With a brand new year upon us, HR teams across non-desk industries are exploring new ways to connect with their frontline workforces and start 2020 off with a bang.
While many exciting new HR trends are emerging, a common theme visible throughout HR communications programs just so happens to be one of our biggest passions as a company: the intersection of HR tech and the employee experience.
To help you prepare for the new year, we’ve identified five HR trends and initiatives that are definitely worth exploring to keep employee engagement high, turnover low, and business booming throughout 2020.
1) An Explosion of Employee Experience Programs
2020 is the year of the employee experience. We predict that the number one HR trend in 2020 will be optimizing the employee experience.
There’s a few reasons why #EmployeeExperience is a such a trending topic right now.
- The Business Roundtable just prioritized investing in employees over generating value for shareholders when it redefined the purpose of a corporation in 2019.
- There’s a massive frontline worker labor shortage crisis in the US right now. It’s so desperate, that Taco Bell is actually testing out paying store managers salaries of $100,000 per year in a Hail Mary attempt at increasing retention.
- CX = EX. More and more companies are realizing that the customer experience is directly tied to the employee experience. You can’t improve one without the other.
In 2020, companies are projected to invest in several areas that impact employee well-being such as flexible working options, providing on-site opportunities for physical fitness, and highly-customized content offerings based on employee interest and current trends in HR.
2) HR to Play a Larger Role in the Decision-Making Process
According to a 2020 study by McLean & Company, research shows that organizations are more successful when HR has greater input in workforce decisions. Historically, workforce-related decisions largely rested outside of HR, and were controlled by departments like executive leadership and corporate management.
The C-Suite would do well to consult HR early and often when looking to implement company-wide changes that will affect their workforce.
Since HR constantly has their finger on the pulse of the organization, they often have critical insights into the workforce that can impact the direction of sweeping organizational decisions. That’s why, in 2020, we expect to see more organizations involve HR early on in the planning and execution of organizational strategy.
3) More Investment in Technology for the Remote Workforce and Generation Z
As the remote workforce continues to grow due to the advancement and availability of digital workplace technology, company adoption of flexible working policies, and our increasingly globalized business world, 2020 promises even more expansion of the remote workforce.
Research trends indicate that the future workplace needs to go beyond merely accommodating remote workers, but that organizations should embrace and embed remote working strategies, and consider remote workers as an equally vital part of their workforce and company culture.
In fact, remote work options have become a core recruiting factor in appealing to Gen Y (millennial) and Gen Z candidates, and will continue to be a key recruitment strategy for HR professionals. Technology, specifically cloud-based solutions, have played a critical role in facilitating successful remote workforces and hybrid on and off-site teams.
The bottom line? To stay competitive with the present and future workforce, comprised of Gen Y and Gen Z laborers, organizations need to demonstrate technological proficiency by adopting the latest digital workplace and communications technology to court––and retain––these demographics.
For dispersed non-desk teams who spend a portion or the entirety of their shifts in remote locations, the rise of this technology will continue to boost productivity through enhanced connectivity, collaboration, HR tech, and mobile operational communication tools.
4) Mission-Driven Organizations
Not only are millennials, Gen Y and Gen Z highly motivated by flexible work options like remote working, this up and coming generation of workers is also extremely mission-oriented. A company’s mission, vision, and values plays a large role in where this demographic shops, and an even larger role in where they choose to work at.
A recent article by Jeff Butler shows that,
- Nearly 40% of millennials have chosen a job because of company sustainability
- 83% would be more loyal to a company that helps them contribute to social and environmental issues (vs. 70% U.S. average)
- 76% of millennials consider a company’s social and environmental commitments when deciding where to work (vs. 58% U.S. average)
Some experts have speculated that these younger generations “care more about the ‘why’ than they do about the ‘how much.'” This shift towards purpose-driven decision making is a far cry from the ’80s opulence and excess this generation was born from.
5) More Emphasis on Employee Mental Health
Mental health has been a silenced, stigmatized issue for decades. But the reality is that the average American worker is more stressed than ever.
Nearly 1 in 5 American adults have reported dealing with mental illness. Employers can no longer ignore the emotional needs of their employees, and in 2020 companies will step up to offer more support for employees struggling with this issue.
This is especially true for frontline workers. All too often, these employees are overwhelmed, overworked, and overlooked in their organizations. They work long hours, often juggling multiple jobs and erratic work schedules.
Companies will begin supporting the mental health needs of their workforces by:
- Offering more flexible work schedules. In a recent lodging conference, we spoke with hotel executives who were looking into rolling out more flexible hours for their housekeepers, such as allowing them to work four hour shifts as opposed to longer, eight hour shits. This shift to shorter work hours is intended to give these employees more work/life balance
- More professional development and career advancement opportunities.
- Employee recognition and appreciation initiatives
- Improved internal communications and greater transparency throughout the organization
A New Chapter for HR Technology
As the future of work continues to develop for the non-desk workforce, the evolution of digital HR tools will play a crucial role in maintaining employee engagement and retention amidst rapid changes and low unemployment rates in many industries. While more operational processes and workflows may be automated or redistributed, the basic human need to feel connected and fulfilled at work will remain an evergreen priority for frontline employees and managers.