How 2020 Will Break HR Rules

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CHROs and HR leaders need to forget about HR traditional processes. In the new year, every aspect of HR will see a transformation.

"The workforce is rapidly evolving. In the coming year, we will see an even greater focus on transparency, agility, culture, and purpose-driven leadership," said Byrne Mulrooney, chief executive officer at Korn Ferry RPO, Professional Search and Korn Ferry Digital.

“Employers are also becoming more flexible in how they embrace technology, attract and reward employees, and create ongoing transformation at all levels of the organization,” he added.

Based on input from talent acquisition, development, and compensation experts from across the globe, Korn Ferry identified some emerging global talent trends for 2020 that will drive these.

Goodbye control, hello trust

Forget work structures and controls. In 2020, creating an agile and adaptable culture will be the name of the HR game, with 59% saying that purposeful and meaningful work drives them.

The link between purpose-driven leadership bottom-line will become stronger.

The link between purpose-driven leadership bottom-line will also become stronger, with 96% already seeing long-term financial benefits. But CEOs can no longer focus on business results with ESG (environmental, social, and governance) metrics being added to their compensation packages.

Salary is public knowledge

Your salary is no longer a private matter, with 24% saying that it's appropriate to share their salary information with a colleague.

Yes, social norms are changing and will impact HR processes in 2020. Look out for more equitable pay programs that clearly articulate the principles and address employees who feel they are under-compensated.

Structural inclusion becomes a thing

Inclusivity was big in 2019. This year, it will be structural inclusion, which is an approach that looks for ways conscious and unconscious biases have been embedded into the talent systems and contribute to inequities in pay, promotions, representation, visibility, access, and opportunity. 

Get ready for de-biasing audits of HR processes, focus on inclusive leadership capabilities, and greater accountabilities for people managers.

HR needs to conduct de-biasing audits of their processes, build inclusive leadership capabilities in their executive and senior management ranks, and create more significant accountabilities for people managers in achieving greater diversity and inclusion.

Hiring and compensation gets cautious

Companies will get more cautious in hiring and compensation. Roles that directly impact the bottom line, such as R&D and sales, will be prioritized over traditional service roles like accounting.

While tech skills will continue to be highly prized, thanks to ongoing digital transformation demands, companies will become more reluctant to give across-the-board cost-of-living increases as they reduce fixed costs. Discretionary incentives, such as bonuses, will be preferred.

Strategic succession planning becomes critical

With many CEOs leaving for a range of reasons, some planned and others unplanned, HR leaders will look to do a strategic review of top leadership talent in 2020.

This will result in CEO succession becoming CEO “progression,” said Korn Ferry. Planning for senior-level roles will become an ongoing, strategic process.

Employee care gets AI care

Chatbots will become more than a resource tool for employees. It will help them to discover and apply for new roles within their organization, overcoming the anxiety of asking the boss for a job transfer.

Meanwhile, potential hires, who are already interfacing with bots, will face more “day in the life” virtual simulations. These will give employers essential behavioral data so that they can know if a hire is a good fit.

Reskilling gets disrupted

As workforce needs and job requirements evolve rapidly, HR professionals will need to find new ways of training and reskilling their employees. Many will roll out programs to help them gain certifications, accreditations, and niche skills if they have not done so already.

Ongoing hard-skill and soft-skill training will become the norm for all employees.

To help enhance employee capabilities — and increase retention — formalized, ongoing hard-skill (such as programming) and soft-skill (such as agility) training will become the norm. And this isn’t just about tech workers: everyone from sales to HR needs to be trained to meet the demands of tomorrow.

Welcome the career nomad

Traditionally, companies did not like career nomads. They see these high-performing, talented professionals who switch jobs, organizations, and even careers at a faster rate than others as a risk.

The Korn Ferry research showed these companies may be ignoring their benefits, such as multidisciplinary experiences, intellectual curiosity, and high learning agility.

In 2020, companies will start seeing career nomads in a different light. Many are already beginning to take steps to keep these high-potential, diverse, and agile job hoppers in their companies. Some will go further by selecting and evaluating talent across disciplines and not just focus on those with experiences tied directly to a role. As a result, more employees will be jumping across roles.

An all-out war on employee branding

For the past years, HR teams became more candidate-centric in their hiring, reducing interviews, and removing multiple entries of information. 

In 2020, they need to do more than that. Korn Ferry noted that HR needs to focus on positioning their companies as being authentic and transparent. This means they need to step back and understand the culture and what matters to employees through surveys and listening tools so that they can optimize their employee branding.

Photo credit: iStockphoto/monstArrr_