Five 2021 lessons from HR leaders

From the year that changed everything

A workforce strategy grounded in perspective

An organization that invests in its workforce can help build organizational resilience and performance in a world where the only constant is change. KPMG convened Chief Human Resources Officers from Chevron and Blue Shield of California to discuss how this disruption impacted their perspectives and is influencing their strategies for 2021.

Five 2021 lessons from HR leaders

Download the paper


"We have to be flexible about everything and we increasingly find ourselves revisiting decisions, modifying plans to suit fast-changing circumstances."

— Rhonda Morris, Chief HR Officer, Chevron


Embracing new ways of working and raising expectations of business purpose has become paramount. With a sound strategy, organizations have the opportunity to be more connected, drive innovation and collaboration, and bring a new humanity to leadership.

Lesson 1: Live your values - Corporate purpose is becoming a differentiator. Those organizations that can live their values, connect with their employees, and stand up for their beliefs are most likely to win the trust of customers, partners, and investors.

Lesson 2: Evolve and adapt your employee experience - As we move into the fourth industrial revolution and establish new ways of working, HR leaders must continue to shape employees’ experience to adapt to a dynamic world encompassing flexible, hybrid work models, and increasing automation.

Lesson 3: Lead with humanity - What used to be deemed a “soft skill” is rapidly becoming a requirement for leaders at all levels of the organization.

Lesson 4: Flexibility builds long-term resilience - The lesson for 2021 and beyond is the need to be highly adaptable to change, so that organizations can swiftly develop new capabilities and alter ways of working.

Lesson 5: New era, new role for HR - HR has a vital role to play in shaping an agile, future workforce. According to the KPMG 2020 CEO Outlook, “talent risk” is now considered the number one threat to long-term growth, while our global HR survey ranks “reskilling” as the most important workforce challenge.

"We do feel a very strong duty to respond, and it’s really an organizational commitment for us to stand up for what is right."

— Mary O’Hara, Chief HR Officer, Blue Shield of California


Contact us to learn how KPMG LLP can help your organization design and integrate a future-ready work environment to boost morale, reduce costs, and attract top talent.

Lisa Massman

Lisa Massman

Principal, Human Capital Advisory Leader, KPMG US

Mike DiClaudio

Mike DiClaudio

Principal, Human Capital Advisory , KPMG US