As companies increasingly focus on the "human" aspect of human resources, here are five ways HR experts expect this department's role to change.
- Employees want more fulfillment from work focused on lifelong learning versus just being seen for the position they are in at the moment.
- Employers will get pickier about candidates, running far more real-time skill tests versus just relying on degrees and certificates for evaluation.
- HR offices have to embrace holistic portfolio tools to realize the full arc and life cycle of employees.
A great human resources department is of utmost value to any company. These are the individuals responsible for fielding job applicants, bringing in the most qualified ones and retaining talented employees once they're hired.
The tactics that HR departments use to recruit and retain employees are always changing. By measuring and managing the employee experience, organizations can track the effectiveness of their HR initiatives, helping them understand if the resources and energy to follow new trends are well spent, said Rachel Barker, employee experience manager at Qualtrics.
Check out these five big HR trends for 2020 and what changes companies can make to keep up.
1. In 2020, employee-employer feedback is a two-way street.
Although HR professionals have already been responding to employees' requests for more frequent feedback, they now know that increasing the frequency is not enough. The real key to driving a great employee experience is collecting and delivering the right feedback at the right time. If organizations can build ongoing programs to collect and distribute feedback at critical times in an employee's journey, business leaders will have the data they need to make a real change, Barker said.
An important idea for 2020 is that employee education and feedback are comprehensive and follow a multichannel approach. The Manpower Group detailed much of this dynamic in a recent report, Millennial Careers: 2020 Vision. Employers will be expected to invest in their employees and give their careers more meaning. That will require more training, education, degree paths, fulfillment and basically an ongoing path to lifelong learning. Employers that don't offer these resources will find that their employees will find better prospects somewhere else.
2. In 2020, employers and recruiters are increasing skill tests.
A few years ago, some HR teams were concerned that candidates had access to more data than ever thanks to platforms like Glassdoor, LinkedIn and Monster. This meant not only that candidates were the ones "interviewing" the organizations but that organizations had to up their talent-acquisition game.
Fast-forward to 2020, and the market has changed a bit. Employers found that, while there were a lot of candidates, there was also a lot of fluff on the market. Now, recruiters are adjusting how they evaluate candidates. Simply having a degree or certificate isn't enough; employers are increasing their use of testing and real-time skill evaluations to confirm that candidates actually can do the jobs they would be hired for. This helps HR teams narrow down the pool of prospects while increasing the number of viable candidates. Employers are realizing that there are multiple ways candidates can attain valuable skills, so these kinds of tests are making more sense.
3. In 2020, compliance is hammering HR offices.
This year, HR departments will be burdened by various compliance requirements. HR managers will be rewriting handbooks and re-evaluating rule sets that will need significant overhauling, such as harassment training, leave benefits and drug testing. And in some states, new rules defining the difference between an employee and a contractor will require more attention from HR departments.
4. In 2020, Gen X professionals, not millennials, are making up C-suites.
While millennials have been expected to expand the workforce, in most cases, their presence in the C-suite hasn't quite arrived yet.
Instead, many of the C-suite teams in big corporations have been gutted. These exits in Fortune 500 companies have come at the expense of CEOs and top officers who have violated internal ethics, behavior and compliance rules. Multiple companies saw key executive changes, and their replacements have, for the most part, not been millennials. The executive behavior scandals caught everyone by surprise and exposed a vast need for multiple succession plans. The scramble for a competent lead officer or CEO has left many companies reeling without immediate direction.
5. In 2020, the focus is on making HR offices digitally visible.
After HR departments measure and act on employee feedback, they can use that data to build employee profiles that will guide strategic HR and decision making.
"As you capture this feedback, architect a team and a plan that will create long-term employee experience program infrastructure," Barker said. "Employees today now live in a technology- and data-driven world, and when employers don't offer workplaces and experiences that reflect that world, they will turn elsewhere for employment and career progression."
HR offices are realizing they need tools to provide a well-rounded view of each employee. This involves capturing every contact point the employee has with the organization. At the same time, employees expect their HR offices to give them timely information and answers about career questions and opportunities, as well as the digital tools they need to succeed.
Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.