8 Emerging HR Trends: A Finger on the HR Pulse

  • Brace
  • November 8, 2018
  • 16 min

For the new year, technology once again promises to change the landscape of recruiting and people management, while new ideas of team building offer a transformative influence on companies and workplaces. We’ll take a look ahead and see the top 8 most promising HR trends 2019, cover the most recent topics in HR, and show you some of the ways they can take your team to the next level.

AI: The Robots Are Coming, But Not for Your Job

AI has grown by leaps and bounds, creating new possibilities for HR departments and technology to work together to streamline recruiting, feedback, and communication. Just as Alexa has made ordering groceries a breeze, the computing power of digital brains can help HR professionals find great talent and create happier teams, with half the effort.

Some benefits of AI include…

  • Taking over the daily routine tasks of the office, such as vacation requests and feedback surveys.
    Many chatbots can even handle typical questions and advice, providing employees with a quick, competent response, and HR with more time to focus on complicated cases.
  • Eliminating human bias from recruiting and team policies.
    Humans have inherent and unconscious biases of which we are not always aware. With AI involved in recruiting, the software can sort candidates based on qualifications, without the human tendency for subconscious judgement.
  • Processing massive amounts of employee and candidate data.
    Computers can intelligently scour the internet and sort through 1000s of candidates, qualifications, and backgrounds to find the most promising and fitting for your company. This leaves the final decision in the hands of HR, but with the grunt work already a thing of the past.

People Analytics: Finding Promise and Predictions in the (Data) Haystack

People analytics is not a new term, but it is still steadily gaining value. HR teams will need to use data more and more to not only find candidates that are a great fit for company and company culture, but to predict and address employee retention and larger workplace and cultural factors. HR is expanding and as a Deloitte study observes “Today, companies are rethinking HR as an ‘intelligent platform’ and embedding analytics into their entire workforce management process and operations.”

Some benefits of people analytics include…

  • Making educated decisions about candidates and their fit.
    Making use of data about current or potential employees allows HR to use these resources to find patterns in employment histories and strengths to match the right team member to the right team. But be sure not to completely neglect the human factor of candidates, which data can obscure.
  • Keeping track of workplace mood and employee engagement.
    Digital feedback tools like kununu engage allow HR to have a wealth of information at their fingertips, including regular feedback surveys and a read out of the mood in the office. Automated processes integrate HR into the system of connecting employees and maintaining a positive company culture.
  • Predicting what will work, and confirming what doesn’t.
    People analytics allows HR to see what traits long-time employees have, in order to find these qualities in others, while comparing retention based on recruitment source helps isolate which ones provide good results.
Interested in people analytics? Check out our article Understanding and Applying People Analytics.

Gamification: Interactive Elements Integrate the Best Talent

The workplace is not always a place for fun and entertainment, but there is much to be learned from games. Elements of doing, rewarding, and interactivity are not only familiar to most in the digital world of today, but also more effective in achieving results. By making a well-planned gamification strategy, HR can speak the language of today’s employees, while improving training, recruiting, and selection.

Some benefits of Gamification include…

  • Helping employees learn something by letting them “do” it.
    People remember 90% of things they’ve learned by doing, rather than just being told. Finding clever ways to incorporate this interactivity into training or interviews will help HR departments choose wisely and groom their new hires for success.
  • Encouraging engagement and team connection.
    Applying badges, points, and other game rewards to actions (structural gamification) leads to more interactivity and connection between employees, the team, and the company. Ubiquitous smartphone gaming means team members are already familiar with this language, and can start interacting with it right away, while HR can utilize it for effective program and goal implementation.
  • Making your workplace attractive in reality and virtual reality.
    Cutting edge tech, like virtual reality, shows great promise for redefining meetings, remote working, training, and break options, while, in the case of PwC, immersive, interactive gamification increased the available job candidates by 190%. Producing full gaming experiences (serious gamification) is a real challenge, but also helps prepare employees and define your company as an innovative pioneer.

