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Top 8 HR Trends in 2019 That You Should Know

By Raghavan Menon, CTO, Espresa

Most companies have crunched the numbers and realize the high cost of employee turnover and training. That’s why keeping up on human resource and people trends is vital and a cost-effective solution for companies looking to save money, while keeping in pace, if not surpassing the competition.

Here are eight trends that are set to dominate HR well into 2020.

1. Talent Acquisition + Retention Reigns Supreme

Acquiring talent is still a top concern for companies around the globe, and a costly exercise if not supported by a retention strategy. Ensuring that you’re finding the best talent that also represents your company’s core values is vital to building, growing, and sustaining your thriving culture. Technology gives access to human resource teams to seek out talent, but companies around the world are in a talent-acquisition race for amazing contributing brains!

2. HR Professionals are Now Technologists

Technophobic HR professionals need beware. Artificial Intelligence (AI) and big data are dramatically modifying the human resources landscape. Machine learning tools that automate talent acquisition are beginning to take shape, which frees up people teams to focus on personal relationships. That being said, they have in no way replaced the human experience. Sorry robots. You don’t get our jobs just yet.

Data-driven insights are also a powerful part of the HR process – especially when they aren’t being tracked in too many spreadsheets to count. People teams aren’t typically super excited about spending their time on developing and managing pivot tables (but maybe you are, and if so, drop us a line, we have to meet you).

Today, HR professionals are looking at huge data sets to inform decisions about employee performance, happiness, and how those affect business goals and outcomes. This is the time to embrace your inner data nerd so you can communicate to the rest of leadership you return-on-culture-investment!

3. Culture and Brand are BFFs

Consumers want to work with brands who they identify with, and whose values and philosophies align with their own. Gone are the days where people are willing to turn a blind eye (or Tweet) to hostile work environments. With social platforms becoming the de-facto voice for people’s happiness and frustrations, HR teams have the challenge of upping their game to unify their brand’s mission and their employee happiness.

A culture is only as good as its people are happy.

4. Rock on! Talent, Talent, Everywhere.

Ah, the distributed and global workforce. How amazing today that we no longer are confined to a city, state, or even a country to find the right people to help create our thriving culture. Finding talent from across the globe is not only possible, but easier than ever before!

It also means that HR teams have a new set of challenges in uniting culture and offering inclusive benefits that make people feel like they are part of something. This is where the technology piece is critical. HR teams need to have ways to keep track of employees, check their satisfaction levels, and still maintain positive lines of communication regardless of location.

Designing culture for a company with a large dispersed workforce is extremely challenging without technology helping to do the heavy lifting. Languages, cultural expectations, and even time zones need to be managed in new and creative ways.

5. Wages, Meet Rollercoaster

The conversation about wages (and debt – thanks, college) will continue to dominate. A fear of a recession looms due to tariffs, sanctions, and other shifts across the globe. Instead of increasing wages, HR and people teams are looking for more creative ways to add non-traditional benefits, such as rewards and recognition, employee resource groups (ERGs), wellbeing and mindfulness, and reimbursements for things that employees care about, like fitness.

Since productivity levels have never been higher, these non-traditional benefits can really make a difference on happiness. Given that workers can be reached anywhere at any time of day, flex time can also be a great benefit that doesn’t cost companies much, as long as the work gets done and expectations are met.

High wages do not guarantee loyalty – there can be misery with those “golden handcuffs”. High culture, on the other hand? Put your money on that – it will yield results, guaranteed.

6. Equity and Representation Matter

With shifting cultural attitudes and even clear data showing the way that diversity improves profits, workplaces are finding ways to improve equity. Representation avoids isolation and allows for robust conversations. Rather than being the next company to make some huge gaffe, it can be avoided via hiring.

While C-level employees are still mostly cis-gendered, white, and male, the landscape is slowly shifting. An increasing number of workplaces are hiring from within, which is great for minorities and women.

Lawsuits and news reports have forced us into a long overdue conversation and workplaces are better off for it.

7. Mentoring Is Powerful

With the baby boomer generation set to retire and to take all of their valuable skills with them, it’s important to pass their knowledge along. With the help of mentoring programs at large corporations, new employees can start off with a leg up.

Managers should be encouraged to lead rather than to delegate. In fact, more HR teams are shifting the language and structure in that direction. For a team to succeed, they need a leader who is on the front line, not a manager delegating from the rear.

8. Development and Training Persists

Year after year, the skill gaps arise as a major hurdle for companies hiring people who have experience but have left the career track. The wave of people with “encore careers”, who have left and now want back in, is massive. This is good for morale, but it requires that people need to be reskilled.

Employee development requires a change in the way that HR trains managers to talk to workers. Employees don’t want just a review at the end of a project with structured feedback. They’re hungrier for coaching and training.

A workplace where everyone has knowledge of everyone else’s job is one where employees are more compassionate and offer thoughtful feedback.

HR Trends Are More Than Passing Fads

The HR trends listed above are about more than buying software and implementing new gadgets. Human resources departments have to be agile and flexible, willing to listen, and understanding of what employees want. The more responsive they are, the better their company will fare against competitors.

If you want to reward your employees in meaningful ways, check out our guide for some helpful tips.

Espresa enables all your Culture Benefits, including rewards + recognition, employee resource groups, inclusion and diversity, wellbeing + fitness, reimbursements and allowances, and corporate events management – all on a single and simple-to-use platform that people love.

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