Depending on who you talk to, 2020 is either the last year of the previous decade or the first year of the new one. But either way, it seems an appropriate time to look forward and assess what will be the major trends for HR this year and beyond.
Looking forward, here are 5 major trends that we believe will shape 2020 (with a focus on Australasia):
Compliance becomes an HR focus
In Australia, businesses have been caught out in pay scandals. In every case, it has been for underpayment (no examples of overpayment have hit the media). Australia's largest grocery and supermarket chain Woolworths, for instance, underpaid staff by AUD 300 million, and there have been several scandals in the restaurant industry which have destroyed the reputations of famous celebrity chefs. The right technology can drive compliance and help organizations avoid scandals of this kind. Compliance is not sexy, but it is essential. Good compliance won’t just keep the regulators and the taxman happy but will maintain the trust of employees.
Automation and artificial intelligence will redefine the HR role
These two technologies will continue to transform the world of HR professionals. Their impact will mostly be positive. Instead of the drudgery of administration and onboarding, much of this will be done through these technologies. In turn, it should further elevate the strategic importance of the HR professional and help redefine his or her role. This should be positive for the HR profession, the organizations they work for, and the employees they serve.
AI to make recruitment less painful and biased
AI, in particular, offers transformative capabilities to the recruitment process. The HR sector is full of startups harnessing AI in the recruitment process, all predicated on the belief that it can drive impartial and more comprehensive candidate selection. The days of the “old school tie” driving recruitment decisions could be over through the adoption of this new generation of recruitment tools. Candidates can also look forward to a fairer selection process: instead of CV's being left on the bottom of the pile because there are too many to look at, the new tools can assess everybody who applies.
Virtual and transient teams will become the norm
We can expect this to step up a few gears over the next few years as new organizations grow beyond borders, headcounts are restricted, and the need for collaboration increases. Organizations are increasingly looking to create their own “digital tribe’ to drive transformation but recognize that not all of these people need to be technologists. The new trend is for temporary, project-based teams that are virtual in nature and which can be formed and reformed rapidly. For organizations, it’s about harnessing and focussing all the available talent, while for employees, it’s about flexibility, variety, and challenge.
Data will help HR to get strategic on organizational issues better
In many organizations, data for compensation, retention, training, and performance are siloed. But new tools should allow this to be aggregated and interrogated to drive fresh insights, which in turn can influence organizational behavior and policies. A primary focus should be on levels of retention and absenteeism and understanding and addressing the drivers. Beyond that, there is the issue of "presenteeism," where employees are in the workplace but are disengaged and unproductive. Better analytics has a role in deepening engagement and producing a happier and more productive workplace that works better for the organization and employee.
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