Challenges Facing HR Professionals in 2021
office employees wearing masks
November 18, 2020

The year 2020 was clearly a challenge for the Human Resource profession. Human Resource professionals faced the COVID-19 pandemic, social justice issues, changes to the work environment and making sure that current policies and practices were flexible in light of all the issues and concerns in 2020.  

A recent survey was conducted by XPertHR that revealed some interesting outcomes that KL would like to share. The survey finds that the following areas will be major challenges for Human Resources in 2021: Recruiting and Hiring; Paid Leave; Diversity, Equity and Inclusion; and ongoing COVID-19 challenges. Below are the highlights:

  • Recruiting and Hiring will be the most challenging issue. Most HR Professionals believe that attracting top talent will be very challenging followed by ensuring that applicants feel safe to work on-site in the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, eliminating unconscious bias and hiring a diverse workforce, salary history inquiry laws and background checks will also provide some innovative thinking on the part of HR Professionals.
  • Paid Leave – Employers are grappling over many of the paid leave policies to determine how to accommodate the variety of reasons such as homeschooling, being ill with COVID or caring for someone with COVID. A review of the paid time off policies is paramount in 2021. The survey reveals that many employers are planning to add or increase paid leave in 2021 especially around sick leave time. Many others are combining all of their paid time off into Paid Time Off Banks to allow individuals to manage the paid time off as needed. Paid parental and family leave are also being looked at with about a third of the participants electing to add time.
  • Diversity, Equity and Inclusion – Widespread social justice protests have led to a workplace challenge in how to communicate the philosophy that employers are undertaking to address these issues. Employers are thinking about creating a Diversity, Equity and Inclusion strategy to communicate to their employees. They are looking at implementing employee surveys to determine how their employees feel about the current climate in their organizations around the handling of social justice issues. Implementing unconscious bias training along with an analysis of current recruiting and hiring practices. Reviewing policies to ensure that they do not contain any unintentional biases.
  • COVID-19 – As above, COVID-19 has added challenges to dealing with the workforce. A review of flexible work schedules; working from home, increased flexibility around vacation/PTO time and rollovers and a review of current insurance coverages available to employees are all being reviewed to determine the best course of action.

KardasLarson is always there for support, guidance and help in all of these areas. We believe in partnering with our clients to ensure that best practices are implemented and those practices are aligned with each organization’s Human Resource philosophy and business necessities. Please feel free to contact us to provide assistance as needed.

Carol Kardas

Carol Kardas


With 25+ years of generalist HR experience, Carol's focus includes compensation, training, and employee relations. She has advanced HR certifications: SPHR, CCP, SHRM-SCP.


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