People risk; why the need for change is urgent 

The legacy of the pandemic will be a better world of work, where changes have arrived at speed.

Organisations moved and adapted quickly to these business challenges, largely because of the creativity, productivity and collegiality of employees. Capitalising on this engagement is crucial for business success, while turning focus away from people will lead to devastating business risk.

Our HR report, in partnership with the Reward & Employee Benefits Association (REBA), showed that even as organisations reshaped, focusing on values such as diversity and inclusivity, as well as environmental targets and purpose, shot up board agendas, driven by employees, customers, local communities and investors.

How HR trends are being led by a focus on wellbeing

The data showed how board-level focus shaped HR focus. Achieving employee wellbeing was one of the business challenges considered front and centre to achieving employee engagement and mitigating the risk of high staff turnover, recruitment costs, burnout and low productivity.

Almost two-thirds of HR teams were focusing on applying new organisational structures, showing just how much businesses were continuing to reshape in 2021. But just as organisations were rethinking operational structures to meet changing market demand, HR teams also needed to rethink collaboration across their own disciplines to meet the challenges of reskilling and new ways of working.

Never had the call been stronger for HR to work as closely with CEOs and CFOs to shift culture, change fast and adapt our world of work to capitalise on the latest HR trends.

This report is the first of a series that provides the context and practical steps needed to meet the challenge of transforming organisational culture into one that engages its employees and reduces its people risks.

The major business challenges faced by organisations in 2021

Data in this research shows that even as organisations reshape their businesses for a variety of reasons, values such as diversity, equality and inclusivity, as well as environmental targets and purpose have shot up board agendas to be the major business challenges faced by organisations in 2021.

Meeting diversity and/or inclusive workforce targets


Increasing digitisation


Meeting environmental targets

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