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How to incorporate 2021's top digital trends into your HR workflows

What do the quickly-evolving digital requirements of the new normal mean for your people operations?

2020 has given us some valuable lessons learned and a new world of work. HR leaders know this all too well, having been on the front lines of quickly transitioning employees to and facilitating connectivity in a remote work setting, enabling socially distanced hiring and engagement processes, and more.

Technology played a major role in many of these initiatives, and solutions were initially implemented quickly as a stop gap to meet an immediate need. Now, with no signs ahead of full in-office operations resuming anytime soon, businesses will need to re-examine and optimize their digital efforts to keep pace with whatever may lie ahead.

The business trends driving HR teams' operations in 2021

Knowing just how exactly to move forward requires consideration of the leading 2021 business trends. From Catalytic’s recent guide called “10 Digital Trends Driving Your Operations Strategy in 2021,” here are just a few of the common themes and how they will be impacting HR in significant ways, further making the case for a thoughtful digital strategy. 

Asynchronous work impacts the speed of business

With working parents balancing ever-changing childcare and schooling needs from home, dispersed remote workers and other changing schedules, we’re experiencing an asynchronous work environment. 

The use of digital technology helps to reduce the risk of wasted time between activities, slow data hand-offs, and communication gaps. This is crucial given the increased demands on HR to deliver great candidate and employee experiences. Digital onboarding workflows, for example, keep the process moving in an asynchronous, remote work environment.

Skill count replaces headcount

Skill requirements are changing quickly, as technology becomes more pervasive within business operations. HR teams see this firsthand when recruiting for other teams in the organization, as they seek to hire talent who have experience with certain technologies and digitally enabled processes. But it’s becoming an HR requirement as well, with the move to remote work increasing HR’s reliance on technology.

The solution is a mix of upskilling and reskilling existing talent, in addition to adopting no-code technology platforms. Not only can these types of tools be used to automate HR workflows and deliver ROI without the high price tag of backlogged IT resources, but they can do so quickly to speed up the time-to-value.

Artificial intelligence is becoming more tangible

AI isn’t taking over our jobs, it’s making them better. In a people-centric department like HR, employees can be hesitant to hand over functions of their role to technology. But today’s AI tools can be used to assist employees with their tasks, not replace them. Practical AI-embedded workflows can seamlessly integrate with other HR systems in place and operate within existing processes.

AI can actually give your team more opportunities to build stronger connections and relationships with employees and candidates. And using it to complete tasks like identity verification and background checks lowers processing times and pileup.

Prime HR processes to digitize in 2021

The starting point for digital transformation within HR is to uncover the process inefficiencies that pose the biggest threats to your candidate and employee experiences. Oftentimes, these processes can be data-heavy tasks with a high risk of error, such as employee survey reports or headcount reports. 


Or, these processes can be redundant and time intensive, taking your team away from higher value work. Examples could be interview scheduling, new hire paperwork, or, in the case of Mayo Clinic’s HR team, processing health center membership enrollments and cancellations. After building a no-code, smart workflow in Catalytic for digital intake and processing, the team saves 2,600 hours of manual administrative work annually while creating an easy, convenient process for employees.


3 ways to take action on digitizing your people operations in 2021

For a complete list of the 10 digital trends driving operations strategies in the year ahead and a breakdown of what this means for HR teams, read our guide complete with more examples of specific processes you should target to make business impact in 2021.

Read the guide

Written by Catalytic