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Trends in the Human Resource Industry

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University of Maryland Global Campus



Trends in the Human Resource Industry

The human resource (HR) industry is the sector of interest responsible for employee management. Some of the core functions in the HR industry include recruiting, hiring, and training employees alongside other functions such as managing employee benefits, compliance with laws, and payroll. The HR industry is fundamental to building a positive working environment by managing and overseeing the employment aspects such as recruitment, compensation, training and development, and labor relationship. Furthermore, the HR industry commits to addressing issues related to communication, employee management, and problem-solving within the workplace. Due to this pursuit of a positive working environment, three major trends in the HR industry include diversity and inclusion (Chaudhry et al., 2021), switching to a hybrid/remote workplace (Gifford, 2022), and mental wellness (Yvonne & Jiang, 2021). Notably, considering the increasing globalization and growing network of workforce from different regions, races, etc., diversity and inclusion are fundamental to ensure equity.

Discussion of Three Trends

Diversity & Inclusion #1

Diversity and inclusion is an emerging trend, considering the increased presence of diverse cultures in the workplace and the growing influx of regional and international workforce (Chaudhry et al., 2021). Therefore, with the changes in the workforce composition, including diverse groups is a fundamental element in overcoming possible stereotypes and biases. Diversity and inclusion is a novel phenomenon in the HR industry, especially in the 21st century, where differences in race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, national origin, etc., characterize the workforce. The growing trend of diversity and inclusion signifies an opportunity for innovation and non-discriminatory HR practices and environment. Furthermore, the diversity and inclusion aspect is strategic in the future of the human resource industry to build a valued and welcomed workforce and establish a people-centered working environment.

Switching to Hybrid/Remote #2

Traditionally, HR institutions emphasized on-site operations regardless of the advancements in work technology during the pre-pandemic period. However, remote or hybrid work appears disruptive and inevitable (Gifford, 2022). It is feasible for multiple jobs, and continued demand for a workforce has strengthened remote working. Furthermore, Gifford (2022) acknowledges the emergence of the hybrid working environment due to a growing commitment to enhancing employee safety, especially after the covid-19 disruptions, and adapting to the changes. Switching to hybrid working holds a future for the HR industry in reducing workload and increasing productivity and flexibility. Besides, this shift to a hybrid working environment (i.e., people working both within and outside the offices) is revolutionary for the HR industry to navigate furlough schemes and immediate disruptions by facilitating flexible working environments while prioritizing employee welfare (Gifford, 2022).

Mental Wellness #3

Employee well-being is not a novel area of interest in HR as it directly impacts performance. However, the sudden alteration in the business environment and disruptions caused by covid-19 directly affected the employees’ health and well-being (Yvonne & Jiang, 2021). Furthermore, with the limited resources, and pressure on employees, mental wellness is an emergent concern for the HR industry to ensure their psychological well-being to enhance overall performance. The growing vulnerabilities to employees, including but not limited to the pandemic that disrupts the systems, safety concerns, and stress heighten the concerns about employee well-being (Yvonne & Jiang, 2021). Progressive concerns for employee mental wellness will enhance positive HR-employee relationships to enhance interdependence between organizations and their personnel. Yvonne and Jiang (2021) emphasize that mental wellness may be disruptive to human resource management to steer transformational leadership to overcome industry-level challenges and help the workforce cope with emerging situations.

An Important Emerging Issue

Mental health for employees is a core emerging issue in human resources, impacting employee well-being and overall performance. Increasing incidences of mental illness, such as depression and anxiety, are associated with rising suicide rates, mainly associated with social and occupational distress (Hennekam et al., 2021). Hennekam et al. (2021) acknowledge that persons with mental illness have attained high-level attention in health-related fields; the management disciplines lag, heightening concerns about the increasing population of employees experiencing mental illnesses. Furthermore, mental illnesses among employees are associated with adverse outcomes such as decreased productivity and high absenteeism rates, posing economic and humanistic implications for individual employees and organizations (Hennekam et al., 2021). Therefore, mental health management is fundamental to improving productivity, employee engagement, and overall satisfaction, building a symbiotic system for employees and the organization.

Mental Health Education and Training

An understanding of workplace issues among managers heightens their ability and commitment to enhancing working conditions, considering the influence of their positions on improving employee welfare and overall well-being (Gayed et al., 2018). Gayed et al. (2018) ascertain that managers are strategically positioned to ensure employee well-being and mental wellness. As a result, organizations are increasingly interested in offering relevant training from managers to cultivate a supportive working environment to alleviate the risk factors for mental health among employees. Notably, the excessive demand from work, limited or lack of control, and issues of no support are primary factors leading to work-related stress, which impacts their well-being and overall productivity (Gayed et al., 2018). Thus, providing mental health training and educational programs for managers is fundamental to enhance their knowledge and skills for regulating specific work-related stressors.

Mental health training for workplace managers enhances their understanding of the employees’ issues or problems, alongside their responsibility as managers to promote employee well-being (Gayed et al., 2018). Thus, training managers on mental health concerns is fundamental to triggering positive attitudes and taking seriously the responsibility to promote the psychological wellness of their employees. Study findings reveal that training employers and managers on mental health are associated with a decline in stigmatizing attitudes, considering the positive influence of manager-specific training and educational programs on their knowledge, attitudes, and supportive behaviors for employees experiencing mental health issues (Gayed et al., 2018). As a result, enhancing knowledge and positive attitudes about mental health is fundamental to building an employee-centered and supportive working environment free from stigma.