Flexible Working Arrangements: Bending A Bit Brings the Workplace Together

As millennials become the majority in workplaces, they’ve brought new ideas to the concept of “office.” Finding a good work-life balance is a driving factor in where to work, and having flexible working options goes a long way toward achieving this. Finding ways to allow remote work and flexible hours, while maintaining communication and productivity will be on many HR to-do lists in 2019.

Some benefits of Flexible Working Arrangements include…

  • Attracting and keeping the talent of the future.
    Flexibility is key to millennials, who are poised to make up 75% of the workforce by 2025. Creating a plan for flexible working arrangements now, can save a lot of headaches in the future.
  • Reducing turnover across the board.
    Inflexible working conditions are a large reason for employees to leave a company. Keep the best talent on your team by having flexible options ready for those that want it.
  • Add more tools to your recruitment kit.
    In the competitive market for employees, flexible work arrangements can be the difference between reeling in the best and letting them slip away. With more and more employees worried about work-life balance, it helps to have an answer for their concerns.
Find more flexible working inspiration and information here: Great Workplace Traits for the Future and Now

Culture Fit Hiring: The Best Teams Have More Than Talent

Every team needs the best talent, but they also need to work together. Company culture has been a driving concept for years and it is no less important now. Making sure to choose employees that are not only skilled, but that identify with the organization’s mission ensures that teams succeed and that retention stays high. In this quest, however, it also important to keep diverse ideas in the workplace and remember that cultural fit doesn’t mean everybody is the same. Finding the right blend will be an important and challenging mission for HR departments in 2019.

The benefits of Culture Fit Hiring include…

  • Building a strong and vibrant company culture.
    A clear company mission and culture are necessary for finding and keeping the best. When new hires fit with organizational values, then the culture will grow stronger and recruitment easier, as everyone will know what they are getting when they come to your company.
  • Reducing turnover and improving productivity.
    Turnover costs up to 400% of an employee’s salary, as well as intangibles like team spirit. Having employees that fit the skill requirement, as well as possessing “soft skills” like emotional intelligence, and connection to the team raison d’etat, keeps a team together and drives engagement and productivity.
  • Building diversity into the workplace.
    Not everyone should think or be the same, even if they all can identify with the common company values. Recruiting according to company culture, as well as skills, is an opportunity to find candidates from all walks of life that will bring diversity and new ideas to the team.
Find out all the details and dark sides of culture fit hiring with The Essentials of Culture Fit Hiring and Interviews.

Diversity and Inclusion: Unique Experiences Work Together to Set a Company Apart

Understanding diversity and inclusion as not just demographics, but also as the interaction with and integration of different ways of being and doing makes companies stronger and more profitable. As another advancement that accompanies millennial thinking, this new way of viewing the workplace is gaining steam, and driving the choices of future talent as to where they want to work. Creating the type of team that can deliver on these expectations will take the efforts and attention of HR in 2019.

The benefits of Diversity and Inclusion include…

  • Creating effective and decisive teams.
    Diverse teams make better decision 73% of the time and 2x faster. Ensuring that diverse experiences are an integral part of your team benefits employees and productivity.
  • Helping teams stay positive with better profits.
    Ethnically and gender diverse teams are 15-35% more likely to have above average profits. Integrating unique perspectives makes not only the team stronger and more accepting, but bolsters the bottom line, as well.
  • Promoting engaged employees and innovation.
    Millennials are a diverse generation and are especially motivated by an open inclusive workplace. Inclusion doesn’t just create open, better places to work and help curb harassment, but pushes active engagement amongst millennials to 83% and drives innovation through new views and ideas.

Want to know more? You can find it in our guide to workplace diversity and inclusion.

Workplace Trust: The Basis and Bond of Successful Teams

It takes a team to move mountains. To work together everyone needs to support each other and know that they are supported. This is where workplace trust comes it. Strong teams can be innovative and productive because they have the knowledge that everyone from their boss to their colleagues has their back. Promoting trust helps HR create supportive, trusting environments that encourage employees to stay and be the best they can be.

