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Editor’s Note: New Year, New Priorities

By Debbie Bolla

It’s a new year and with that typically come new priorities, both personal and professional. For me, personally, I am looking to try one new recipe a week and cut back takeout to twice a month. Professionally, I’m striving for new ways to embrace digital media and share our content.

But what about HR? While the world continues to fight the spread of the coronavirus, HR leaders need to remain steadfast and agile in their approaches to maintain worker safety, well-being, and productivity. Gartner has released a new study, Top 5 Priorities for HR Leaders in 2021, that examines the most pressing human capital issues for the coming year.

1. Building critical skills. Many factors are driving 68% of respondents to say that developing business-critical skills is a top priority for 2021. With the shift to remote work and virtual hiring, COVID-19 has created the need for new skills, resulting in 71% of respondents reporting that up to 40% of their positions require new skills. By properly training and growing the skills of the workforce, organizations can improve operational excellence, innovate, and grow the bottom line.

2. Overseeing organizational design and change management. Organizations and employees alike are experiencing change fatigue, so streamlining organizational design is critical to 46% of HR leaders. HR will be looking at ways to be flexible and agile in order to build workforce resilience.

3. Developing leaders for the future. Gartner’s study finds this is a priority for 44% of executives, with 49% reporting that their leadership bench is not diverse and 35% saying that succession processes aren’t yielding the right leaders at the right time.

4. Planning for what’s next. The COVID-19 pandemic will have a lasting impact on the future of work and 32% of HR leaders mark it as a priority. The big questions now are how many 2020 trends will impact strategic goals and plans, and what long-term adjustments will stick.

5. Embracing the employee experience. With 29% of respondents reporting they have challenges with the employee experience, it’s no surprise that nearly the same amount (28%) name it a top priority. The shifts caused by the pandemic—remote work and perhaps a hybrid model in 2021—are proving that HR needs to support the expectations of employees through engaging approaches.

Whatever your 2021 priorities are, we’ll have the right content to help you and your organization tackle them.

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