The global COVID-19 pandemic has, without a doubt, brought unprecedented changes to companies across the world. From furloughing employees to shifting to remote work to complete restructuring, every type of business and industry has been forced to alter the ways they work to protect employees and company bottom lines.

The pandemic, along with visible social movements and the policies of a new administration, will keep HR professionals on their toes as they adapt to changing legislation and trends. As a result, HR departments are anticipating changes in their sector in 2021. So, what are the biggest employment trends in 2021? Here are four your business should consider, based on everything we’re hearing in the market.

1. Emphasis on Employee Well-Being

The pandemic has laid bare many issues with employee health and well-being. Issues from child care to mental health to sick leave to paid time off have all come under the microscope in the last year. To remain competitive, many companies are looking to expand their benefits to better address the needs of their employees. It is becoming the norm to include mental health care in health packages. Many companies have also expanded programs for family leave and child care during the pandemic and will retain these policies going forward.

2. Shift to Hybrid Offices

The work-from-home revolution was already underway in many American offices, and the pandemic has only accelerated this. As offices begin opening back up in 2021, many companies are turning to a hybrid model that favors a mix of in-person and remote working styles. While many employees will always prefer in-person meetings and presentations, employers are learning that some workers still desire to retain certain levels of remote work even after the pandemic ends.

The transition to hybrid workspaces will involve some technical changes. Many companies will shrink their physical office spaces to save money. In the end, these hybrid workspaces will allow for a more flexible work environment and open up possibilities for satellite offices and expansions.

3. Focus on Diversity

Many national protests of 2020 brought renewed attention to diversity in the workplace. More companies than ever are focusing on diversity, equality, and inclusion (DEI). There is also a trend towards companies speaking out against racism and taking a public stance on other national political issues, however, companies should carefully consider how to best take public positions on divisive issues (if at all) to avoid potential hazardous PR or customer backlash.

Additionally, more companies are tracking their demographics and making moves to address gaps in their workforce. Sensitivity training and other efforts to address racial, cultural, and gender discrimination in the workplace are also being brought to the forefront, so we can likely expect to see more changes and discussions on this in the coming months.

4. All Eyes on the Minimum Wage

With a new administration now in office, there is an advanced discussion about raising the federal minimum wage to $15/hour. The new discussion stems from the long-simmering labor movement, dubbed “the fight for 15”, which advocates changes in the minimum wage in cities, states, and at the national level. Much debate will continue on this issue, though, as there are lingering fears that such an increase will lead to job cuts and price increases on items and services for employers to be able to make up for the wage increases.

Increased advocacy for both federal and state minimum wages means that employers must ensure they’re complying with updated laws. As an employer, you’ll want an HR professional to help you make sure your wages meet those standards and help guide you with any decisions to raise wages in anticipation of increases or waiting to comply with regulations if and when they occur.

Are you prepared to face this year’s new HR trends?

Keeping track of the changing HR landscape can be overwhelming, especially if you are a small or mid-sized business. That’s where our team at LBMC Employment Partners comes in.

Whether you’re looking to outsource the daily management of your HR tasks or have questions about the impact legislative changes can have on your business, we’re here to help. You can connect with our team anytime to make sure your business is keeping up and remaining competitive in 2021.