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Top 3 HR Challenges in 2021

From year to year, HR teams face different challenges. From budget cuts to worker shortages to new employment laws; there is always something to overcome. In 2021, it’s safe to say that the primary issues we face in HR are centered around the effects of COVID-19. A recent report by Lattice, identifies the top challenges HR teams are facing as we embark on 2021.


Top 3 HR challenges in 2021


According to Lattice’s report:

  1. 58 percent of respondents said that emotional exhaustion (for themselves or their team members) was a challenge;

  2. 54 percent of respondents said they were stressed by an overwhelming number of projects and responsibilities;

  3. And 51 percent of respondents said employee morale and retention was an issue they are facing.

Overcoming 2021 HR challenges


HR managers who are able to focus on positive goals, adapt to a changing environment and communicate effectively with their team and the employees they manage will be best equipped to handle the challenges faced by HR this year.


Emotional exhaustion and burnout


In 2021, the first step to overcoming emotional exhaustion and burnout in the workplace is to understand that more than ever, big emotions from our personal lives are seeping into our workplace existence. HR managers need to be understanding about the stresses their employees are facing at home – from childcare issues to financial stresses to the loss of a loved one. One of the biggest HR trends this year is focusing on the whole employee, not just the employee at work. Practical ways to support the emotional health of employees include:

  • Health and wellness programs that include services for mental health and financial well-being.

  • Paid time off (PTO) that employees can use for any reason.

  • Reach out to employees each week to ask how they are doing and see how the business could help support them.

Overwhelming number of projects and responsibilities


When we feel overwhelmed with a million tasks, it’s stressful and can make it hard to know where to start. Employees may show signs of feeling overwhelmed with anger and frustration. So, how do we get our work done – or help employees get their work done - without feeling overwhelmed? Here are five steps to help reduce stress while getting important work done:

  1. Make a clear list of all projects and tasks.

  2. Sort them by order of importance and due date.

  3. Remove tasks that aren’t really necessary or place them on your calendar for down the road.

  4. Get your highest priority tasks on the calendar; set aside blocks of time each day/week to keep the project moving forward.

  5. If possible, delegate some tasks to others who may have more time available or who are looking for an opportunity to expand their skills.

If you are the manager, help your employees by going through this process on their behalf so you can remove unnecessary tasks from their list and help them prioritize their projects.


Employee morale and retention


This is a hard time for everyone so it makes sense that employee morale and retention are one of the top three HR challenges this year. One thing we know, is that in this period of uncertainty, we want to keep employee morale up to avoid the expense and disruption of high employee turnover. Here are three ways to improve employee morale:

  • Show appreciation and create opportunities for fun connection such as a weekly zoom call where employees can share their pet or kids pictures or by bringing in treats on a regular basis for those who are working in person.

  • Limit managerial check-ins to the minimum needed to keep productivity up.

  • Reward and recognize employees for a job well done in both verbal and monetary ways.

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.

  • Get help with workers’ compensation claims.

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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