Emerging trends that will shape HR in 2020

February 10, 2020 thehrobserver-hrobserver-Emerging-trends-that-will-shape-HR-in-2020

Today employees work more productively than ever before. Let’s look at some of the emerging HR trends for 2020.

The world of work has been changed drastically in the previous decade. So it’s no surprise that the role of HR has transformed too. Consider the impact of the 2008 recession and significant technological advances like internal social media networks that have changed how we work. Today employees work more productively than ever before.

2020 will be another big year for HR; HR will be influenced by new trends that may transform the sector. HR professionals need to keep an eye on the latest trends and adopt them quickly to keep their organisations competitive.

Described below are popular HR trends for 2020 that will transform the industry.

Engagement of the employee

Personalized engagement of employees will be an HR buzzword in 2020. Engaging employees means being more personalized and employee-centric than before. HR departments responsible for employee participation offer facilities like flexible in-time, work from home and organize seminars and workshops to ensure employees feel valued. Such practices provide better experiences for employees and organisations, leading to higher productivity and better prospects for all stakeholders. For instance it is common for companies to personalize internal portals used by employees. Such portals are used to keep employees updated with happenings within a company. When employees login to their portal, they may check their email and read news relevant to their jobs.

Use of New Technologies

Technology has impacted every sector and is redefining many others. Today every organisation is leveraging technologies like AI, ML, Data Sciences, etc. to deliver better services and make informed decisions. Incorporating these technologies in HR practices is essential. Technology has simplified tedious HR operations through automated interactions with employees and by lowering response time. It has improved access to information making the jobs of HR departments easier. Moreover, tasks like applicant tracking and email automation systems will become more manageable in 2020 because of AI. Technologies like AI, virtual and augmented reality are impacting HR departments in the following ways.

Artificial Intelligence

Like in every sector, Artificial Intelligence is a hot topic for the HR industry too and promises to play a dynamic role in 2020. AI aids in the recruiting process and at many tasks is more efficient than humans. For instance, its use leads to merit-based selection because AI doesn’t have conscious or unconscious biases. This feature is helpful to HR departments because they can accurately analyses employees from the time they apply until their performance reviews. Other processes such as rewards and performance management (calculating employee’s bonus, appraisals or managing job performance) become easier using AI tools. Perhaps most importantly, AI can be used to identify key training needs in personal development plans; prevent gender bias in performance assessment; accurately define job descriptions to and evaluate scoring etc.; not only tracking compliance but also surfacing issues.

  • Virtual and Augmented Reality HR departments do not widely use VR and AR; these tools will become more prevalent soon because they help during recruiting and facilitate on-the-job learning. For example, VR is being used by the British Army to recruit. Its use led to a 65% increase in applications and many users posted their experiences on YouTube 360, which increased the Army’s popularity. Attending businesses meetings was made easier by Volkswagen. The automotive company announced the release of its virtual reality app that can be paired with the HTC Vive. The app is intended to be used as a digital meeting room where auto design and among crucial matters can be discussed. Using VR for corporate trainings is cost-efficient: and can safely and easily train workers employed in high-risk industries like construction.
  • Upskilling and reskilling of employees Today employees expect to work in organisations that invest time, effort, and finances to develop their skills. HR teams consider training initiatives and upskilling programmed part of their employee engagement initiatives. They regularly conduct learning, training, and development programmed that not only fulfil employees’ needs but also foster the company’s growth. Continuously developing employees results in a skilled workforce that can meet a variety of challenges.

In a recent study by PwC it was found that 55% of employers feel skill shortages are hampering their ability to innovate. By 2025, approximately 80% of all job roles will require digital competencies – yet, only a fraction of the current workforce is digitally native. So Upskilling and reskilling of employees is necessary.

Companies increasingly use the services of education companies to train workers. There is a vast ecosystem of Edu-tech companies. Each company has a wide suite of products that employees can access online. Once accessed, employees can enhance their skills. Today mid-career IT professionals’ who know little about Machine Learning, AI, or app development, can enroll in courses paid for by employers and come up to speed on these, and virtually any other technology.


More and more companies rely on HR software because they help generate impactful ROI. By selecting the best HR software solutions, HR departments can manage their talent easily, keep employees happy, and drive productivity. It is forecasted that by 2023 the HR software market will grow to $10.9 billion. HR departments see immense value in such software which is why the demand for it will grow.

HR software will become more powerful in 2020. Already its sentiment analysis capabilities are being used to gauge whether employees are happy in their jobs. The accuracy of such sentiment analysis is staggeringly high. Software is also being used to predict which employees are considering leaving their employer. The software is intelligent to inform managers when data reveals that the likelihood of an employee leaving their job is significant. Once managers are intimated, they can act to recruit replacements or attempt to retain employees. Its prowess in both areas will grow in 2020.

Generational Shifts

Today as baby boomers retire and are replaced by millennials in the workplace, there is considerable disruption. Companies that know how to adopt a younger workforce that has different skills and aspirations than baby boomers will succeed. To utilize a younger workforce to its advantage, companies will need to use HR systems that pinpoint the value a candidate will add to the organisation. Companies also need to find ways of retaining employees who have valuable knowledge and skills. The best HR knows everyone is unique, no matter what generation they belong- it manages the needs of each generation equally well. For example, employees of different generations have differing views on leadership. While the older generation respects hierarchy, younger employees thrive in a flat reporting structure. In 2020 HR departments will manage the needs of older and younger employees by placing them in teams having hierarchical structures they like.

In 2020, more companies will use HR systems that help evaluate candidates’ potentStrial accurately.

In 2020, HR departments will find better ways to engage employees. Such engagement will lead to greater employee inclusion. This year, AI will calculate bonuses free from bias and identify trainings that benefit specific employees. Also, thanks to VR and AR, more people will partake in virtual meetings and many will train to work in hazardous environments using VR and AR. Workers will need to become continuous learners to thrive in the job market. In 2020, more companies will enroll employees in courses that teach new-age skills. More businesses in 2020 will use software equipped with sentiment analysis. Such software will help them keep employees happy and productive. Finally HR departments themselves will be trained to learn how to manage an inter-generational workforce.

Flexibility, nimbleness, openness and tech savvy will define successful HR departments in 2020. HR teams having these qualities and enthusiasm for using technology to make their jobs, and those of employees easier and productive will have a good chance of leading their organisations to success.

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