People management in 2021

Let us admit, it is a year to be remembered. We spent it learning new things every single day. We learned the rules books never included through our day to day lives. We were introduced to the term ‘pandemic’ and in my opinion, adapted to it in hyper speed. Were there challenges? More than we could count! But one of the hardest episodes in the history of humanity has shown, I hope, the boundaries of the business world regarding flexibility. We must look on the bright side… Losses, worries, issues born from being homebound and mental fatigue must not be the subject of this article. Let us focus on the individual and the ones who direct them, and together assess what kind of a projection people management specialists have made for 2021.

Hybrid offices will be on the rise

The definition of hybrid offices includes both half-home, hale-office settings, and multipurpose office settings. The ‘workplace’ concept can completely shift. Areas open to public use, common conference rooms, desk layouts suitable for multi-use instead of singular desks, will be much more integrated into our spaces. In developed countries there too are measures taken to economize the time wasted on the commute between home and office. Large-scale companies have started to create personalized solutions to maximize productivity for their employees’ home offices. In short, everywhere with wifi that you can carry a computer to is now an office, and this will only get more widespread. From now on, the frames and beloved trinkets that decorated your desk will either decorate your home, or your computer as your wallpaper.

Bans are out, options are in

In one of the articles I was reading, a sentence caught my eye: “Instead of cutting snacks from your diet, place the apple somewhere more visible.” The more visible apple is defined here as an impulse. Instead of bans, an increase in options is much more heavily emphasized right now to get the new generation working more productively. Supervision systems installed to prevent social media access for employees working from home can be given as one usual example. These are ridiculous bans when it comes to the new generation. As it gets harder and harder to hold onto the talent one has, if you want to make it even easier to lose that talent, go ahead and ban! Or, set correct impulses. By the way, “Apple” as the first impulse in human history is quite need, I must say.

Real ethics

Ethical leadership comes first among the most contemporary trends in people management. And the tracking of ethical values is seen as the responsibility of people management specialists, not legal departments. This is a crucial distinction. In a way, HR is being invited to be more active and operative. What is underlined here is that all ethical deviations from company finances to customer assurances require the intervention and care of a people management perspective. This is large-scale ethical advocacy that encompasses all from any form of injustice in the company to legal deviations, encapsulating any kind of neglect and exploitation, spanning everything from safe workplace environments to correct, fair promotions. HR, the one who must undertake this responsibility, therefore becomes a close strategical partner with management. I see this responsibility as a golden opportunity for HR.

Mentor leaders!

Are you not as bored as I am from the sentence “the definition of leadership has changed”? It changes every year! When an individual is in a high ranking position in a company, they cannot glance past this sentence without looking at what is buried underneath it. The phrase is always the same, yes, but the way it is said evolves. In this recent era, we are in, the focus is definitely on the collaborative, active listening, and crisis-handling aspects of leadership. Basic skills such as inspirational character, guidance, management skills, speed, agility, I do not even need to list such givens anymore. If you ask me, all roads lead to the leader simultaneously being a good mentor. Of course, this should be guided and led by HR leaders. An HR leader is someone able to coach both HR aspects and the management team, and this is invaluable in today’s business world. New age employees need not be taught the ropes and the rules set by others, but instead need spaces they can bring their own interpretation to the work. It is how they increase their chances to improve and help evolve the work itself. They thrive from freedom. Only, it is crucial that they have set missions for the work. That is a mentor’s job: they do not tell you what to do, but instead, create a perspective you can see possibilities through.

Personalized processes

We cannot expect personalization to be uninvolved with people management when it has become the dynamo of every type of product and service. Is it easier to write the name of the customer onto the chocolate or drink you produce than providing your own employee with a personalized experience? You don’t even know the number of customers you have, yet your employee count is always exact. Technology makes it easy to provide a personalized experience. The personalized HR activities which constantly have occupied a high place on the trends lists of the last 4-5 years seem to pick up even more speed in 2021.

There are many more titles I would like to share. Perhaps they will become the topic of the next article. In the next one, let’s look closely at how technology can and will change HR.

Isik Serifsoy

CEO Engage & Grow

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