With the Covid -19 pandemic, it was necessary to reinvent the forms of work and social interaction, which affected several aspects of routine, from productivity to mental health.

As a result, companies had to pay attention to these elements, which was challenging for anyone dealing with people management. This is what the Great Place To Work (G P T W) report indicates. Learn more about the scenario and how to prepare yourself to deal with the next challenges.

The main challenges of people management

People management, by itself, is already a challenging area within companies. After all, without an integrated community, it is more difficult to achieve the desired results. However, the new situations brought about by the pandemic scenario have made this sector even more important.

According to the results, the main people management challenges in 2020 were:


  1. Make the work structure more flexible (home office, flexible hours, hybrid model, etc.);
  2. Make an efficient internal communication (both HR and between the team);
  3. Create a digital mindset among leadership,
  4. Create programs and offer benefits aimed at mental health,
  5. Create a digital mindset among employees (outside the leadership ),
  6. Structure traditional HR processes.

In addition to these, the challenges of working on the theme of diversity and inclusion, using innovative tools (such as artificial intelligence), and strengthening the relationship between company and employee were also mentioned.

In other words, from a distance, the people management sector had to find ways to improve the employee’s relationship with the company, with their co-workers, and even reconnect the business purposes.

Lina Eiko Nakata, the GPTW data scientist, says that the report clearly shows the reality of what happened in 2020. “What we see about mental health, for example, is that the concern with this has worsened a lot, due to new reality, new ways of working, which required changes in the routine at home and with the family”, he says.

Trends and challenges in 2021

The changes that took place in 2020 will reverberate for some time yet.

“One of the trends in the hybrid format, but the reality is that many people do work that needs to be in person. Even those who don’t need it, sometimes work in companies with insecure leaders, who ask for this physical presence”, says Lina Nakata. Therefore, when it comes to people management, the coming years promise changes in the way of communicating and dealing with employees, as well as innovations to make work more integrated.

According to GPTW, the main trends and challenges for people management are:

  1. Internal communication;
  2. Change of leadership mindset ;
  3. The flexibility of work;
  4. Digital transformation;
  5. Mental health;
  6. Employee experience;
  7. Diversity and inclusion.

In addition to these themes, ESG principles (Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance), artificial intelligence, and employer branding were other topics mentioned as a concern of companies for 2021 and the next few years.

As you can see, these elements are being seen as essential for good management of people and more motivated employees.

“This impact on the well-being of employees, by the way, was a widely debated topic in 2020 and, of course, will remain on the agenda in 2021. Mental health was cited by 38% of respondents in the GPTW survey as the main topic of management of people to be worked, right after the digital transformation, which appears in 4th place with 42% of the votes”, points out the text of the report.

Mental health, diversity and innovation

These three themes are on the radar of leaders, managers and employees. In the survey, they appeared with great importance as a challenge, but also as a trend. According to Lina Nakata, last year made clear the importance of thinking about mental health, in addition to showing the relationship between diversity and innovation.

“Many companies understand that mental health is a co-responsibility function of the company towards people. It’s not just a matter of employees, it was understood that work, leadership and managers affect mental health a lot and can even aggravate cases”, he explains.

According to her, it is essential that people management is aware of this, as mental health compromises not only performance but the relationships between people within the company.

Diversity also emerged as a relevant topic, although, according to Lina Nakata, it is still a topic that has been little worked on in some companies, not being the focus of many of them for the near future.

How to improve people management to deal with challenges

Taking these three main points into consideration, the GPTW data specialist says that many of these “problems” are related to the mindset of the people in the company, which makes the solutions more difficult to be seen.

“Attitudes need to come from top leadership. As long as the leaders themselves are not models for trying to improve people management, changes will not happen. These people should be the first to set an example of empathy and think of people as individuals, not just professionals”, suggests Lina Nakata.

In addition, giving autonomy to people management sectors and committees is essential to intensify the debate within companies. “For example, if diversity is not constant, it doesn’t happen. It is not with a lecture that people will understand and become sensitive to the subject. It is necessary to strengthen this discourse and show the concern with this in different ways”, concludes the data specialist.

The year 2020 brought countless adversities, but it also opened space for new forms of work and interaction. Innovating in people management and making room for changes to be made is one of the main ways to face the new challenges that lie ahead

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