Human Resources Basics HR Departments Need to Know in 2021

Nahulan S.

Office photo created by tirachardz -

For every organisation, large and small, 2020 was difficult. For absolutely all of us, it was like an unexpected hit from the universe. It took us all by surprise and made us rethink the basics of our positions personally and professionally. That extends to Human Resources departments.  

2020 made us ask, what is human resources? Human Resource Management, or HRM, is the practice of managing people to achieve better performance. If you consider how the world has drastically changed from the past year, where does that leave HR now?

As we reassess the meaning of so many things, it’s helpful to go back to the basics. And so, here are seven Human Resources basics that you should relearn for the year 2021.

Recruitment & Selection

The first step to having an efficient company is hiring the right people. While it may seem like this decision falls into the hands of department supervisors, it’s actually intrinsically tied to HR because that’s where job ads and recruitment starts.

Learn how to polish your job ads so they are performance-based rather than focusing solely on a person’s education. A good practice is to give applicants an idea of the goals they will be expected to achieve if they are hired.

Along with writing a great job posting, you need to use the right channels to reach the right people. Different channels have different demographics, so be aware of the ideal candidate you have in mind.

Don’t be discouraged if you don’t get the number of applicants you are expecting - many times the ideal candidate is already employed somewhere. However, because of the pandemic, many people are afraid of losing their job and looking for more stability elsewhere. Offer that and you might find the perfect candidate in someone you wouldn’t normally consider.

If you’d like to find out more tips about recruiting the best talent, you can read our blog about it here.

Performance Management

To manage the performance of a whole company’s worth of employees is a daunting task, but it’s incredibly important. It involves helping people perform better in their individual jobs to help the company perform better overall.  

Don’t let the pandemic allow you to fall into a bad habit of neglecting performance management. That’s the only way to make sure that employees are happy, healthy, and getting things done.

Take for example the one-on-one performance review. Before 2020, everyone expected to have a performance review, yet the pandemic has caused some issues, what with social distancing protocols being put in place and more workers operating remotely.

However, a performance review is still an important part of performance management. These can still be done virtually, so keep doing them!

Learning & Development

An often overlooked part of Human Resources is the learning and development side of it. When an employee joins a company, they rarely place their hopes on the position they are being hired for. Rather they are looking to the future and where that position could lead.

Oftentimes to achieve those goals of advancement, an employee must have some learning and development opportunities. Support your workforce by offering learning and development.

One way to plan on learning and development for the company is to budget for it. If you have learning and development in the budget already, there is less of an excuse to let it fall by the wayside.

Not only will learning and development help your employees to be better people, it will also improve their performance, thereby improving the company. 

Succession Planning

If 2020 taught is anything, it’s that crazy things we can’t imagine happening will happen eventually. In a company, one of the things that can absolutely rock an organisation is a key employee leaving. That’s where succession planning comes into play.

Succession planning, or the process of planning contingencies in case of these key employees leaving the company, is crucial for maintaining consistency in the company.

Always have a pool of people in mind for key positions in case they suddenly become available. Not only should you have this plan, you should have it much earlier than you think you need it. Things can change at any moment.

Compensation & Benefits

What motivates most employees to come into work? The answer is simple: a pay check. Yes, there are some positions that are filled by people who simply feel a strong sense of duty, but those are few and far between.

Most employees clock in and clock out to get a steady pay check. Making sure your company is offering fair compensation is the best way to get better recruits and retain the existing employees.

Take some time to think about how you can incentivise employees to stick around. If you want to avoid the hassle and cost of hiring a new batch of people every month, you need to be fair in your offerings. This includes the benefits you offer and the employee perks.

Make sure they are enticing enough to keep your favourite employees around and bring you more recruits that will stick around. 

Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS)

Think about all the different things you do as an Human Resources department. If every single one of your HR duties requires a separate platform, that leaves you with more than a crowded computer screen; it also leaves you more open to mistakes and confusion.

Instead, you should make sure the company has invested in Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) that all you to do all the processes through one program.

This not only reduces your chances of things falling through the cracks and getting lost, it will also make your entire HR department more efficient.

HR Data & Analytics

We are living in a digital world. Part of that digital landscape is data and the analytics behind them. Because HRIS is essentially a data-entry system, you already have all the data you need for great analytics at your fingertips. It will help to give you a snapshot of the health of the company by seeing employee trends overall.

Along with seeing the overall health of the company, HR data and analytics can help you to make more objective, data-based decisions about employees. Those decisions are difficult for everyone, especially in these days of uncertainty. By using data, you can make decisions that are based on the numbers rather than personal feelings.


The world has changed and with it have come changes to how businesses are run. In all those changes, there are HR departments working tirelessly to keep up and to help manage employees. By returning to the basics, you can help your employees and your company reach their full potential.

Simplify your human resource efforts in2021 with the all-in-one HR solution, altHR. Signup for altHR, the complete HRMS solution that covers everything from onboarding to staff management and providing employees with information kits. You’ve done it the old way long enough.

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