Priorities for 2021

Feb 5, 2021


This morning, more than 20 HR leaders from across the Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky region met virtually to discuss thoughts on 2021’s talent trends, how they plan to navigate post-covid changes in their own organizations and other key HR initiatives they are tackling in the new year. Here are some of the key themes that emerged from today’s roundtable conversation.

Addressing the coming voluntary turnover: Focus on talent, values, and increasing pay

  • HR leaders are using the next six months to focus on their staff and address the voluntary turnover that is likely on the way.  One HR leader who was already seeing turnover in her organization called the group to action saying, “Now is the time to ask, ‘What are we doing to help our people feel valued?’”
  • Another leader said his organization has not yet seen turnover, but they are making the move to increase organizational minimum wage to help retain talent. Working to increase base pay for frontline workers is a trend in many organizations.
  • Another HR leader shared that her organization was working to align pay structures at multiple levels. As their organization increases entry-level salaries, they raise additional levels as well to maintain equity and morale.  

Returning to work: A workplace shift toward flexibility

  • Organizations feel that those who can do their work from home will want flexibility moving forward. Some organizations are finding employees are resistant toward returning to the office full-time. Employees feel they have been productive from home and would like to see a hybrid model. A few HR leaders share that they are exploring ways to create flexibility their people are looking for while still bringing teams together in person.
  • Another leader is considering designating core days where everyone should be present, with the option to work from home the other days. One HR leader shared that while some employees are getting used to working remotely, many others are craving separation between their home and workplace.
  • Now is also a great time to solicit feedback from those in the organization to see how they are feeling, what they expect, and how the differences can be addressed.
  • Organizations are looking to be creative, allowing employees to work from home in roles that otherwise would usually be done on-site. One organization got creative by using a van to drop off raw materials allowing them to do some light manufacturing work from home.

Covid and the vaccine: Mandating v. incentivizing

  • The decision whether to mandate vaccines or not is a question many organizations are wrestling with.
  • Many of the HR leaders today expressed they are considering incentivizing employees for getting the vaccine rather than making vaccination mandatory.
  • Some organizations feel it is their responsibility to educate regarding their decision to take the vaccine. One participant brought up that incentives could be tricky because not everyone is medically able to get the vaccine.

Mental health and employee wellness

  • One cause of mental stress on employees is feeling unsure of how they performing. When employees are not in the office as much and not interacting with peers and supervisors, they have less opportunity to receive feedback about their work.
  • Two of today’s participants provided some type of resilience training for their staff, helping their employees navigate a year of unprecedented challenges and changes.
  • Another HR leader implemented Wellness Wednesdays to help address specific health-related issues. Weekly wellness initiatives including yoga provided her employees a wide range of mental health and wellness needs.