The Trends That Will Shape HR in 2019

Austin Baker Research and Trends Friday, February 01, 2019


In 2018, HR saw a turning point in many areas of business operations. Areas such as AI & HCM technology, innovative benefits solutions, employee wellbeing programs, and many more took great strides this past year and look to develop even further into 2019 while what was once thought of as the newest & most exciting frontier in HR – blockchain - did not stick past 2018.

With the new and upcoming year, let’s take a look at what the industry leaders foreshadow for HR.

Analytic-Based Talent Management

Assessments and hiring are moving toward being driven by AI, machine learning, and analytics. This enabling high-speed and accurate search results that gets better with each cycle of use. The foundation process of defining job competencies and requirements accurately will continue to be the most critical aspect that need human judgement and understanding of the work context.

AI can help to remove unconscious bias from the recruiting and interviewing process by ignoring information such as names, universities, locations, and dates previous positions held to keep organizations compliant and at the least risk during their hiring process. AI in the Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) will be used to streamline the process of scanning resumes and reduce the time HR personnel and recruiters spend by automatically using its machine learning to rate resumes to its correlating job descriptions relevancy.

Employer Brand Strategy

64% of consumers have cited shared values as the primary reason they have a relationship with a brand. As competition arises, employers are consistently looking for new ways to differentiate themselves from the crowd and build a culture that draws talent & business. CEO’s are valuing building reputable brand cultures, stories, and mission/visions as one of the most important assets to their organization.

Reputation management and employer branding will hold more significance than ever with the continuous improvement in technology communications. With the ubiquitous nature of information on social media, customers and employees are privy to a large amount of uncurated data. Improving your brand will require a comprehensive brand strategy to be in place to take realistic expectations and develop & grow the culture and messaging for your organization. This in turn has been observed to maximize marketing efforts and profits in multiple businesses whose key focus is on their brand quality.

Improved HCM & AI Technology

Artificial Intelligence is here to stay. While Siri, Alexa, Cortana and Google Assistant are famous among employees and clients, an area it is quietly disrupting is HR departments. Companies are increasingly leveraging AI technology to help identify data opportunities, improve internal workflows, and increase productivity.

As employees demand more and more from their employers — the pairing of machine learning with HR technologies couldn’t come at a better time. From engaging employees to fighting unconscious bias and expanding our concept of wellness—embedding HR tools with machine learning as a service streamlines all of these HR processes.

Cloud based HCM technologies help organizations and HR personnel simplify complex HR operations. These solutions combine service center and help desk technology by standardizing how HR personnel provide services and interact with employees. AI can learn commonly asked questions and automate responses thereby reducing the time HR personnel need to spend reviewing and responding to employee requests.

Cancer Benefits

The number of cancer patients and survivors will reach almost 18 million in the next decade, according to the CDC. A recent study by Harris Poll shows that 79% of the respondents said that patients/survivors that receive some form of support from their employer are more likely to thrive in the workplace.

Organizations will look to leverage this as an opportunity to have a leading benefit in 2019. While benefits surveys have data on cancer insurance at organizations — the Society for Human Resource Management found that 33% of organizations offered cancer insurance in 2018, up from 28% in 2017. This along with many other voluntary benefits are increasing in need year by year. As more organizations look to implement these options to supplement their major medical offerings, the need for education and administration services around these benefits are crucial to maintain and increase the perceived benefits of these programs.

Corporate Wellness Initiatives

According to a recent survey, only 35% of U.S. employees reported feeling satisfied with their finances in 2017. 35% percent of employees surveyed miss 3–5 days per month as a result of workplace stress, and yet another 85% of workers who have experienced stress at work rate the efforts of their workplace to reduce stress as fair to poor. Investing in employees’ well-being is a rising trend in improving employee engagement and promoting a healthy workplace culture.

As we continue to embrace mental health wellness as a necessity and not just a pleasant after-thought, corporate wellness programs are expanding beyond focusing solely on employees’ physical health. Technology can help companies improve their corporate wellness programs to include financial and mental health well-being solutions. These well-being programs are catered toward improving employee engagement by providing employees the support that they need to be their most present and productive selves.

More than half of American employees are stressed about their finances, and that stress has increased over the past year. Millennials, for example, are the largest working generation and are the most burdened by crippling school loan debt. Meanwhile, the sandwich generation is stretched thin between caring for children and aging parents.

Financial wellness technology provides solutions for everything related to an employee’s financial health including 401ks, debt, savings, mortgages, earnings, micro-savings, and investments. This technology provides a holistic solution to employees looking to manage their finances. From student loan repayment benefits to assisting employees with short-term financial issues, employers are increasingly providing financial education, assistance, and solutions.

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