The benefits of workplace trust include:

  • Less stress and more energy.
    According to HBR, employees that are trusted feel less stress and have more energy. This pays off in better engagement, fewer stress-related health issues, and, of course, as a defense against employee burnout.
  • Improved communication and innovation.
    Team members that feel trusted are more willing to share their ideas and solve problems. This is essential for teams to face and adapt to any challenge while staying ahead of the curve.
  • Better financial performance for the whole company.
    Trust in the workplace leads to 2.5x better financial returns compared to low trust organizations. The ability to rely on each other allows teams to push the limits and stay focused and productive.

>> Learn more about workplace trust here <<

Mental Health and Wellness: More Than Mind, Body, and Soul

Employees are more than just physical. Every aspect of being human plays a role in an employee’s satisfaction and engagement. Life outside of work affects productivity at work just as much as work influences private feelings. An expanded view of wellness and health that encompasses not just the physical, but also social, financial, and psychological aspects of employees will be integral for HR to attract and keep the best teams.

The benefits of health and wellness include…

  • Increased retention of your best talent.
    Employees that are cared for by their employer return the favor. Promoting employee health inside and out connects employees to their work and workplace. This, in turn, motivates them to stay with the team that appreciates them and to contribute their full talent.
  • Better return on employee investment.
    The Harvard Business Review found that companies that invest in employee health programs see a 3-to-1 return on their money. Better health programs mean healthier employees ready to work, while the wellness aspect for stress management, body, and mind helps keep it that way.
  • Social connection boosts results.
    Studies by Gallup show that employees with friends at work aren’t just happier, they are more productive. Team members with good social connections are 7x more engaged leading to a 12% profit growth. A socially-connected workplace doesn’t just sound nice, it has real advantages in 2019.

Trending Now in HR

Here are the most recent topics and ideas that are buzzing in HR circles.

The Brexit Effect and HR

The fallout from Brexit reaches beyond politics into HR departments. The uncertainty of the outcome also makes many companies uncertain about how to proceed. What is sure is that there will be new challenges with employee mobility, benefits, and recruitment on both sides of the channel. Each HR department will have unique issues to address, but it’s essential to make a plan early, know what end result your company is aiming for, and build up strong engagement, problem-solving channels, and communication networks in your organization.

Brexit could mean changes to:

  • Workers rights: TUPE, work-time rules, collective consultation, and EU benefits could all be affected.
  • Recruiting and market strength: Freedom of movement, and talent pools will be limited by Brexit. This could lead to a battle for talent in the UK and your company should be prepared.
  • Benefits and pensions: Economic volatility could affect your current benefits set-up. According to PwC, it’s important to address this sooner than later and ensure that your company has incentives ready to help motivate and support employees through any coming storm.
  • Immigration concerns and work permits: Many talents in your team may now need visa’s or work permits. It’s good to consider what steps they need and how best to support them (and your whole talent pipeline) early.
  • Budgets for projects: If you had any big plans brewing, it would be good to check if now is the right time for them. Many projects are being put on hold due to the uncertainties of resources and the Brexit process.

HR Trends At A Glance

Check out the latest trends for HR for this and last year in a short and sweet version. You can find more info about this year's trends above.

YearHR TrendHR Benefits
Click "Next" for previous years
2019AI in HRBetter recruitment through automated searching.
2019People analyticsMore data for less bias and better retention.
2019GamificationAn interactive workplace for improved learning and motivation.
2019Flexible work arrangementsAdaptable work models for Improved productivity.
2019Culture fit hiringBoost retention with informed selections.
2019Diversity and inclusionDiverse perspectives and styles for better decisions.
2019Workplace trustBetter performance through connected employees.
2019Mental health and wellnessImproving work by taking care of the whole employee.
2018Employee engagement (more info)Boost performance through better employee connection.
2018Employee experience (more info) Improve workplaces by reviewing the whole work environment.
2018Blind hiringBetter teams through less bias.
2018HR chatbotsLet tech do the grunt work.
2018Employer branding (more info)Better recruiting by showing what your company stands for.
2018Evolution of performance reviews (more info)More accurate results with more frequent reviews.
2018The gig economyIntegrating freelancers into the workplace flow.
2018Extra health benefitsMore retention through investment in employees well-being.

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