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The Future of HR: Key Innovations For 2020

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New technologies, artificial intelligence, and a new generational cohort entering the workplace are just some of the numerous factors changing the HR landscape in 2020 and beyond. With 2020 coming up quickly, I decided to identify and explain some of the biggest HR trends you should prepare for.

Let’s dive in!  

Generation Z Is Redefining Workforce

The Manpower Group research found that Millennials will make up over 35% of the global workforce in 2020, followed by Generation Y. It’s interesting that, when talking about Millennials, we usually think of young people that have just finished studies and are searching for profitable jobs. However, this is not so. Born between 1980 and 1996, most Millennials today have profitable jobs and are taking on leadership positions. 

However, the same research shows that there is a completely new legion of workers entering the workplace – Generation Z. Claiming 61 million individuals, this generational cohort has already outnumbered Millennials. Today, they make up somewhere 24% of the global workforce, transforming its landscape for good.

Namely, Gen Z is the first truly tech-native generation. They were born in an era of rising technologies, fast internet connection, AI, and smartphones. Logically, the way they observe the workplace is different. For them, technology is not a toy. It’s a valuable tool that helps them get their jobs done faster and more professionally. Namely, 91% of them observe the degree of companies’ technological sophistication when searching for jobs. 

Therefore, HR teams will need to adopt new technologies. And, revamping the hiring processes may be a good starting point. For starters, they will need to invest in omnichannel hiring strategies. Gen Z’ers are digital natives. They use at least 5 devices daily and are connected to the internet almost all the time. That’s why HR teams need to invest in omnichannel hiring processes. They need to address candidates where they are – on social and mobile. 

Research shows that 63% of Gen Z believes that company diversity is key to creating successful teams. They are also highly socially conscious and they eagerly fight for the same rights for everyone. This is where practices like blind hiring technology can help, as it tends to eliminate the existing bias in the hiring process. 

The Rising Implementation of Artificial Intelligence

Business leaders and HR executives believe that artificial intelligence can bring multiple benefits to onboarding and administration processes, as well as improve employee satisfaction. Research backs me up on that. Namely, back in 2017, IBM conducted a comprehensive study, where they interviewed 6,000 executives and found that 66% of them believe that cognitive computing can improve some key aspects of HR.  

Still, many businesses are not ready to adopt AI in human resources. According to HRPA, 36% of the claim their businesses are still too small, while 28% of them emphasize that their senior leadership doesn’t see the point in adopting these technologies. 

AI has already been widely adopted. Here are a few ways it could take HR to a whole new level:

  • Personalizing employee experiences. 

Companies can use artificial intelligence in their onboarding processes. For example, AI could help new employees, by providing them with the names, locations, and contact data of people they should connect with on their first day.  

  • Improved candidate screening. 

AI-powered chatbots can shorten the screening process and improve job application completion rates. While for HR managers this means having more time to dedicate to building relationships with potential candidates, for candidates this means personalized and more efficient hiring processes.

  • Data-backed decision making. 

AI can help employees make day-to-day decisions. Let’s take IBM’s Watson as an example. When an employee enters vacation days, the software informs them whether their request will be approved. It can even understand employees’ emotions and suggests a list of training opportunities for teams.

  • Automation

AI automates low-value and repetitive tasks, providing you with more time to dedicate to some other activities. One of these tasks is payroll. There are many tools that will streamline your payroll processes and tax filings and help you get rid of paperwork. Additionally, by switching to employee income cards that integrate with all major payroll service providers, you can eliminate traditional paper checks and unnecessary fees, placing money directly in your employees’ pockets. 

  • Sophisticated people analytics. 

With the help of the right AI tools, you will not only collect data easier, but also turn this data into a series of actionable steps to take. This way, HR managers can predict and prevent certain risks, as well as improve their employees’ satisfaction. For example, Veriato’s AI software monitors employees’ emails, online browsing, and so forth and stores that data for one month. Then, it uses AI to analyze this data. It monitors any changes in the employees’ communication and, in this way, estimates when employees may decide to hop jobs.

The Focus is on Employee Experiences

Traditionally, employees were observed as a cost. With the rise of Millennials and Gen Z in the workplace, employers need to rethink this approach. Talent innovation needs to focus on improving employee experiences and creating a healthier and satisfied workforce. Your employees spend a great deal of their lives working, so make sure their hard work is valued. So, what do your employees expect from you?

  • Regular feedback and honesty. Even though Millennials and Gen Z are fully digital generations, they value interpersonal communication and greater transparency. For example, 40% of young employees expect to talk to their bosses daily and, otherwise, they believe they’ve done something wrong.

  • Workplace flexibility. Recent studies say that more than half of employees expect employers to provide flexible working opportunities. These could be any benefits that would help employees be more productive and reduce work stress, such as better work-life balance, remote work, flexible working hours. 

  • Gig economy. The majority of the global workforce is shifting away from the traditional office into remote working opportunities. Intuit estimates that by 2020, 40% of employees in the U.S. will work as independent contractors. For you, this means providing your employees with greater flexibility and yet, reducing costs.

  • Pay attention to employee incentives. Use the above mentioned AI tools to track employee performance and reward it accordingly. No matter if these are office parties, cash bonuses, free lunches, or a pat on the back, always choose incentives that work for your employees.

Over to You

In 2020, the HR landscape will change significantly. First, new generational cohorts are entering the workplace, increasing the need for omnichannel and tech-ready workplaces. Second, the focus is on increasing user experiences, from the screening process to retaining loyal workers. This is where artificial intelligence can help. It gives you detailed insights into your company’s performance and its employees, letting you personalize your approach and make data-backed management decisions. 

Most importantly, it’s logical that AI tools that are not here to dominate the workplace. They will only streamline the manual processes, letting them focus on some more creative aspects of their jobs. The goal of HR should be forming a balanced marriage between strong company culture and new technologies that are emerging.


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