As we ease into the new year, it’s a good time to reflect on how far we’ve come but also how far we still have to go. The rapid change in both technology and workforce demographics has seen HR professionals adapt and modernise their approach with impressive results. We’ve seen increased adoption of automation, an experience-focused approach to HR, even more, data growth and overall digital transformation in many areas. From Recruitment to Succession Planning, HR professionals have been using tools to help them improve the employee experience at every stage while streamlining their own practices for a more efficient and cost-effective process.
With so much change last year it’s hard to imagine what else could we possibly expect from this new year!. The truth is that many of these changes are just the start and more than one of them has presented a whole new series of challenges and questions to HR professionals that now need to be tackled. Here’s a look at some of the top challenges facing HR in 2020:
Despite the term Employee Experience taking off in a big way in 2019, we already see this area becoming a new challenge for HR in 2020. Employee experience is being used a lot and that should be a good thing; HR professionals are taking the experience they deliver seriously and putting it at the heart of what they do rather than driving for cost savings or other traditional KPIs. Unfortunately, the prevalence of this term is starting to muddy the waters and we suspect HR professionals will need to refocus to really define what this means.
The problem with employee experience is that it is naturally quite broad and subjective. Success is often measured qualitatively, something that HR professionals and industry leaders have traditionally struggled to grapple with. The Employee Experience is a radically new concept compared to traditional HR, so measuring and defining it is going to take some new thinking.
Next year, we expect to see HR professionals refocusing their concept of what the employee experience is and how to deliver a good one. Employee personas, project champions and much more are likely to be deployed to ensure that the term employee experience is clearly defined, that it powers every decision made and that there is a clear reason for making all of those decisions.
While it seems impossible, it is starting to look like there might be such a thing as too much technology, or at least too much technology with no purpose. There has been yet another burst of innovations last year and the progress has empowered HR professionals to do great things, but it also oversaturated the industry with a confusing array of platforms and software. This has also been closely tied to the prevalence of the term Employee Experience. Solution providers have been using the term in their marketing and while often true that they do help to improve it, it has meant that HR professionals who haven’t been completely clear on defining employee experience may have found themselves with a lot of technology and very little focus or purpose.
HR technology is great, but only if it’s utilised properly and to its full potential. With the right solutions, you shouldn’t be overwhelmed with lots of platforms and software. We see HR professionals moving away from disparate systems and looking for powerful world-class solutions that can offer end-to-end solutions. With the right support and training through service providers or vendors, HR professionals should put new technology on the back burner if they’ve already invested heavily and look to make sure they are using their current solutions to their full potential.
For many, automation has already been a big leap from their traditional practices. Just when they thought they could relax knowing they have the most advanced technology, however, AI came along. Artificial intelligence isn’t completely new but we still think it’s going to take another year or two for HR professionals to really start utilising it in their workflows properly. We’ve already touched on how AI is powering better learning by serving more relevant curated content with our blended learning experience. This year, we expect to see more innovative uses for AI in HR.
As we have explored and experimented with improving the employee experience, user experience has emerged as a key component towards the end of 2019. In fact, recent research found that improving the employee user experience was the number one benefit HR professionals expected their SaaS to provide. Next year we think HR professionals will continue to focus on UX and deliver the consumer-based experience that employees have become accustomed to areas outside of the workplace. This should integrate nicely with AI and we suspect there will be more innovative developments in platforms and processes that employees use day-to-day to streamline and simplify the experience.
Just like our technology, data has only increased over the years. With the right solution, HR professionals can now collect and collate more data than ever of their workforce. This is all well and good, but how many are actually utilising it properly? The truth is that it doesn’t matter how much data you have if you’re not using it to drive effective decisions and measurable success.
After years of big data and better data dominating our every moment, we think that 2020 will finally be the year that refocuses on what we actually do with this data. The first part of this will be using the data to actually prove the measurable benefit of HR solutions, something that a huge 59% of HR professionals said they couldn’t currently do.
The priority for HR changing to Employee Experience many have just started to see that traditional metrics are no longer adequate to properly measure current HR activities or prove success. 2020 should see the rise of new metrics including qualitative data measuring that will show a more accurate picture of what is going on in the workforce and whether current initiatives are successful or not.
The employee experience changes from business to business, so while there may be some blanket metrics that make sense to measure for everyone, there should be a more customised approach to how each business approaches their data and how they measure success.
The competition for top talent continues to rage on and a new development has emerged that we think will only pick up the pace next year. The range and types of benefits companies offer along with how they reward employees is changing dramatically. This year alone we have seen the rise of pawternity leave which offers time off for employees getting a new pet along with a host of other out-of-the-box benefits ideas. Whether you want to get involved or not, it’s clear that if businesses want to win the best talent they’ll have no choice but to find ways to differentiate themselves and provide a superior offering.
The way benefits are rewarded is changing too. Performance management is turning to a continuous process and so it’s natural that rewards will follow. Although not an entirely new concept, spot rewards are only now becoming more widely possible for businesses thanks to new technology handling the process for HR and Finance. 2020 is likely to see more HR professionals employing continuous rewards and more innovative spot awards as well.
Finally, we’ve discussed how the workforce has changed and that the workforce of the future is finally here. From changing demographics and diversity to the growing external workforce such as temporary staff or employees that work from home, all of these areas will continue to grow and take more prominence next year. That will mean that HR professionals will need to continue to invest more time and money into delivering a great employee experience to meet the new needs of this changing workforce and we expect that will birth even more innovative ways to recruit, onboard, train, develop, reward and engage these workers. Let’s look forward to tackling the HR Challenges of 2020!