The State of HR: 2021 Trends and Opportunities

The State of HR: 2021 Trends and Opportunities

The COVID-19 impacted nearly every industry and business function. The Human resource department was also affected as the shift to remote and hybrid work began. DocuSign's 2021 HR Trends report provides a statistical analysis of human resources—it highlights the problems HR teams had to deal with over the course of a year. We also take a look ahead to how things are gearing up for the future. 

HR Departments - remote working 

For human resource teams - the sudden shift to remote and virtual operations exacerbated problems that already existed. It’s essential to offer positive employee experiences, but slow, manual and paper-based processes demonstrate the growing need for automation.

HR Digital Transformation Requirements

Employee agreements are often prone to using physical or wet signatures on documents like offer letters, benefits packages and other materials. Collecting physical signatures for employees significantly slows down processes.

  • 48% of UK respondents in DocuSign’s report said that manual forms and paperwork slow them down.
  • 35% reported that getting signatures slows them down.
  • DocuSign’s report revealed that only 6% of HR teams obtain signatures for ALL forms electronically, and 19% of respondents are still signing everything manually on paper.  

Reducing the speed of agreement for offer letters, benefits packages, and other materials can impact employee relationships, increases administration time and costs.  The majority of HR teams are completing 100-500 agreements per month and waste time on mailing and obtaining wet signatures. 

HR Digital Technology - automation and digitisation

The requirement to automate and digitise paper processes prior to the pandemic was evident, and COVID-19 has accelerated the need to adopt technology to create better experiences for HR teams and employees. Many organisations were caught by surprise when their work had to be executed digitally and remotely.

  • 67% of respondents said that the level of urgency to adopt new technologies has increased as their organisation prepares for future disruptions. 
  • Only 12% of organisations said that they were very prepared for the change to remote work.
  • 38% of UK organisations that were prepared for the shift to remote work say their suite of tools supported their transition to remote work
  • 44% of UK companies that weren’t ready for the change attribute their unpreparedness to a lack of appropriate systems, tools and technology.

Improving HR Workflows

Even with the right technology in place, there’s an opportunity to improve HR workflows further. Despite investments in technologies designed to make HR teams more agile, many organisations aren’t fully unlocking the potential of their investment.

  • 87% of HR teams say they only capitalise up to 75% of the technology they already own. 
  • For 40% of UK respondents, the biggest obstacle preventing HR teams from fully utilising their software capabilities is the lack of integration with other systems. 

Even when there is integration in place, it’s often partial rather than complete. 

  • Just over 50% of respondents say that their benefits management is either partially integrated or not integrated at all with their human resource management suite (HRMS).
  • 40% of respondents say that their employee performance solution is only partially integrated with their HMRS or not integrated at all.
  • 48% say that their HMRS is either not integrated or partially integrated with their applicant tracking software.

HR departments need digital solutions that not only automate and simplify complex paper processes but are easy to implement, use and integrate with their other technologies. With digital, well-integrated tools, HR teams will be significantly more prepared for the next wave of disruption.   

To discover more of the changes and opportunities driving the HR industry today, check out DocuSign’s latest HR Trends Report

Check out more insights on how to create a paperless HR department.
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