10 Insights From Talent Leaders That Will Help You Prepare for 2021

January 7, 2021

"None of us get to ‘own’ an employee. If someone’s hiring an employee from your team, that’s not poaching. That’s two managers collaborating for the win of the company.” — Chuck Edward, corporate vice president of HR at Microsoft

The events of 2020 had a monumental impact on the way companies hire, manage, and develop talent. It’s enough to make you wonder what 2021 has in store — and how you can prepare.

To help you shape your strategy for the coming year, we’ve rounded up 10 insightful (and inspiring) forward-looking quotes from recruiting and HR thought leaders in 2020. These nuggets of wisdom shine a light on a range of critical talent topics, from internal mobility to remote work and beyond — and reveal how priorities are evolving. 

On the future of diversity and inclusion

Diversity, inclusion, and belonging (DIBs) was top of mind for talent professionals in 2020, with 77% saying diversity will be very important to the future of recruiting. Countless companies made commitments to DIBs last year, and candidates, employees, and consumers alike will be paying close attention to the ones that do — and don’t — follow through.

Recruiters have to be able to answer questions on culture. They have to be able to answer questions about the company’s stance on diversity. They have to teach leaders and managers how to think more broadly about their own choices and coach them to gravitate not toward who they ‘like’ but who adds to the organization." Lauren Gardner, VP of global talent acquisition at Microsoft, notes in The Future of Recruiting: How COVID-19 is transforming hiring
 
I do feel that the corporate world will lead [the move to inclusion]. Government and regulation have their place, but the impact of the corporate world creates speed.” Gerri Mason Hall, former chief diversity and social responsibility officer at Sodexo, notes in Why the Head of Diversity is the Job of the Moment
 
I'm engaging in these conversations not because I want a better talent pool of people to tap for jobs. I want to be a better person who knows more about the world. In doing so, I'll have better people for jobs. And I think if we all took on that mentality, the work does itself.” Aaron Mitchell, director of HR for Netflix Animation Studios, says in Building a Diverse Talent Pipeline: 6 Meaningful Steps Every Company Can Take

On the future of internal mobility

At the outset of 2020, 82% of talent professionals said internal mobility would be very important to the future of recruiting and HR. COVID-19 only accelerated this trend: With hiring on pause at countless companies, managers grew more accustomed to the idea of moving talent around the organization to fill critical needs. 

The future of talent acquisition lies in reskilling, rather than finding someone better in the market. If you need to hire today, you needed to reskill yesterday.” Rajesh Ahuja, global head of talent acquisition at Infosys, notes in The Future of Recruiting: How COVID-19 is transforming hiring
 
None of us get to ‘own’ an employee. If someone’s hiring an employee from your team, that’s not poaching. That’s two managers collaborating for the win of the company.” Chuck Edward, corporate vice president of HR at Microsoft, says in the Global Talent Trends 2020 report
 
I wonder whether, over time, we’re going to be less focused on job titles and moves up and more focused on simply moving. Work is going to be more like a rock-climbing wall than a ladder.” Amy Schultz, global head of talent acquisition at Canva, says in Why Internal Mobility Needs to be a Key Part of Your Talent Strategy 

On the future of remote work

Before COVID-19, many companies had doubts about remote work, citing concerns over productivity and visibility. But after seeing how successful employees can be while working from home, many organizations are likely to roll out flexible work options in the long term. In fact, recent research shows that the number of permanent remote workers is expected to double in 2021, with 48.6% of chief information officers surveyed reporting that productivity has actually improved since employees made the transition at the outset of the pandemic.

It's great for the team member. They save on commuting time, they get that time back, and most of all they get flexibility. If the kids are sick, you're already working from home. You're able to be there for them. And it shows up in retention. We have 85% retention, which is almost twice as good as the industry average.” Sid Sijbrandij, co-founder and CEO of GitLab, says in Tips for Managing a Remote Workforce During Coronavirus — and Beyond
 
Now that we’ve proven we can run our recruiting shop virtually, what does the new normal look like? We won’t go back to an environment where everything is fully in-person again because we don’t have to. It’s likely going to be a hybrid of in-person and virtual.” Shavonne Gordon, VP of enterprise diversity recruiting at Capital One, notes in The Future of Recruiting: How COVID-19 is transforming hiring
 
One of the biggest upsides of a remote working world is you can recruit and hire awesome talent wherever they are. For years, TA teams have tried to convince executive teams to open offices in cities with vastly more diverse populations. That can be challenging — high cost, long timelines, competition. But now the energy can shift to sourcing, nurturing, and recruiting incredible people where they live.” Brendan Browne, global head of talent acquisition for LinkedIn, notes on the Reimagining Work Idea Board 

On the future of talent acquisition

Recent events have proven that adaptability is a must-have skill for talent professionals today, with 53% saying it will be the #1 recruiter skill for 2021. Many appear ready and willing to pivot as business needs evolve, with LinkedIn data showing that the fastest growing skill for recruiters in 2020 was personal development — the ability to learn new skills.

If you want to build cost-efficient TA teams, you need to make sure that people are more flexible, more adaptable, and that they can really change to the needs of the business. Lots of companies have got boxes that people sit in. I think those boxes may start to dissipate over time.” Candice De Clerck, global director of recruitment at Prosus Group, notes in The Future of Recruiting: How COVID-19 is transforming hiring

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