3 HR trends in 2019 to look out for in 2020

Published on 19/12/2019 by Sonia Navarrete

As we prepare for the New Year ahead it is worth looking at the new HR trends that are promising to shape 2020 – and possibly the next decade.

HR trends 2019

If you are wondering if robots will interview candidates instead of humans or how much will the workplace change with Millennials coming into the workforce, read on. In this article we will explore the main three HR trends next year, and how these can impact your SME. 

Trend #1: AI in HR

Not as scary as it may initially sound, Artificial Intelligence (AI) is finding its way to ‘almost’ all areas of daily life. Digitalisation and automation are expanding to all areas of the business, and HR is no exception. Despite having the most ‘human’ element in the whole company, HR departments are also adopting new technologies – such as AI and predictive analytics. These allow departments to improve their accuracy in finding the right candidates when looking for specific qualities. This, in turn, helps them to reduce staff turnover.

AI has started to be used more broadly in HR, mainly in the areas of recruitment. Gartner has identified talent acquisition, the voice of the employee and virtual assistants as three of the most common use cases in HR.

However, how much would people trust an AI assistant? A recent survey showed that over half of British SMEs think that AI could make a positive impact on HR. Despite this positive attitude towards it, the results also showed that people would trust an HR manager to decide on promotions and salary more than an AI assistant. 

But before we can get hired or promoted by a robot, there are still some more advances needed. AI in HR  is still in its infancy, however, AI software can be used in the company for task automation and data analysis, bringing the best of both worlds together.

Trend #2: Generational change

As baby boomers retire and younger workforce enters the company, recruiters will need to take these generational differences into consideration. More and more Millennials are coming into the workforce and changing the way they work and interact with companies. 

Did you know? Baby boomers are those born between 1946 and 1964 and Millennials  (also called Generation Y) are those born between 1981 and 1996.

Millennials are keen and more open to trying new things at work. Results from our survey showed that almost half of the participants (47%) who have a junior position wouldn’t mind having AI involved in their hiring process. This should not come as a surprise, as they have been interacting with virtual voice assistants such as Siri and Amazon Alexa and are used to chatbots.

Millennial workers also value flexibility and remote working, as well as access to the latest technology.  This is particularly important since they feel comfortable around technology, they have grown up with it – therefore they will expect the workplace to be equipped with the latest technological advances. Being more flexible in terms of location and the use of collaboration tools at work is a good way to attract them to your company and keep them engaged.

Trend #3: All about the skills 

It has been estimated that 1 in 5 jobs will be likely done by a robot by 2030. Industries such as retail, warehouse and customer service have a greater chance to have job roles currently done by a human replaced by a robot. However, there is no need to panic. As technology advances and automises the more manual processes, there is a growing trend for soft skills to be highly sought after by companies.

UNESCO defines soft skills as a set of intangible personal qualities, traits, attributes, habits and attitudes that can be used in many different types of jobs.

The term has been around for a while, but due to the rapid advancements of technology and how is starting to be integrated into many processes within companies, these are becoming more important. And which ones are companies looking for? Skills such as emotional intelligence, problem-solving, creativity and teamwork will be the ones that HR professionals look for in candidates when looking to recruit new hires. Soft skills are seen as ‘time-proofed’ and stable, as opposed to technical skills, that change at the same pace as new developments appear in technology.

Applicant tracking systems allow companies to collect applicant information and then filter, grade and match candidates’ skills against job requirements.

A new decade for more significant changes in HR

This decade leaves us with great technological advancements, and we will be curious to see how these continue to evolve in the next year: the integration of AI into businesses and the development of human-AI interaction, a new generational workforce that will introduce significant changes to the way we work and the skills that will be critical for businesses. Stay tuned for more in 2020!