HR Trends 2020: Shaping Workforce Of The Future


HR Trends for the past a couple of years have been around the Digital Transformation of HR as a function and the Trends in 2020 would remain the same with Transformation not longer being an option, but it’s a mandate now.

Lets’ try and list out the various trends which we see would have an impact on HR as a function and the role of HR in an organization. These trends could be forced because of the changing nature of the workplace, peer pressure as competition is continuously adapting or it can be the internal and inclusive need seen as an integral part of the growth of the organization as a whole.

The influx of Technology

AI, Chatbots, Data analytic tools, gamification; have been a trend and will gain even more relevance in the coming times. Identifying the usability, need for the change and deriving adaptability would be a key task. The HR function has to handle this trend and be prepared for the continuous change and have to support the employees in this journey of growing with the technology. Humans will set the context and machines will execute. The balance between Touch & Tech is the key. According to KPMG’s HR Transformation Survey – 50% felt that intelligent automation will drive significant changes for the business and process automation will have a notable impact on the HR Operating model.

The Age of Social Media

Organizations now have the challenge to manage the hyper-connected workforce and it is still surprising that some organizations are still caught in a dilemma to decide on whether to allow social media usage or to still stay guarded with their old principals. Organizations should in turn leverage the power of Social Media and use it to brand themselves as employee-friendly and growing with the trends kind of a workplace. With the mobiles getting smarter, data getting cheaper, social media fever spreading like wildfire, organizations cannot be strict on the social media norms. The idea is to reach an understanding to leverage from Individuals who are social brands and be a brand that can leverage the individual.

The Multi-Generational Workforce

One major trend that will be of even more relevance is the multi-generational workforce and thus supporting them as HR would always remain a challenge. With the increase in the working Millennials, the expectations from the organization change in every aspect. This manpower will never be content with stability, regulations, processes which have been there through the years and which they feel are not enabling them in their work.

There would be many trends associated in dealing with the so-called Gen-next or Gig Economy

  • Flexibility: Flexibility with respect to timings, roles, work allocated, etc will always be a challenge with this workforce. A survey foresees 40% of the US workforce to shift away from full-time jobs. 9 to 5 desk shifts are soon going to be a thing of the past.
  • Globalization: Confined workplaces, office jobs would not be associated with the young workforce anymore. Work from home or anywhere would be the norm. With the organizations expanding globally, working from remote locations would always be the preferred mode. Decentralization would thus hold the key.
  • No Blanket Policies: The era of blanket policies for all would be soon gone. HR has to understand the needs of the employees and accordingly device policies with respect to the working norms, Reward, and recognition, etc. E.g. Long Service Award was a matter of pride for the older generations, however, the same is seen in a different light by the younger generation.

Reskilling and Upskilling

The HR function has to take up the dual challenge of Transforming HR Operations on one hand and transforming the workforce and the way work is done on the other. The traditional Learning and Development methods have to be redefined and thus the reskilling and upskilling of the workforce to stay relevant to the trends play an important role. The traditional human touch and classroom session would have more relevance if they are supported well with app-based, online and gamification of the learning.

Data Analytics

Technology has now equipped the HR Function with a plethora of data. HR analytics could be utilized for better productive analytics and thus could support the business growth with respect to workforce planning, talent sourcing and positively affecting the longevity of employee tenure thus leading to overall positive results for the employees and the organization as a whole.

Leadership Alignment

This term will always remain a trend and with the continuous evolution around the workplace and the trends in general, Leadership will have to evolve and adapt to these changes to stay relevant. Natural leaders would foresee these changes and would modify themselves to adapt. Whereas, the HR function would have to be well prepared to support the leadership to help them identify the changes, understand the trends and thus accordingly deliver to successfully lead the team and business and organization.

HR Function

Every trend within the organization, either internal or external will need a strong HR function to support the organization. Thus, the HR function and its continuous evolvement too would be a big trend:

  • HR has to evolve from a support function to a strategic role and consultative solution provider to the business. This shift is on an upward trend with many CEOs realizing the expertise of HR when it comes to making projections or expanding/shrinking the operations.
  • Focus on the employee experience rather than the employment experience is the mantra. Many employees stay with the organization because of the culture and satisfaction that the organization is there to support them with respect to their professional growth and at the same time the employees are being made capable to handle their personal growth.
  • Using technology to attract and hire the best talent, usage of gamification tools or psychometric tools would always help maintain quality of hiring and regular reviews internally in the function and identifying the gaps and evolve continuously as a function will remain a continuous quest.
  • Innovation will always outpace regulation.

The trends over the past few years have evolved gradually. Any new drastic change or new trend is not foreseen considering the growth, however, the existing trends would surely see more emphasis being given to them based on the overall business growth, internal need analysis of the organizations and the ever-evolving workforce growing beyond physical boundaries.

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