By Expert Panel® Forbes Councils Member

To say the field of human resources has gone through a few changes in 2020 is somewhat of an understatement. HR has gone through a sweeping transformation that has turned it into something better and more efficient at meeting the modern workforce’s needs.

Even so, as with all industries, the more things change, the more they remain the same. Trends are still one of the most critical tools for an HR department. Knowing what trends will be popular before they pick up can be eye-opening for any HR department. Here, 13 experts from Forbes Human Resources Council predict the trends they see rising in the second half of 2020 and explain why they’ll be so popular.

1. Bigger Focus On Diversity, Equity, Inclusion

Diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) will become a bigger trend in the coming months. The world is changing right before our eyes, and HR practitioners will need to support the positive and not-so-positive changes that are occurring. DEI is not new, but the lens by which HR practitioners will have to manage this topic will require fresh ideas and strategies that speak to the now. – Tina R. Walker, California Community Foundation

2. More Organizations Speaking On Social Issues

With the global health pandemic, racial injustices and inequality surrounding us, it is even more important for organizations to look inward and take a clear, public stance on social issues. As a result, diversity and inclusion initiatives will be of paramount importance now more than ever, and employees will hold their companies accountable to such initiatives. – Sarika Lamont , E3/Sentinel

3. Heightened Interest In Workplace Culture

I think it’s back to the most fundamental aspects of our shared humanity and that’s caring about people and putting them first. I think we will see a heightened interest in workplace culture and climate surveys, employee listening sessions and town hall meetings. Further, the diversity, equity and inclusion work of HR will be front and center as we strive toward anti-racist work environments. – Courtney Peterson, Sidwell Friends School

4. Improvement In Workplace Technology Systems

We expect to see improvements in workplace technology systems. With the drastic changes that organizations had to implement recently, having better collaboration tools, remote connectivity platforms (i.e., VPNs) and stronger IT infrastructures will be key. Additionally, enhanced employee training will be essential, so that employees are better equipped to transition both in/out of office effectively with little to no disruptions. – Jennifer Beezer, SPHR, SHRM-CP, FOREO Inc.

5. HR Leaders As Culture Champions

Human resources leaders will elevate more broadly to culture champions. There’s a surprising percentage of executive leaders that do not feel HR has a place championing organizational culture even though they’re often relied on as the front line defense against hiring those who do not fit culturally. Company culture is an employee relations and retention tool, after all. – Bryan Passman, Hunter + Esquire

6. Changes In Employer-Sponsored Health Plans

COVID-19 will force much-needed change in employer-sponsored health plans — a fundamental change in how employers and employees share in both cost and benefits’ value. The incentive for change is strong, and the data and technology we need to do it exist. As a result, more employers will embrace better plan design based on the tenets of personalization, choice, flexibility and cost certainty. – Jenna Obrycki Upgren, Bind Benefits, Inc.

7. Continued Caution In Hiring

The caution in hiring will continue. The recent pandemic has significantly changed business models, forcing some organizations out of business and requiring others to significantly adjust. It has driven home the possibility that all your revenue sources can dry up overnight. No employer wants to go to a point of layoffs, and hence organizations will be cautious over the next few months in hiring. – Amee Parekh, Uber Technologies

8. Growing Importance Of Working From Home

Companies will continue to allow employees to work from home as uncertainty regarding the resurgence of the coronavirus and the creation of a vaccine continues until 2021. Additionally, working from home may be an enduring outcome from the pandemic as companies are able to see that productivity and engagement has not suffered and they are able to realize cost savings from lower office expenses. – Phyllis Wright, Ph.D., Council for Inclusion in Financial Services (CIFS)

9. A Focus On Mental Health And Well-Being

A focus on mental health and well-being would become a central part of the HR agenda. Emotional well-being — not just financial incentives — would be a factor a prospective candidate would look for in the employer value proposition. Emotional well-being, not onsite perks, would define what a great place to work would look like. – Vineet Gambhir, Contemporary Leadership Advisors

10. Improvement Of Employee Experience

Employee experience will increase remarkably. In today’s economic climate, employees must be prioritized without compromise. That means understanding what motivates productivity, recognizing and allowing diverse versions of work/life flexibility, reimagining traditional work processes — for instance, adopting on-demand pay so employees can have easier access to earned wages when they need them. – Susan Tohyama, Ceridian

11. More Focus On The Remote Work Experience

In the next several months, there will be more focus on the remote work experience and how to make working from home part of the new norm as we transition into the next stage of COVID-19. Companies will need to balance revenue and commercial forecasts with a workforce that may still be uncomfortable with commutes, meetings and being back at their desk. – Polina Wilson, Unruly ®

12. More Importance Of Learning And Development

Learning and development will take on more importance for HR organizations. Remote working and flexible work schedules are no longer the competitive differentiators they once were. HR teams will need to ensure their ability to grow and develop employees is an organizational priority so you can attract and retain top talent. – Jessica Adams, Brad’s Deals

13. A Greater Focus On The Human Element

We expect to see a greater and intentional focus on the human at the center of work. There is an awakening happening due to the pandemic and societal injustices that are inspiring more leaders and cultures to take a brand stand that puts humans first. People leaders that back up their brand stand with actions will result in creating better business outcomes and, at the same time, support overall well-being. – Keri Higgins Bigelow, LivingHR, Inc.

This article originally appeared at https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbeshumanresourcescouncil/2020/08/03/13-human-resources-trends-expected-in-h2-2020/#32225272e121