HR priorities for year ahead

Annual predictions share common theme, but look back at 2019 helps with forecast for 2020

HR priorities for year ahead

We start the new year on a contentious note, with tensions in the Middle East alarmingly high.

Further south, Australia has been battling raging wildfires that encompass much of the continent, leading to mass evacuations and assistance from afar, including firefighters from Alberta.

Closer to home, Alberta’s economy continues to struggle, with foreclosures at an all-time high.

Despite the upheaval and uncertainty, work continues. People head to their jobs every day, and HR professionals are there to help both employees and employers.

Heading into 2020, there are several reports on the “HR trends for the year ahead” circulating. Tom Haak, founder and director of the HR Trend Institute, for example, outlines 12 HR trends, including: “holistic HR” that uses advanced technologies and is human-centre, with an internal and external focus; moving to “analytics for people” in looking at how these metrics benefit people; a tougher approach to diversity and equal opportunities; focusing on productivity; and greater use of blockchain in the HR domain.

Klein HR Solutions, on the other hand, makes 20 predictions for 2020, including: “permanent flexibility;” the growth of the gig economy; remote work becoming even more remote, a greater reliance on chatbots and gamification for HR; a greater focus on reskilling; data-driven HR; increased use of automation and artificial intelligence (AI) in recruitment; continuous performance management; and the use of communication tools such as Slack and WhatsApp.

People analytics and recruitment are also among the predictions by Elizabeth The of Rise People in her forecast for 2020. HR will increasingly use valuable intel to make smarter decisions for their organizations, along with less biased hiring decisions, she says. Employers will also focus more on their brands to stand out in the marketplace, while upskilling will become that much more important with the newer technologies and innovations in the workplace. Holistic health benefits will also make more sense, says The, along with a greater focus on work-life balance and flexible workspaces.

Of course, some of these predictions reflect the services and products offered by the organizations and individuals themselves, but there are definitely common themes that emerge, such as the importance of people analytics, diversity, reskilling, employer branding, automation and AI, and flexible workspaces.

But in looking to the future, it never hurts to look to the past. And judging by the coverage we’ve done this past year at Canadian HR Reporter, there are certain trends that will persist, such as the need to confront sexual harassment, employment law concerns such as unjust dismissals, impairment on the job and drug testing, a multigenerational workforce, benefit plan sustainability, mental health issues, employee burnout and disability management.

They may not be the sexiest of trends, but they reflect the everyday reality for a lot of HR professionals keen to make their workplace a better workplace.

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