What Are the Biggest HR Trends for 2020?

Jan 9, 2020 | HR Trends

The year 2020 promises to bring some exciting new trends in HR. Here are some of the emerging ones that you can expect to see taking off through the coming year! Read on to learn how to successfully navigate the latest trends affecting organizations everywhere. 

Decentralized organizational structures

Organizations are increasingly experimenting with less traditional (and less hierarchical) structures. “Businesses are reinventing themselves to operate as networks of teams to keep pace with the challenges of a fluid, unpredictable world,” says Deloitte. These teams often shift and change depending on current needs, with members moving from one team to another. Having agile, adaptable teams can allow everyone to leverage their skills in the most effective way. 

Use of big data

A less hierarchical work structure where two employees sit side by side
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The upsurge of tools that handle analytics allows HR staff to continuously gauge employee satisfaction. Predictive analytics also shows specific ways that they can enhance the employee experience to help their staff stay loyal and engaged. Big data can also help organizations decide on the right hires, predicting who will prove the best fit for the company—and smart companies are taking note. Using analytics, they can more effectively track and manage employee progress, too, resulting in a more capable staff. 

Assistance from AI in employee management

In 2020, expect to witness the rise of artificial intelligence in training and managing personnel. From onboarding to ongoing training, AI can make recommendations for how to manage employees as well as assisting in their training. Chatbots can already provide detailed answers to many questions that arise during training, and companies are increasingly working to implement such technologies. These tools allow for self-directed learning, which in turn permits managers to focus on the elements of training where they are most needed.

Striving for a work/life blend, not balance 

The effort it takes to maintain a strict balance between work and personal life can create a lot of stress. Employees can alleviate that stress by recognizing that during some weeks, they might devote a little more time to work, and other weeks—a bit more time to family. 

Additionally, many employees and organizations are ceasing to advocate for a strict separation of work and life. As employees increasingly telecommute and use flex time, work and life often blend together in new ways. For instance, a parent who works from home might have lunch with his family or play with his kids during short breaks.

Increased emphasis on “human skills” 

A positive work culture where the manager is checking up on her team's wellbeing.
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As processes become increasingly automated, the emphasis on interpersonal skills will grow. The ability to effectively coach employees to success and provide moral support will remain a vital skill for managers. Likewise, the ability to communicate clearly and help create a positive company culture will be vital for any manager or employee. As software increasingly handles certain technical needs, such as creating reports, emphasis on human skills will define success. 

Using new hiring tactics to fill the skills gap 

Organizations are seeking out job candidates in new ways, such as through cross-functional training and hiring based on skills rather than credentials. The best new hires often already work for the company and just need some additional training to enhance their skill set. In other cases, the most capable candidates may not have the desired education but possess the knowledge and skills to succeed in the role. Hiring managers who remain open-minded about candidates’ backgrounds will often find hidden gems.

Growing focus on environmental and social consciousness

Millennials and Gen Zers tend to care deeply about their organizations’ investment in societal wellbeing, leading organizations to focus more attention on these priorities. Thus, companies need to clearly convey how they have a positive influence on the world. They might emphasize how their work directly benefits society or implement programs that let them give back to their community in other ways. Through the chance to volunteer or help decide which local nonprofits, schools, libraries, or hospitals to support, employees will know they are creating real change.

Employees leading an ecological program to implement positive societal changes
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Emphasis on meaningful, mission-driven work 

Boomers and younger employees alike want to feel their work makes a difference, and company leaders are responding. The most effective leaders let each employee know how their work benefits the company, playing a vital role in its success. They remind them of the key role they play on a regular basis so it stays front and center in their minds. By doing so, they keep morale high and employees excited to come to work each day. 

A manager is checking in on his employees to see if his employees feel fulfilled and find their work meaningful
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More specializing within the HR profession

HR roles will gravitate toward becoming more specialized rather than generalized. Already, many companies are introducing new roles within HR that focus on specific aspects of the profession. Here are a few examples from the Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM):

  • Director of people analytics
  • Vice president of data, artificial intelligence, and offering strategy
  • Vice president of global HR, performance, and IT
Specialized HR professionals coming together for a weekly meeting.
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By introducing such roles, companies often aim to enhance the employee experience by better tracking employee satisfaction and offering a high level of support.

Upgrading the benefits package

Companies are thinking more creatively about their benefits packages as they become more aware of the types of programs their employees want. Options such as pet insurance, financial wellness programs, and leave for employees caring for aging parents can meet the shifting needs of a broader range of people. HR should survey their employees to find out which kinds of benefits matter most to them, then work with company leaders to provide those perks. 

Stay on top of these trends, and you’ll guide your organization to greater success through the coming year. Plus, you’ll impress your HR colleagues with your in-depth knowledge of the latest developments in the field, which are likely to continue influencing HR far beyond 2020!

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