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HR Trends to Look Forward to in 2020

By Madhukar Govindaraju, Founder and CEO

It is that time of the year when we gaze into our crystal balls to discover the news making trends for the coming year.

HR, for the longest time, has missed the chance to shoot into the ‹trends limelight›. But as organizations continue their journey towards rapid digitalization and technology adoption, continuous innovation, and constant change, the workplace of the future begins to look very different from the workplace of the past.

Given that there are now five generations at work , HR trends for 2020 look vastly interesting, with a great focus on technology, people, and processes that collectively drive business growth.

Here is our list of trends that we feel HR departments should look out for in the coming year.

AI poised to transform HR processes

As we move towards 2020, we can see AI making smart strides from the consumer›s life into the workforce. It is becoming increasingly clear that the future of work will be driven by AI. Research by Josh Bersin, Principal and Founder of Bersin by Deloitte, shows nearly 40% of companies using some form of AI in HR alone.

AI doesn›t seem like a usual candidate for HR, as assumptions lead it to be relegated to other departments of the organization. However, this technology is poised to play a big role in changing HR and HR processes. Information discovery, job opportunity to candidate/employee matching, and employee-sentiment analysis to drive engagement across the organization are key areas that will feel the AI impact.

Given the tight economic environment, organizations are looking at driving business value through HR practices. To achieve this, AI-powered solutions promise to streamline key HR processes such as recruitment and onboarding, learning and development, HR service delivery, personalizing employee experiences, and enabling continuous performance management.

Advanced data analytics to supercharge HR

HR professionals will contend that HR has always been data-driven. However, in the coming year, we expect to see HR add a new dimension to their analytics capabilities. While HR is a data goldmine, the data has not been put hard to work until now. With advanced data analytics, HR is expecting to set benchmarks in areas such as workforce planning, employee performance, employee development ,employee churn and retention, recruitment, engagement and incentive programs to navigate some of the biggest HR challenges.

Using advanced analytics to identify behavioral patterns will help HR improve workforce planning through informed talent development and enable continuous performance management. This can lead to improved productivity and enhanced

outcomes. It will also impact and better resource management and development initiatives and will be leveraged to strengthen recruitment and retention programs.

High potential talent development becomes a key priority

High-potential talent identification and talent development will continue to be a key priority for HR teams in 2020. As the talent wars heat up, especially for fierce critical roles, most of them related to digital capabilities, workforce management have to become more strategic.

HR quite naturally is gravitating towards technology solutions that will help them achieve this by helping them identify their high-potential employees. HR also has to make a strategic shift in the manner that they identify these employees. They need to move away from guesswork and become more data−driven ? especially for today?s geographically dispersed teams and remote workers.

Data analytics will also play a deciding role in charting employee development plans and ensuring that the designed paths attract high-potential employees, reduce employee churn and help in filling the leadership pipeline in a world with an escalating talent shortage.

Reskilling and Upskilling take center stage

According to the Decoding Global Talent series report, 61% of people believe that global megatrends, primarily technology changes and globalization, will greatly impact their jobs and will continue to do so. These megatrends are transforming more aspects of work and consequently changing the skills needed for these jobs. They are also redefining the kind of jobs that will be needed.

Considering 35% of the skills needed for jobs, regardless of the industry, will change by 2020, HR teams will have to take focused and measurable efforts to drive their reskilling and upskilling initiatives and future−proof their workforce and consequently the business as well.

Reskilling initiatives will have to include identifying high-value talent to fill the leadership pipeline. Along with technical skills development to boost innovation, HR teams have to identify behavioral skills gaps to prepare their workforce for the future of work and increase their capacity to compete. Measuring the workforce›s› breadth of knowledge and assessing their dexterity and comfort with newly acquired skills will be critical.

Aligning learning and development to fill the leadership pipeline

Learning and development initiatives have been and shall continue to remain a key trending area for HR departments across industries. Leadership development alone is a $366 billion global industry and shows no signs of slowing down in the future.

In 2020, HR departments have to fine−tune their learning and development initiatives further and become more data-driven in decision making when it comes to these initiatives. Quantitatively identifying the learning and mentoring needs of the workforce is a primary focus area. They also have to focus on driving continuous performance management to ensure that the learning and mentoring needs of their workforce are met proactively. Analytics and AI−enabled technologies will play a big role in achieving this.

We will also see AI−driven mentoring programs find a firm ground across organizations to connect the right mentors with the workforce. Mentoring will also emerge as a valuable tool to develop the leadership pipeline since research shows that leadership development programs need more time than a day−long or a week-long training program to drive meaningful outcomes.

2020 will see the rise of mentoring programs that are more contextual, targeted, need−based, immediate, secure, and private. They will also become online, and available ‘anytime-anywhere’ owing to the mobile nature of work, and as a response to the rise of the millennial population, remote workers, and geographically dispersed workforce.

In the wake of these developments, the coming year promises to be an exciting one for HR teams. With an eye on these trends, share with us how do you plan to restructure your HR initiatives?

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