The 5 HR trends for 2020

talent management human resources

The last three years have seen a strong evolution in the competencies of the HR functions, including the integration of profiles from marketing, project management and data analysis. Strengthened and better equipped to transform the organisation and its own processes, the HR function could see significant progress in 2020, as well as a growing disparity between ‘strong’ and ‘weak’ HR functions. The strong HR functions will take an increasingly assertive leadership role in their roles and responsibilities, while the weak HR functions, i.e. those that are administratively oriented to the detriment of a real HR communication strategy, will potentially drop out. Because more than ever, digital technology is penetrating the heart of Human Resources, bringing it ever closer to an approach offering a more quantifiable ROI. The value chain in which the HR function evolves is becoming clearer, and major changes are to be expected in 2020 in each of the talent management segments: attracting, recruiting, developing, retaining, recommending and anticipating.

Here are the 5 major trends that HireYourTalent can expect to see in 2020 in the HR function of companies:

1. ATTRACT – The takeover of second generation social networks and mobile for the employer brand

It’s been several years since young people migrated to second generation social networks such as Snapchat, Instagram, or Whatsapp. These networks are characterized by their almost exclusive presence on smartphones and an almost non-existent presence on computers.

Few recruiters today are able to successfully use these channels to disseminate their employer brand messages. But 2020 could mark a major turning point on the subject, and see the forerunners joined by the bulk of the market. HR communication approaches are becoming increasingly professional, with a growing awareness of the need to contextualize the approach. HR communication agencies are beginning to offer quality services that allow these channels to be integrated into an employer brand strategy. Above all, beyond the need to attract, it is becoming critical for companies to follow trends: not being present on this type of network degrades by default the employer image with the new generation. In 2020, young people born after the year 2000 will enter the labor market in masses. These are those who spent their childhood with smartphones and tablets in their hands. Chances are we will see a major and rapid shift in the way companies are approaching employer branding to adapt to these uses.

2. RECRUITING – Recruitment through soft skills

For more than three years now, since the market has been talking about the importance of soft skills in the ability to create value, a growing awareness is emerging among the HR population, who now want to go beyond the time of observation to identify concrete solutions to identify and assess the soft skills of candidates. While the diploma remains king in Europe and US, three factors are accelerating the emergence of recruitment more focused on the ability to learn, reflect and interact.

  • Firstly, increased tension over the availability of certain technical profiles, which pushes executive recruiters to broaden their field of research to consider profiles that are less expert but have potential.
  • Secondly, the injunction by Bruno to certain actors to reinforce diversity and inclusion approaches in companies, which leads to the opening of massive budgets to identify, recruit and support atypical profiles that would otherwise be systematically discarded.
  • Thirdly, the gradual emergence and maturity of players offering recruitment or internal mobility solutions that include soft skills or motivation criteria, which provides professionals with concrete tools to recruit differently.

These three factors, seemingly very localized in terms of the profiles sought, are gradually permeating the entire HR function, and are opening up professionals to pragmatism and eclecticism, favoring a more “cross-functional” approach to professional recruitment. The limiting beliefs and habits of executive recruiters have a hard time, and the switch over will not be complete in 2020, but it will be interesting to observe the acceleration of this trend.

3. DEVELOPER – A renewed interest in HR innovation

From 2015 to 2018, the Europe and US HR market experienced a great wave of tests of all kinds on innovative tools, very rarely followed by deployment due to a lack of budgets and a coherent change management approach. After several years of broken promises, the world of training may surprise in 2020. Over the last five years, many companies have worked remarkably hard on their approach to skills development.

After having tested innovative tools in training management (LMS) and content management (LCMS), as well as innovative players in training (e-learning, blended learning, neuro-learning, micro-learning, etc.), companies are starting to draw up clear strategies for individual and collective development. Indeed, ‘training’ departments have evolved in their maturity, and now talk more about ‘development’. It is now time for these companies to industrialize, and above all to really innovate in terms of pedagogical engineering, anchoring and approaches. A renewed interest in innovative tools is therefore to be seriously considered, particularly in view of the considerable increase in funds raised by HR Tech in 2018 and 2019, and the mobilization of the state on subjects relating to the lifelong development of skills.

4. RELIABLE & RECOMMEND – The Emergence of Communities

Over the last ten years, in line with the employer brand, companies have set themselves the objective of retaining their talent. Once the good intentions have passed, it is clear that few actions have reconciled the gap between the promises made by the company and the disappointing experience of everyday reality. Retention, far from being a success, has even proved to be a counterproductive objective. Assets stay in a position and in a company for less and less time, and it is quite illusory to want to retain them at all costs.

Taking the example of certain historic companies, the market is gradually adapting to move from the notion of retention to the notion of loyalty. The difference, a rather surprising aspect, lies in the time horizon. Loyalty implies accepting the departure of an employee, to invite him to come back to the company for one of his next experiences. In this way, the company becomes a place of passage in professional life, much more than a final destination. By adopting these strategies, companies reconcile their employer brand and recruitment challenges with the reality of the market. One of the most effective tools for promoting loyalty and recommendation initiatives seems to be the creation and management of communities within companies.

Organised by affinity, they allow each person to find a different and more personal form of recognition and fulfillment at work. A trend that will remain fairly weak in 2020, but present enough to be noticed!

5. ANTICIPATE – The coming of age of workforce planning

The evolution of professions and the transformation of sectors of activity caused by digital technology have been a strong source of uncertainty for companies in recent years. It is increasingly difficult to predict and anticipate skills needs. To reduce this uncertainty, companies have generally understood that they need to be more fine-tuned in their understanding of the skills capital existing within them. By looking at developments in their markets and activities, they can identify critical skills that will be missing in two or three years’ time, as well as skills that have become obsolete.

This is of major and dual interest, since it involves preparing tomorrow’s recruitment, internal mobility and training plans, as well as external mobility plans, which seem to show a willingness on the part of companies to better prepare for transitions in their workforce. The specificity of this trend is that it involves working more closely with the strategy and finance departments, as well as the creation of units dedicated to this issue of ‘workforce planning’ and ‘workforce adaptation’. A few companies have led the way on these subjects, and the players in the consulting industry are beginning to acquire proven expertise in this area. In 2020, more than ever, companies will enter the era of anticipation and quantification of skills.

Published by Dave John

Decade of work experience in leadership consulting with strong focus on talent acquisition & assessment across different industries and geographies.

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