The COVID-19 pandemic transformed life as we know it. At work, digital transformation is happening faster than ever. When the “new normal” fully settles in, human resources teams will need to adapt to a changing landscape.

As an HR professional, staying a step ahead of the trends will help you build a stronger workforce. In these coming years, attracting and keeping top talent will depend on your understanding of what technology you need to implement and what job seekers value most.

Let’s take a look into the future of HR and recruiting post-COVID.

Remote Work on the Rise

Across all industries, remote work has undoubtedly increased due to the pandemic. But even when it’s safe for everyone to return to the office, a large amount of workers won’t be doing so. Of the many workers that went remote solely because of COVID-19, at least 16% will continue working from home two or more days per week.

As a result, the majority of talent professionals agree that virtual recruiting will be the new normal. Though HR teams may blend virtual and in-person hiring processes, the early stages of recruiting will likely remain virtual for many businesses. This flexibility will make it easier to recruit talent from across the country, and even around the world.

Remote recruiting will come with its own challenges. Distributed HR teams may find it more difficult to collaborate and create a smooth hiring experience. As we move into a new era of remote work, HR teams should err on the side of over-communicating and setting expectations. Communication tools like Zoom, Asana, and Google Suite can help.

Digital Transformation in HR

As remote recruiting and flexible work options increase, new technologies will shape the field of HR. In addition to using more communication tools, HR teams will use more automation tools post-COVID.

Recruiting automation technology—which may include screening tools, chatbots, and more—will help HR professionals screen far more applicants in far less time. This type of tech will be especially important for fast-growing teams.

Information technology (IT) will also be important in the digital HR transformation. IT solutions will help HR teams manage payroll, track job applications, and uptrain employees with greater ease.


Focusing on Diversity and Inclusion

Coinciding with the coronavirus pandemic was a wave of racial justice movements. People are now aware of the inequities that minority groups face in healthcare, at work, and beyond. As a result, diversity and inclusion are more actively valued in our society than ever.

In 2021, HR teams will focus on recruiting diverse employees and building inclusive workplace cultures. With 76% of job seekers taking diversity into consideration, these initiatives are key to getting and keeping the best talent on your team.

According to Terri Wallman of DeVry University, a great first step that recruiters can take is writing inclusive job descriptions. Using language that’s welcoming to underrepresented groups can help you get a diverse candidate pool.

As you start building a diverse team, your culture should reflect your commitment to inclusion. Give diverse employees the support they need to thrive. You may do so by providing professional workshops, a mentor, and even diversity training for your whole organization—not just your HR team.


Making Decisions With Data

Companies have already been using data to learn about their clients for years. As work continues to shift online, using data on employees and potential hires will grow more common, too. This is called people analytics.

In recruiting, HR teams will use data to identify the strongest talent. Data will also help recruiters further their diversity and inclusion initiatives, as it helps remove unconscious biases from the hiring process. HR teams can even use people analytics to understand trends in turnover and improve work culture.

According to Joss Leufrancois, CEO of candidate sourcing platform Visage, another trend to look out for in the coming years is the increased hiring of people analytics experts. Not all HR teams are already equipped to make data-driven decisions. To make the best use of the data you collect, you may need to bring specialized experts into your department.


Humanity Still Matters

The increased use of technology and data can lead to employees being treated more like workers than like human beings. According to Gartner, the pandemic has, in this sense, created a “humanitarian crisis” for workers.

Post-COVID, HR teams will lead workplace efforts to challenge the negative impacts of tech. Job seekers will flock to the companies that prioritize empathy in the workplace and in the recruiting process.

One way you can balance humanity and tech is by being mindful about where you automate. Technology can make things easier, but it should ultimately help employees excel in their job, not replace team members. Similarly, automation shouldn’t erase personalization when recruiting, as top talent will want to work with the team that shows they care.


Embrace the Future

Remote work and digitization are two major trends in HR, as well as workplaces in general, that will continue for years post-COVID. Implementing new tech—including automation and communication tools—can help you recruit more effectively and efficiently.

But as you embrace tech, don’t forget that your staff and candidates are people, too. Make diversity, inclusion, and empathy a priority while you’re shifting to modern HR processes.

Beau Peters

Beau Peters is a professional with a lifetime of experience in service and care. As a manager, he has learned a slew of tricks in the business world and enjoys sharing them with others who carry the same passion and dedication that he brings to his work. When he is not writing, he enjoys reading and trying new things.