The corporate landscape is undergoing major paradigm shifts with the introduction of new technologies like AI and Machine Learning. One of the sectors which have been affected the most is Human Resource Management. With worries that Artificial Intelligence will replace employees, and efforts to digitize hiring, the HR landscape has undergone several changes over the past few years. The transformation will continue this year, and 2020 is likely to set the trend for HR practices over the coming decade. Here are some talent trends to watch out for in 2020.

A Multi-Generational Workforce

2020 marks the year of Generation Z (age 23 and below) hitting the job market. Baby Boomers (age 55 to 73) are still a part of the workforce thanks to increasing longevity and improving health, and the Millennials (age 24 to 40), of course, still make up a chunk of the working population. This varied demographic gives organizations the benefit of the views and perspectives of three generations, but it also comes with its fair share of challenges. 

According to LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2020 report, the different generations prioritize different things in the company they work with. Baby Boomers give priority to working for a company with a purposeful mission, while Gen Z is more likely to value training, with 36% of them considering it a top factor in a new job. However, the generations also share some similarities, as they all value good compensation and benefits, a healthy work-life balance and a positive work culture. To attract and retain the talent of all ages, organizations are now creating new career paths and introducing more flexible, personalized benefits to cater to their diverse workforce.

People Analytics

The rise of data and its immense applications has made its mark everywhere and the HR sector is no exception. The use of data analytics in Human Resource Management, or “People Analytics”, is a fairly novel concept, which is likely to pick up this year. People analytics, or HR analytics, is a data-driven approach to HR, which means that HR professionals don’t have to rely on just their instincts. Data can be used to aid effective decision-making. People analytics draws insights from human behavior to assist in recruitment as well as in testing the effectiveness of their policies and interventions, thus helping companies grow and become better. 

LinkedIn’s Global Talent Trends 2020 report states that 73% of talent professionals consider people analytics a major priority for their companies over the next five years. The rise of people analytics, of course, comes with its own set of challenges, chief among them being the need for data analytics skills amongst HR managers. Another major challenge that needs to be tackled is the fact that people analytics is an entirely new field, so there is a steep learning curve ahead for most companies. Further, caution needs to be exercised while utilizing the data for the company’s benefit, and HR professionals remain empathetic to their employees’ needs while adopting people analytics into their policies.

Employee Experience

According to Deloitte’s 2017 Global Human Capital Trends Survey, 80% of executives rate employee experience (EX) as important or very important to them. This overwhelming statistic is indicative of the beginning of a new era of employee focus. As our industries continue transforming at a dizzying rate, finding and retaining talent has become an uphill battle for most enterprises. Creating an effective employee experience, therefore, sets employers apart and helps attract as well as retain a skilled workforce. 

EX is everything an employee sees, feels and interacts with as part of their work. To improve on this metric, the idea is for employers to actively collaborate with their employees to understand their needs and design experiences accordingly. This involves a holistic approach, including conventional HR tasks like compensation, learning and performance management, but also wider aspects like workspace design. The focus on employee experience is thus increasing, and 2020 is likely to see innovations in work culture as part of EX.

Artificial Intelligence in Hiring

Artificial Intelligence
However, in the long run, once the challenges are overcome, AI will definitely prove to be a boon.

The use of AI in the recruitment process promises several benefits. The chief of these includes the potential of AI to reduce human biases in hiring and the fact that its use will free HR professionals from tedious processes like screening candidates based on their resumes. AI, as it evolves, can be leveraged to help enhance candidate experience by providing a personalized journey to each candidate throughout the hiring process. Further, it can be used to help in the training of new employees, design their personalized career paths and provide a personal touch to every employee in the company. There are, of course, several kinks to work out, as seen from the 2015 debacle of Amazon’s AI-based recruitment system. However, in the long run, once the challenges are overcome, AI will definitely prove to be a boon.

Career Nomads

With the number of millennials in the workforce rising and the new generation of employees entering the industry, a new phenomenon has risen – that of “career nomads”. These are high-performing, talented professionals who have no problems switching jobs, companies or even their careers. Several organizations are wary of hiring such people, but these career nomads are highly talented, and experts say that the gains that arise from such people’s multidisciplinary experience and high learning agility, far outweigh the risks. Of course, talent is expensive to replace, so several firms are now taking steps to retain such job hoppers in their company. Measures include hiring for talent across disciplines and a priority on agility, enabling such career nomads to jump across roles within the organization rather than leaving it altogether. 

Diversity and Inclusion

For the past few years, diversity has been a priority in several companies, who have spent tons of money trying to diversify their workforces and leadership pipelines. However, the results of these efforts to increase diversity for diversity’s sake, have not been too great. An overwhelming number of leadership positions in multinational companies are still held by white males. This is in spite of studies showing that diverse teams deliver better results. According to the White Paper: Hacking Diversity with Inclusive Decision-Making, “Inclusive teams make better decisions up to 87 percent of the time.” 

This decade will possibly see a shift from the race to fulfill diversity quotas to promoting inclusion in organizational culture. Leaders are gradually learning to prioritize talent over biases and seeing the value of a diverse workforce comprising people from the LGBTQ+ community, differently-abled people and more, transcending the barriers of race, gender, and sexual orientation. 

Learning in the Flow of Work

The ever-changing landscape of the industry caused by rapid developments in technology is a source of worry for many. Even employed professionals and workers worry about how long their job is going to last, and whether their current skills would even matter a few years down the line. HR executives are thus recommending that employees look to sharpen their skillset and keep themselves updated on the skills required for their respective jobs. Organizations prefer to retain their existing staff by up-skilling them, rather than hiring new employees for the job. Hence, more and more companies are helping their employees learn new skills while on the job. “Learning in the flow of work”, a term coined by global expert Josh Bersin, is now becoming the norm. The focus is thus shifting to continuous learning and transformation, with companies up-skilling their employees according to needs, and also redesigning job structures for more agility.

Transparency in Pay 

“Never ask a woman her age or a man his salary”, is an old adage that is now only half true. Asking anyone their age is still considered impolite in most societies, but the taboo hasn’t remained around professionals’ salaries. In fact, according to a recent Korn Ferry survey, 24% of respondents think it is appropriate to share their salary information with their colleagues, and more than a third believe that it is more acceptable to talk about pay now than it was five years ago.

This is a global phenomenon, with pay transparency translating into pay equity in several countries. Around 80 countries have passed equal-pay-for-equal-work legislations, and more than a quarter of these have a mandatory reporting requirement. There is also a concentrated global effort to make salaries of executives transparent, with legislation to that effect passed in the US and one set to be passed in the European Union this year. All this in mind, it is not surprising that 75% of respondents of the Korn Ferry survey say that pay transparency will become even more important in the coming year.

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