5 Challenges Faced by HR Managers In 2021

Posted 31st Mar 2021

Even as we now enter Q2, 2021 is in many ways just about getting started, what with the easing of lockdown restrictions and the, albeit painfully slow, return to some sense of normal living. Conversely though, many HR professionals will already have had a ‘long year’, with several challenges and ongoing projects still to come. 

Home is the office; the office is home… 

In 2020 the world witnessed the shift from office to home-based working almost overnight and whilst there are certainly plans to reverse this somewhat, home and / or remote working is here to stay. Some businesses will return their entire workforce to the office, some will adopt the opposite, but the majority will embrace or be forced to embrace a model that sits somewhere in the middle. If not already in place, robust ‘work-from-home’ policies will need to be quickly developed and firmly established. 

Time management challenges require support…

As a result of the shift to home working, there are in practice many employees that struggle or will struggle with personal time management and organisation while working at home and therefore physically cut off for much of the time from their wider team. Continuous distractions are numerous and, particularly if lacking dedicated private space for day to day working, maintaining focus for required periods of time can be a particular challenge and so cause of stress. HR Managers, as well as line managers, can share specific and effective strategies for dealing with these issues, monitoring on an ongoing basis.


Along with home working, the onboarding and induction process for new hirers has been forced to change significantly, not least of course because most if not all onboarding has had to be conducted virtually and will probably continue to be done so for some time. As with most things, some associated virtual processes will be seamless and very effective, others will need much tweaking…video based social gatherings with new colleagues, buddy-up systems, daily ‘touch-base’ virtual chats, shared work periods and accountability partners are all worth considering.

Incentives and rewards…

These have long been an ever more important topic for many employers and now, with the probable permanent impact of the pandemic on the way we work, adjustments will be inevitable.
Longer term incentives and or rewards will likely become the preference, with a focus on things such as increased home working hours flexibility, private healthcare, mental and physical wellbeing and perhaps enhanced technological support or benefits. 

Strategic partnering…

Though the emergence of Covid wasn’t necessary to do so, it has, all the same, demonstrated and will continue to demonstrate the key role HR managers and their teams play in assisting their employers with making strategic decisions when it comes to their most valuable workforce. Never has an effective and workable strategy for people been more at the fore.


There is of course much work still to be done, but 2021, and beyond, will undoubtedly prove challenging and ultimately rewarding for the human resources professional.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels

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