We’re halfway through the first “real” work week of the new year and as you think through your plans for 2019, it helps to look at the big picture. There are a lot of HR trends that experts predict will shape the year ahead, but we’re taking a more narrow approach. Here are four predictions we have for this year and how they will affect HR Services in particular.
1. A shift from employee experience to the digital employee experience
Employee experience (EX) will still be a top priority for many organizations. However, we predict HR will focus more specifically on the digital EX. Digital EX considers all the technology and tools employees interact with as they navigate their lifecycle at an organization. Designing for the digital EX focuses on closing the gap between how employees get things done in their personal life and how they get things done at work. Think about the expediency of Google. If an employee doesn’t have to wait for information they need at home, why should they have to wait at work? As the workplace grows increasingly digital, the technological aspect of EX will demand as much, if not more, focus than the cultural and physical aspects.
What it means for HR Services: Because they’re the first point of contact when an employee or manager needs anything, HR Services has a huge opportunity to impact the digital EX, which begins from the time of being a candidate (active or passive) to becoming an alumnus or alumna.
2. Re-skilling and retention will go hand-in-hand
The surging pace of technology means the skills employees possess today can quickly become outdated. According to the World Economic Forum, by 2020 more than a third of the desired core skill sets of most occupations will be comprised of skills not yet crucial to the job today.
Not only is re-skilling and up-skilling your workforce vital for business growth, it’s becoming essential for recruiting and retention. Today’s talent pool is placing a premium on training and education benefits. This is evident by the fact that four out of five millennials said the opportunity to learn new skills is a top factor when considering a new job, according to a 2016 Manpower survey. For HR, ongoing skills training will be critical to remaining competitive in 2019 not only as a business but also as an employer.
What it means for HR Services: Even if an organization offers skills training or cross-boarding opportunities, it’s up to HR Services to communicate these benefits and ensure that taking advantage of them is an easy process. If the policy for tuition reimbursement or continuing education is difficult to find, and if the process is complicated, then employees may feel their company isn’t invested in their growth after all.
3. Strategic HR leaders will rely more on design thinking
We talked a lot about design thinking this year, not just because it’s an approach we use to create HR products, but because it’s a concept we believe is becoming critical to the job of HR. In fact, HR leaders from companies like T-Mobile, IBM, and GE already use design thinking to solve challenges such as employee engagement.
When applied to HR, the principles behind design thinking promote achieving a desired outcome (instead of simply getting rid of a problem) and putting the employee front and center. With this mindset, HR is primed to work more strategically, which is crucial as the HR function moves away from administration and closer to a business partner role. Design thinking will be a useful tool in driving business results while simultaneously advocating for employees.
What it means for HR Services: As HR transforms and the workplace becomes more digital, it can be tempting to look at technology as a driver and fall into a “more is better” mindset. A design thinking approach focuses on the overall goals and changes the question from “What can we achieve with new technology?” to “What do we want to do and can we achieve it with new technology?”
4. AI adoption will continue to rise with a focus on data analysis
HR is beginning to experiment with AI, especially within recruitment. But despite this traction, the majority of HR leaders still don’t feel prepared to adopt AI. According to a survey by the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA), 68% of respondents believed their workplaces were either ‘not very prepared’ or ‘not prepared at all’ for AI.
So, while we don’t think 2019 will be the year of widespread AI adoption in HR, we do believe there will be a steady uptick. One application we predict will take hold this year will be the use of AI to analyze pulse survey data. This provides HR with timely insight into what employees care about, how they’re feeling about the organization or their manager, or whether they’re uneasy about anything.
What it means for HR services: Natural language processing (NLP) and machine-learning algorithms can interpret and intimately understand human language. This means HR can use AI to analyze survey data to help them better understand how their service delivery is impacting employees and how they can improve it.
These are many macro trends that will change the game for HR in 2019—these four are just a few that we think will impact HR Services in particular. Do you agree with our predictions? Let us know in the comments!
Jolene Nicotina is the Content Marketing Manager for North America at PeopleDoc, Inc. She works on making sure HR professionals have all the latest information they need related to HR service delivery, HR technology, and PeopleDoc, Inc. Prior to PeopleDoc, Jolene worked in marketing communications for the healthcare technology industry.