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Looking ahead: Upcoming HR and Payroll trends for 2021

By | Ipsita B | Manager – Campus Hiring @ Wipro

We have read more news about organizations (mostly inadvertently) underpaying employees in the last 12 months, which shows that even with continuous advances in technology, payroll remains an area with high risk of mistakes and miscalculations.

After a year of unprecedented upheavals in 2020, HR and payroll departments find themselves facing a number of challenges as the workplace trends that took hold during the pandemic become the new norm. Perhaps a look back at the major changes that took place in 2020 will allow us to get a clearer idea of what major trends will be impacting the industry in 2021.

A flexibility balancing act

While remote working was not a novel concept pre-COVID, multinational shutdowns gave employees across the world a unique opportunity to participate in this massive remote working experiment, testing their ability and readiness for it, as much as it probably tested all our patience occasionally. We also gained perspective into the natural flexibility that comes with working from the comfort of home.

Flexible work involves not just home-based work, which we are perhaps all too familiar with at this stage, but also things like flex time, part-time work, supporting extended leaves, job sharing, and others. Benefits of flexible work arrangements include an increased ability to attract and retain talent in a competitive marketplace, improved employee engagement, enabling diversity in the workplace, and more.

While remote working and flexibility in how work is organized are becoming central trends, there is great variation in how accepted flexible work is in different cultures. These cultural, social and attitudinal variations pose a challenge to multinational organizations – how much flexibility is adequate? How do we balance, for instance, the high value put on collectivism and being present that is traditionally prevalent in most of Asia, with concerns over health and wellbeing? How can we build trust in teams that transcends long-held principles and disrupts culture, while keeping our eye on productivity and results? In 2021, employers should be asking how these questions apply to their organizations, and building out bespoke flexible work arrangements that not only support work-life balance but also improve engagement and profit over time.

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