Human Resources

7 Key HR Trends You Should Know About in 2020



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With advancing technology continually improving work environments, workplace best practices are consistently evolving – and that means HR is evolving too.

If an organisation wants to work effectively while also attracting and retaining top talent, then keeping up with and applying the latest industry trends is key.

Here we discuss 7 HR trends you should be reading up on this year to keep your business in the know.  




Artificial Intelligence

While the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) isn’t exactly a new trend, an increasing number of companies are beginning to embrace and rely on AI to streamline and simplify their business processes.

In doing so, companies are also seeing significant and measurable improvement in the candidate and employee experience by making data-driven decisions as a result of people and workplace analytics, creating a more holistic HR approach.

AI can help HR professionals to do many things, including:

  • Automate menial tasks and processes (i.e. payroll and records management)  
  • Confirm resume-related information (i.e. education and experience)
  • Analyse and manage employee productivity and performance
  • Recognise issues and behaviours related to employee turnover
  • Customise training and development for individual employees
  • Notice irregularities that could indicate workplace misconduct

To learn more about the other ways businesses are benefitting from AI specific to HR analytics, click here.

Remote Employees

This year we’ve seen a huge increase in employees working from home due to COVID-19, and it’s demonstrating to businesses that there can be a lot of time and money saved by keeping remote working an option as businesses begin to get back to a sense of normality.  

Remote working allows for more workday flexibility as it throws the typical 9-to-5 working day out the window, causing employees to be more productive during the hours that work best for them – especially when they’re not worried about traveling to and from work.

Remote working also allows for companies to naturally expand their talent pool by hiring candidates on a strictly remote basis. The virtual elements of technology that go hand in hand with remote working offer organisations the luxury of hiring top talent that otherwise might not be attainable due to commuting issues.  




Virtual Team Building

During a time when working from home has become a norm, it’s been difficult for employees to effectively bond – which is an important component to any efficient working team, especially when bringing on new hires. However, employers are starting to come up with creative ways for employees to work on their team-building skills – even if that means doing so virtually.

While the idea of ‘team bonding’ often motivates people to roll their eyes, if COVID-19 has taught us anything, it’s that regular human interaction is a key factor in creating a positive working environment.

So, whether it be as simple as sharing morning coffee over video chat or participating in a weekly virtual quiz, team-building activities increase morale, lead to happier employees, and often result in improved employee retention.

Recruitment Marketing

Rather than aiming to attract customers, like traditional marketing practises, recruitment marketing is used to proactively attract candidates on an ongoing basis, and organisations are starting to understand the value of effectively marketing themselves so that they can attract the right people from the get-go.
Making the right hires requires an in-depth look at what your company stands for and what it hopes to represent to potential employees. To this end, HR departments are now thinking strategically about their employer brand, and they’re using recruitment marketing to acquire their best talent.

While it’s true that there are always periods of time when there are no vacancies within your company, it’s still important to consistently communicate what it’s like to work for your company through various platforms (i.e. LinkedIn or Instagram).  

Many companies, for example, have employees participate in fun, interactive videos where they discuss their individual workday experiences or showcase in-office perks. People want to work for a company that looks inviting, exciting, and innovative – and recruitment marketing helps make that happen.

Focus on Employee Experience

In recent years, shifting more focus on employee experience has been an increasing trend for successful organisations.

From recruitment and onboarding up until the time an employee leaves the company, organisations are concentrating on how to continually improve the employee experience, including their level of engagement within the company.

To give employee’s the workplace experience they want, leaders need to put themselves in the shoes of their employees to gain a better understanding of their experiences, to learn from them and implement any necessary changes.

For a great employee experience, companies should consider things like:

  • Improving internal communications where it’s needed
  • Investing in a better onboarding experience
  • Conducting exit interviews
  • Offering training and development opportunities
  • Acting on employee feedback
  • Investing in employee health and wellness

At the end of the day, an organisation’s employees are the fundamental makeup of what an organisation is, and if leaders and HR professionals aren’t aware of what their employees’ needs and values are, they risk losing top talent to competitors.



Inclusion and Diversity 

Companies shouldn’t want to hire the same kind of person repeatedly or try and shape individuals to a singular mould, and while employees should share common values and be motivated towards similar goals, by no means should anyone be identical.

Concentrating on inclusion is a trend that’s on an incline now more than ever because organisations are recognising the need for developing a diverse workplace culture that empowers employees to be themselves at work.

With a typical workday taking up a significant amount of their time, employees want to feel that that they have a purpose and a sense of belonging when they come into the office. If they don’t feel like they fit in or are underrepresented, however, they’re more inclined to leave or feel unsatisfied (and be less productive) in their roles.

People deserve to feel at home when they’re at work – minus the television and fuzzy slippers, of course – and while companies big and small are still getting the hang of what inclusion and diversity looks like and how to properly implement it in the workplace, it’s great to see that it’s becoming a larger focus in the HR industry.

Skills Over Education  

Remember when going to college or university was a mandatory requirement to score that dream job? Well, it turns out that it might not be so mandatory anymore.

This workplace trend may come as a surprise, but companies – Apple and Google included – are starting to recruit and hire employees for their skills over their education. In other words, leaders and HR professionals are using new resources, relaxing certain requirements, and bringing on non-traditional workers.

While higher education is still considered a major asset, many learning institutions focus too much on transmitting knowledge rather than skills, and employers are picking up on that. If candidates don’t have the skills to back up their knowledge, then they’re more likely to be passed over for a candidate with less education but more hands-on experience.

So, how is it possible to know whether a potential employee has the essential skills and knowledge? You test them!

It’s one thing to meet with a candidate and have them repeat learned – or memorised – information, however, having them apply their knowledge during an interview through a skills test is another. This ultimately saves organisation time, money, and a lot of headache.

Now that you know which HR trends are making the biggest impact on businesses this year, consider which trends your company needs to be more involved in, and reflect on how they could be useful.

Workplace change may not always be easy – and might even a little intimidating – but it’s always worth it.

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