Over the course of the 2010s, the scope of human resources expanded and evolved along with changes in how organisations function, how teams are managed and employee expectations when it comes to work. In the last couple of years, the human element and employee engagement became a primary focus of HRs. IHowever, as the new decade began, change was thrust upon industries across the world  due to the COVID 19 pandemic. With more and more people working remotely, technology has become an integral part of everyone’s life including HR. There is a notable increase in the use of artificial intelligence for hiring and recruiting, in monitoring the wellness of employees,  measurement of productivity and so on.

 The top 10 HR trends for 2020 keeping in mind all these factors would be:

1. Flexibility

Before the onset of the pandemic, flexibility was being granted by the employers rather than desired. The pandemic has proved that work can happen just as effectively from home as well.  Gallup studies show that 73% of employees say that flexible work arrangements increased their satisfaction at work, while 78% of the people being surveyed felt that flexible work arrangements made them more productive. Several advantages are also emerging such as reduced time in commute, savings in real estate, retention and increase in productivity due to this flexible work. This will surely push employers to reconsider adjustments to their company policies, around flexible work options.

2. Ensure Work Life Balance is a Norm

One of the biggest HR trends to look forward to in 2020 would be for HR policies to be centred around ensuring that employees have a healthy work life balance. Incorporating more frequent check ins by managers as part of the policy will ensure holistic well being of the employee. HR policies will thus be solidified around remote working

3. Tougher Approach to Diversity and Equal Opportunities

The year 2020 will also see a rising  trend of adapting inclusion and diversity as part of the business model. The move towards diversity and equal opportunity is happening slowly but organisations need to do it more aggressively. This will need to go far beyond just recruitment strategy.  HRs are finding ways to incorporate inclusion and belongingness into the policies and procedures of the company with support from the company leaders. Companies are also bringing in continuous education and training at all levels to show their commitment to inclusive policies.

4. Proactive in Demonstrating Kindness and Courage in the Face of Challenges

When it comes to deviant behaviour,  many decisions are taken at the board level and with economy in mind. Very rarely is the psychological or human impact considered. The HR team is now  stepping in there, to bring forth the challenges and impact on employee engagement and productivity, that will be impacted by the decisions made. HRs are no longer taking a neutral stand.  Calling out a rogue employee, or a board not performing its duties or bringing change to a toxic work culture is being done by the HR team in a more proactive and open way.

5. HR Personnel Broadening their Skill Sets

Data and technology are the absolute priority in terms of skills to be honed. Digital skills are becoming increasingly important. People need to develop digital and technical skills in order to stay relevant. 

Another aspect of learning are soft skills which are important given the pandemic situation, raging across the world today. HR personnel need to be constantly aware of the socio economic times they are operating under. The HR team also needs to be aware of what is happening politically in order to understand the implications for the organisation. Keeping abreast of the fluid scenario that exists will be the need of the hour in terms of time allotment, prioritisation and dealing with unusual situations today.

6. Emphasis on  Training and Development

The pandemic has moved more employees to take up various training courses online. It was found that employees spent about 150% more time online for courses between March to May than between December to February. Successful learning requires customising technology and making it more employee focused. Providing meaningful learning opportunities in the organisation is now a must have and encourages employees to become specialists, managers and leaders of their team. This serves a two pronged purpose of enhancing the professional growth of employees as well as the business growth of the organisation and is a trend to stay.

7. Digital HR -The Way Forward

Digital HR is a process optimization in which social, mobile, analytics and cloud technologies are leveraged to make HR more efficient, effective and connected. Companies must invest in technology platforms that manage HR processes efficiently. This technology is used in various HR processes such as onboarding, performance management and so on. These platforms will help to integrate internal and external data and people analytics is leveraged to create business relevant insights.  Online learning, engagement and feedback can all be handled digitally to make the entire process more efficient 

Besides these, HR will need to continue improving online learning, engagement and feedback, hiring and many other key functions using technology. Work whether remote or onsite, HR has their work cut out.

8. Data at the Core of HR Decision Making

Big data analysis has wide reaching potential that can be applied to any sector of an organisation. A recent survey found that 62% of companies reported that they have seen measurable results from taking a data driven approach and a further 92% of the surveyed companies are increasing the use of such data and AI in the decision making process. It is also bringing about robust and unbiased HR decisions that have greater effectiveness..

9. Focus On Employer Branding

In today’s world, it is definitely a challenge persuading new talent to join.  Unless the organisation has a 5 star reputation, it is not even a consideration for new recruits. The onus of creating a brand value of the organisation lies with the top management in collaboration with HR. A lot of thought needs to go into how the organisation wishes to set itself apart from its peers as well as how they market themselves as a unique workplace. The end goal is to be a company wherein all the employees are proud advocates of the company. The responsibility of building a positive company image lies equally with HR and the way policies are formulated be it in recruitment, social responsibility or work culture.

10. Agile Reviews Over Annual Reviews

The modern workplace is fast paced and collaborative and hence requires feedback too at shorter intervals. With remote working in place, reviews at shorter intervals also serve to assure employees that they haven’t been abandoned and are still thought about and cared for. It is a huge morale booster when the management gets back to them as to how they are faring in their work.  Regular check ins, constant feedback and coaching will drive performance now on. The HR is thus  formulating policies accordingly.

 

2020 has undoubtedly been an extraordinary year in terms of how work happens. Coupled with global pandemic are also situations which require immediate change such as company branding, equal employment opportunities and others as discussed above.  While new technologies will help immeasurably, to well thought out organisational objectives and priorities, that alone is not sufficient. HR can harness these tools in bringing about the necessary changes in the policies of the organisation in order to build better brand value.