HR is not a new field, but it is far from a stagnant one. With technology expediting change and various regulations taking shape, the business world is a much different one than it was just a few years ago. Adaptation is a high priority for today’s HR departments seeking ways to respond to changing environments and capitalize on new human resources trends.

Improving the Employee Experience

In a world that has become highly focused on user experiences, it should be no surprise that HR departments are following suit. Focusing on employees has always been a major HR duty, but in the midst of a modern culture that puts trust in third-party reviews, this effort means much more. According to Gallup, organizations are no longer able to “fake” their brand since individuals can easily share their perspectives online for others to see.

As a result, companies are getting creative when it comes to onboarding in order to start off on the right foot with new employees. When looking at the top 10 onboarding programs in America, it’s clear that these strategies are based heavily on personalization. This aligns with the HR Trends Institute’s determination that one-size-fits-all HR mentalities are no longer viable. At a time when 17% of new hires leave during the first three months of the job, individualizing employee experiences is the new way forward.

The HR Trends Institute suggests planning procedures not from the top down as HR historically does, but starting with the employees and building up. This mentality can be applied to all aspects of HR, whether it’s determining employee benefits, creating professional development and training exercises, or adopting a new internal communication tool. For example, AT&T is emphasizing lifelong learning for its employees, providing individualized training and upskilling so employees learn skills needed for future roles.

After all, why do people truly want to work for companies like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Salesforce? Why do these organizations score so high on the employee experience index? While pay plays a role, it comes down to the exciting culture, benefits, and individualized career growth those companies provide. Speak to someone working at the corporate offices of any of those organizations and they’ll be quick to tell you about their fun campus, a piece of emerging tech they are working on, and their personalized career path. While not visible on a paycheck, these factors are just as important and improve the employee experience.

Focusing on Fairness

HR trends often stem from societal changes, and currently there is a distinct push for equality and fairness in the world. Based on this activity, there are a number of employment laws taking shape. Recently, the Paycheck Fairness Act was passed in the House of Representatives, and while it’s not law yet, this sends a clear message that gender pay equality is coming. Salary history bans, now law in 18 states and 16 cities, seek the same goal. Additionally, the Right to Organize Act looks to further protect those who protest against unfair working conditions.

PayScale’s 2019 Best Practices Report shows that nearly a third of companies are planning to conduct a racial and gender pay equity analysis this year, proving that emphasizing fairness is a priority for companies who wish to respond to society and their employees. The report further shows that most pay raises in 2019 will only be 3% or less. This is why there is such a focus on the employee experience and fairness; employees value money, but factors outside of compensation are the most effective retention and recruiting tools. Subsequently, companies like Target are implementing impressive benefits like  family leave and backup care policies that both level the playing field and improve employee life.

Investing in HR Technology

An overwhelming majority of HR leaders, 97%, plan to increase their investment in technology in the next year. Mara Swan, Executive Vice President of Global Strategy and Talent at ManpowerGroup, summarizes it best: “We are seeing a significant shift from HR technology which focusses on driving efficiencies and streamlining processes, to data-driven innovation which enables us to deliver a better and more intimate candidate and employee experience throughout an individual’s career journey. This is what will fundamentally change the role of HR.”

A great example of emerging HR tech is found in Amazon. They receive thousands of resumes each day, relying on AI and advanced recruiting software to help them sift out the best talent. Other popular offerings are found in talent management software that helps keep track of interviewees while ensuring employees are progressing in their career paths. Then, there’s technology that enables remote employees to thrive despite not being in the office, creating exciting digital cultures for modern workforces.

2019 Human Resources Trends

At the heart of it, HR is about people. It’s about following the right strategies that keep employees happy and productive, thriving both professionally and personally, and safe. Adopting positive industry trends is important for the company you work for as well as your own HR career. Improve the employee experience, focus on fairness, and put technology to work to elevate your human resources performance in 2019.

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