As 2018 winds down, many HR professionals are researching and preparing for next year’s changes and influences. Society, technology, economy, employment trends and politics can all affect the way our workplace is handled. This is why having excellent HR professionals is so important. The most effective HR leaders and business partners constantly educate themselves on how changes in the world affect their company and employees. That's why management consulting firms like Aspirant are finding ourselves in discussions on the trends most likely to impact HR in 2019.
Here are some of the topics we find we ourselves discussing most with clients:
1. Wellbeing at Work and Whole-Person Employment
Constantly improving technology and the advanced pace for change leads to a workforce that is always “on.” Employees are becoming more overloaded. That feeling of being overwhelmed is impacting emotional, social and physical wellbeing in the workplace. HR professionals and corporations need to start addressing all aspects of “healthy” when assessing their culture & workplace practices. Employees need to not just cope, but thrive in their professional environments. The physical and mental wellbeing of employees is going to be on trend for 2019 for any company that wants to have a healthy, focused and productive workforce.
2. Diversified Power
Employees will have increasing amounts of power across their organizations, challenging direction and seeking to understand the 'why' behind what they do. More than ever before, HR professionals will need to learn to articulate the ‘why’ in what employees are doing. How do their roles and individual tasks fit into the organizational purpose? When someone understands and believes in what they are doing, they do a better job. This is the year of why, HR will need to help facilitate employees seeing the big picture and how their everyday work contributes to it. A great example of this is the story of the three bricklayers (read more about it here). The simplified version of the story is that when asked what they are doing, one man says he is laying brick, another says he is building a wall and the third man says that he is building a cathedral. They are all doing the same job, but the third man understands the ultimate vision and that he is a part of it. Make 2019 the year of the cathedral builders in your organization.
3. Leveraging Technology
If you’ve kept up with training seminars, you know technology will continue to play a larger role in not only HR, but organizations as whole. Trainings and seminars are beginning to lean heavily on specialized phone apps and web-based curricula to guide or even complete trainings. Furthermore, this content is becoming increasingly interactive. From online activities to virtual reality.
Imagine the power of a VR in which a new employee can encounter and react to real world scenarios they’ll deal with at work without the possibility of negatively impacting a customer if the make a mistake.
You can save both time and money by using technological advances to train and test employees before they even set foot into their actual role. Employees will start out more experienced, with many everyday tasks already under their belt by their first functional day.
4. Preparing the Workforce to Work with Technology
The Fourth Industrial Revolution is here. The news has mostly focused on the effects of AI and automation on the workforce, mainly, job loss. But that’s not the whole story and that’s not what’s going to be headlining talks in 2019. As new technologies, bots, and AI become a larger and larger part of many industries, it’s important to ensure your staff is trained them now. These new tools will continue to take on more work and the roles of your workforce will have to shift to accommodate that. Don’t rely on your team to upskill and re-skill itself. Progress doesn’t have to leave people behind. Your employees can grow with you, with technology and automation.
When it comes to human workers, teams are becoming much more geographically diverse. There is already a need for professional managers who know how to work with virtual or remote teams. As more companies open up their talent sphere, the need for this type of manager will only increase.
5. Managing the Omnipresent Workforce
Today’s employee, and certainly tomorrow’s, wants a work schedule that is adaptive to their needs. A 2018 study by Canada Life found that 77% of workers agreed that flexible working positively affected productivity. Many people assume flexible working just means working from home, but the future of flexibility is adapting.
This is the notion of the Omnipresent Workforce. As companies evolve, more and more employers are opting for remote teams. With the greater flexibility offered to workers comes other benefits for organizations. Teams become much more diverse and collaboration among different ways of thinking grows ever more critical.Many industries, such as healthcare, can’t operate unless employees are present, so, how do you provide this flexibility? Offer your employees varied start times. Give parents time to drop their kids off at school by letting them come in at 10, offer a choice of days to work, or which shifts. Talk to your employees and see what matters most to them when it comes to flexibility. The workforce of the future will demand it, as it becomes increasingly important for those aged 55 and younger.
Prepare for the Future with Aspirant
Is your HR department ready for 2019? The five points we raised above are a great place to start as we gear up for the new year. But what about farther down the road? What are your goals and strategies for 2030? Download our 2030 Organizational Effectiveness Checklist to make sure you’re prepared.
Judy partners with executives and leadership teams to engage and inspire employees in a way that delivers sustainable strategic results. She brings deep expertise and creative ideas to solve organizational effectiveness issues and closely collaborates in a way that builds internal capabilities. Judy has spent over 25 years consulting in a variety of industries, bringing her expertise in behavior to a wide range of organizational issues including organizational behavior change, leadership, change management, culture and engagement.