Culture of Openness and Support

A supportive working environment is fundamental to implementing the stay-at-work intervention, especially for employees experiencing mental health problems (Van Hees et al., 2022). Employed individuals and those with actual work represent the highest population of persons affected by mental health challenges. Van Hees et al. (2022) confirm that promoting the stay at work is a fundamental element, especially for persons experiencing mental health challenges, requiring an understanding of various workplace stakeholders. Numerous studies explored by Van Hees et al. (2022) acknowledge that embracing employees with common mental health issues through the stay at work interventions enhances their well-being and mental health and alleviates the chances for absenteeism from workplaces.

The findings ascertain that autonomy at work through employee responsibility, autonomy to exercise control, and supervisor support through proactive involvement and connection are fundamental to actualizing the stay-at-place culture for employees with mental issues (Van Hees et al., 2022). Furthermore, a safe workplace climate characterized by transparent organizational culture, joint responsibility, and colleague support alongside collaboration for support emerges as fundamental for employees experiencing mental health issues. As a result, the culture of openness and support for employees with mental health problems promotes a sense of safety, collectivism, and a healthy work environment for psychological well-being.

Work-Life Balance

A healthy working environment prioritizes the employees’ interest or cultivates a people-centered setting. Therefore, promoting interventions that encourage work-life balance is fundamental to promoting employees’ mental well-being by alleviating work-related stress and enhancing satisfaction. Studies acknowledge that human resource management (HRM) practices implemented in an organization are integral to enhancing employee well-being (Kowalski & Loretto, 2017). The management relationship behavior through support and trust heightens employee well-being to HR practitioners to build a supportive environment. Kowalski and Loretto (2017) acknowledge that embracing approaches for sustaining employee wellness is fundamental to enhancing success in the rapidly changing workplace environment. Therefore, organizations must focus on the work context and beyond to enhance performance and productivity.

Kowalski and Loretto (2017) accentuate that considering the correlation between employee well-being and overall outcomes such as performance and productivity, human resources have an obligation to establish salient approaches for enhancing their overall wellness. Ipsen et al. (2020) confirm that organizations are leveraging novel ways of organizing work to improve mental health and promote performance. As a result, initiatives for work-life balance, such as shortening working weeks, reducing overtime, and implementing more leaves and long weekends, are inspirational to enhancing performance while considering the employees’ mental wellness (Ipsen et al., 2020). Therefore, balancing work and personal life is fundamental to improving employee well-being.


The human resource industry focuses on employee management and making the working environment favorable for effective functioning, improved performance, and productivity. With the increasing globalization and diversity in the workforce, inclusion is a fundamental requirement for making an employee feel valued and welcome. Besides, the shift to hybrid or remote working emerges as an integral trend in the HR industry, crucial to enhancing flexibility, increasing productivity, and reducing the effects of the disruptions such as pandemics and possible furlough schemes. Mental wellness is salient to improving performance by enhancing agility and ensuring transformational leadership for patient-centered approaches. Thus, mental health issues as an emergent problem in HR is an area of interest requiring managers’ training, support, and favorable work-life balance to overcome absenteeism, turnover, and declined performance.


Chaudhry, I. S., Paquibut, R. Y., & Tunio, M. N. (2021). Do workforce diversity, inclusion practices, & organizational characteristics contribute to organizational innovation? Evidence from the U.A.E.
Cogent Business & Management,
8(1), 1–24.

Gayed, A., Milligan-Saville, J., Nicholas, J., Bryan, B., Lamontagne, A., Milner, A., Madan, I., Calvo, R., Christensen, H., Mykletun, A., Glozier, N., & Harvey, S. (2018). Effectiveness of training workplace managers to understand and support the mental health needs of employees: A systematic review and meta-analysis.
Occupational and Environmental Medicine,
75(6), 462–470.

Gifford, J. (2022). Remote working: Unprecedented Increase and a Developing Research Agenda.
Human Resource Development International,
25(2), 1–9.

Hennekam, S., Follmer, K., & Beatty, J. (2021). Exploring mental illness in the workplace:the role of HR professionals and processes.
The International Journal of Human Resource Management,
32(15), 3135–3156.

Ipsen, C., Karanika-Murray, M., & Nardelli, G. (2020). Addressing mental health and organisational performance in tandem: A challenge and an opportunity for bringing together what belongs together.
Work & Stress,
34(1), 1–4.

Kowalski, T. H. P., & Loretto, W. (2017). Well-being and HRM in the Changing Workplace.
The International Journal of Human Resource Management,
28(16), 2229–2255.

Van Hees, S. G. M., Carlier, B. E., Blonk, R. W. B., & Oomens, S. (2022). Promoting Factors to Stay at Work Among Employees With Common Mental Health Problems: A Multiple-Stakeholder Concept Mapping Study.
Frontiers in Psychology,
13, 1–13.

Yvonne, K., & Jiang, S. (2021). A Review on the New Normal, Employee Wellbeing and the Role of HRM: A Tale of HR among the New Normal for the Employee Wellbeing.
International Journal of Business and Management,
16(8), 115–121.

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