


How partnering with a PEO can support your business during COVID-19


A PEO provides small businesses with many advantages that they might not otherwise be able to afford. These advantages have become even more important during this international health crisis.


When small business owners’ partner with Makai HR they:

  • Gain peace of mind that they are complying with all of Hawaii’s labor laws, which is especially important when decisions are being made about how to handle a health crisis.

  • Can provide comprehensive health care plans that allow your employees to go to the doctor for treatment and testing.

We are also here to support your business if you are working remotely:

  • Our cloud-based platform means that your employees can manage their HR needs through a computer, tablet or phone, making it easier for them to work from home.

  • Our cloud based HRIS platform means that your HR team can manage HR remotely if they are sick or everyone is working remotely.

Pro tip: this is a good time to encourage all employees to update to Direct Deposit to reduce in person bank transactions and continue timely payroll payments. Do not delay. Contact us today to get started!

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