5 HR trends to look out for in 2020

  1. HR analytics

The use of HR analytics isn’t particularly a new concept, yet few HR departments get the most out of their data through analytics tools. This can often be chalked up to hard-to-use tools or simply too much data to handle.

Analytics is going to keep popping up on trend lists until until HR professionals learn how to utilize their data in the best way possible. Even so, new tools, systems and infrastructures are becoming available as we speak, so maybe 2020 is the year analytics finally live up to their potential.

  • 2. Upcoming HR Technologies

Robotic Process Automation

Put simply, RPA tools automate business processes. Companies can configure software or robots to interpret applications that automatically process a transaction, manipulate data, trigger responses and communicate with other digital systems.

What can RPA do specifically for HR? In short, the automation RPA allows HR professionals to focus on the most important parts of their work. For example, instead of having to manually update applicant tracking systems after new hires, recruiters can rely on RPA to take care of business.

Artificial Intelligence

Some well-known examples of HR-focused AI applications include reducing recruiting timelines, helping in candidate screening, and helping departments plan future hiring needs for important periods. AI also helps free people from paperwork so that they can work on more meaningful tasks, and it creates valuable insights by suggesting actionable strategies based on data.

Remember: true AI can do something it’s not coded to do. This ultimately means that most advanced AI applications are not widely used just yet. As tech evolves however, they will be more readily available and will become an integral part of our daily lives.

Virtual Reality

A great example of HR-related VR is used by the British Army to overcome its recruitment challenges. It recently created four VR experiences based on combat training, adventure training, tank training and parachute training. These were then posted on YouTube 360 as part of their recruitment strategy. The results were excellent, with a 65% increase in applications during the campaign’s first month and a 41% increase in the second month.

VR can also be used as part of a screening process for other hands-on roles. What’s more, tailored VR experiences help pinpoint the most skilled candidates pre-interview. Once at the interview stage, VR can enable candidates to demonstrate their practical skills. This makes VR a fantastic investment for positions that require extensive on-the-job training.

  • 3. New work, new workforce entrants

As previously mentioned, new technologies will leave us free to perform more meaningful tasks. But what does the future of work look like? You might already be familiar with the term New Work – today, more people than ever believe when it comes to work, what matters most is the end result, your values and your engagement on an individual and organisational level. 

Millennials on the rise

In a constantly-changing landscape, employees who are capable of inspiring change, both within the organisation and within themselves are truly indispensable. This is best personified by millennials – yes, they are sometimes ridiculed, but they are one of the main drivers of positive change in organisations. 

Millennials value digitalisation in all its forms and bring fresh ideas and new workflows into an organisation. This is great news for companies. When you consider the fact that millennials now make up the majority of the workforce, they are having a substantial impact that will only accelerate when the instant access-focused Generation Z joins the workforce.

When it comes to work, millennials generally value: 

  • Flexibility – in terms of remote work and flexible hours for a better work-life balance
  • Communication – collaboration, transparency and feedback – perform through digital channels, with the aim of learning how they can do better
  • Values – According to Deloitte, 75% of millennials believe businesses could pay more attention to the greater good and societal impact
  • 4. New leadership

Modern management is shifting towards a more people-centred approach. This allows people from all generations and walks of life to thrive. Who wouldn’t want to work in an organisation that supports your wellbeing and development? These new leadership concepts promote self-management, empowerment, teamwork, agile processes and emotional intelligence. Here are a few well-known examples of these principles related to the new ways of working and structuring of organisations.


In a holacracy, power doesn’t operate top-down, but is equally distributed throughout the organisation. This gives employees the freedom to self-manage without straying from the organisation’s purpose. A structured set of rules grants this freedom and eliminates problems like uneven power dynamics and duty-related guesswork.

Gig economy

In this type of labour market, short-term contracts and freelancing reign supreme over permanent contracts. This grants employees flexibility and freedom to select the jobs they want to do – and the amount of hours they want to work.

Today, more than 57 million workers in the United States (one third of the workforce) are part of the gig economy. For many people, the gig economy provides lifestyle benefits that can be hard to come by in traditional working life, such as a high degree of flexibility and the opportunity to be your own boss.

Teal organisation

Based on the work of Professor Clare W. Graves, a Teal organisation revolves around three specific values: self-management, wholeness and evolutionary purpose. In practice, this means hierarchies are removed and people are empowered to be their true selves while working together towards a goal without competition.

  • 5. Focus on your employees

Employees have traditionally been seen as a cost rather than the most important source of revenue. Your employees know your company’s structures, systems, products and services. They know what works and what doesn’t, and they have the power to accelerate change by engaging themselves and others.

Employee experience

Employee experience is the journey the employee takes within your organisation, from attracting and hiring talent, onboarding and engaging new employees, steering performance and development, to offboarding. 

Great employee experience should be the main priority for HR departments, as well-looked after employees will improve the organisation as a whole. Additional benefits include reduced sick days, increased employee retention, a more dedicated workforce, and easier recruitment drives.

Employee engagement

Employee engagement is especially important when it comes to managing change. If your employees don’t believe in what you are doing, your customers won’t either.

With 90,000 hours of their life spent at work, employees need a meaningful relationship with the company they work for. Dissatisfied, frustrated and stressed employees will not give their best. The ultimate goal is to foster purpose-driven, motivated employees who feel they have the support they need to help their company meet its goals. 

What you should do next

Get fully up to date with what’s happening with your own organisation and its employees. Once you’re there, carefully think through your next steps. Technology is a fantastic addition to HR, the most successful results happen when the delicate balance between humanity and technology is maintained. Find your balance, and build your company’s future.

If you’re geared up to start putting some of these trends into practice, start by building a solid foundation supported by HR technology and HR data with Sympa.

Author: Editorial Team

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