2020 employment trends from HR professionals

New Year, new plan. Each year, different HR trends will come onto the scene and practitioners will implement new strategies to help them achieve an enriched company culture, improved employee experience and a sparkling employer brand. With that in mind, HR Grapevine caught up with numerous HR practitioners before the New Year to see where you should be focussing your attention this year.

Vicki Hyland, Global Head of Sourcing & Attraction, BP

Without a doubt, we’ll continue to see the digitisation and modernisation of the industry playing a huge role into 2020. In particular, I expect tools such as AI, cloud-based technologies and big data to increasingly help us improve the candidate experience. New developments in things like programmatic advertising, CRM, chatbots on careers sites and virtual interviewing tools, will help us make things simpler and easier for people applying. Ultimately, we want to use these emerging technologies to create more flexibility and tailor the candidate journey to the individual, helping put the candidate at the front and centre of our process.

Charles Bendotti, Senior Vice President of People & Culture, Philip Morris International (PMI)

There’s a growing appetite among employees for a personalised workplace experience. As organisations respond to this trend by capturing real-time feedback from employees, PMI is taking this one step further: We’re rolling out customised development plans for our top 200 leaders with plans underway to roll out personalised development plans for all employees. What’s more, the results speak for themselves: employees are more engaged, productive and content which in turn drives business growth. That’s essential at PMI if we are to accomplish our vision of a world that’s smoke-free.

Chloe Palmer, HR and Operations Director, Secret Escapes

I think the purpose of a company is becoming more at the forefront [of employer’s consideration] and in the next ten years you will see more of that and the way consumer brands on the market are looking at purpose and adding value to society, [rather than] just adding value to their profit and loss. I think that will be a trend around talent movement because people will want to join a company that has a purpose and something they can resonate with. It’s a very broad answer… but I think that purpose will be interesting because it will make some companies fail and some companies succeed, and I think the talent will follow.

Emily Hawkins, Group People Director, M&C Saatchi

Apart from the obvious challenges that Brexit may bring, one of the challenges I think we will face in 2020 is responding to the continuing changing nature of work. Technology and the way we consume our data has meant that many roles have had to adapt and will continue to do so. Flexibility in the workplace has become something that is expected rather than something to be requested and I feel we are still experimenting in what that means for the workforce and how this can be managed effectively.

Luke East, People and Culture Director, Reiss

Reiss is in a period of rapid expansion, reporting positive year-on-year results. It is our people who are driving this success and therefore, our challenge next year is to enable our employees to continue pushing the limits of what they and we can achieve, whilst also feeling supported and cared for. Wellbeing will be a key focus for 2020, putting the mental and physical health of our employees at the heart of our people strategies. Identifying the initiatives, which truly could make a difference, is always a challenge. We partnered with Culture Amp to explore and better understand our employee insights. The Culture Amp platform will continue to be invaluable as we seek direction from our staff as to the strategies we might consider, and implement, in order to ensure we are continuously improving the working experience at Reiss.

Kathryn Austin, Chief People & Marketing Officer, Pizza Hut

Personally, I think a lot of HR folk in many sectors (particularly retail) will be dealing with more of the basics next year – restructuring, removing cost, retaining talent – digging in for hard times!

Catherine Allen, Head of Keeping People Happy, Ella’s Kitchen

In 2020, we’ll continue to see organisations recognise that nurturing wellbeing is vital because happy, healthy people do the best work. However, wellbeing means different things to different people so approaches will move away from being one-size-fits-all. At Ella’s Kitchen, we’re encouraging everyone to set their own yearly wellbeing goal, which we will support them to achieve and 65% of our team has already taken this up. The same is true of flexible working, which should be shaped to the individual and how their needs change over time – we don’t limit ourselves with hard and fast policies and I think we’ll start to see more uptake in this from all team members, not just parents.

James Hampton, Head of Development and Engagement, Seasalt

As the political and economic outlook continues to be uncertain for 2020 one of the biggest focusses for HR must be to proactively promote truly human workplace experiences for the people in their businesses in order to attract, retain and develop their talent.

Human experiences need some hygiene factors – physical workspace, cultures that support employee voice and psychological safety, great two-way communication, the technology and systems that enable great work, space to think, reflect and plan and, of course, great learning and development opportunities that are aligned to both the individual and the business.

It also needs motivational factors – purpose, meaning and involvement, career progression, flexibility, recognition and health and wellbeing support.

If you aren’t working on ways to improve these hygiene or motivational factors in 2020, in my opinion, you will be left behind.

Sarah Lawton, Head of HR, Plusnet

I think mental health and wellbeing are becoming regular features in the news and on social media, which is helping society understand the importance of finding the right work-life balance. I think we’ll see more focus from organisations on supporting their people in finding this balance. This means providing more tools and upskilling managers to understand how they get the best out of their people. We run a weekly mindfulness call encouraging employees to harvest new skills and offer a wellbeing app which provides employees with any support they may need.

Linda Kennedy, HR Director, The AA

I think we will continue to see an increase in the adaptation and effective use of people data and analytics. As tools become more sophisticated and HR develops into a much more commercial function, people analytics will become key in driving HR strategy and delivering business impact.

I think we will also see HR functions working in a much more agile way, working to deliver a more flexible employee experience with real focus on differentiation of the value proposition across the various segments of the workforce. With ‘snowflakes’ through to those approaching pensionable age in the workplace, the employee proposition needs to cater for five generations with very different priorities, so HR and the business need to flex and be more personalised than ever before.

Karen Thomson, Diversity and Inclusion Lead, Fujitsu UK&I

Fostering a sense of belonging in the workplace will become a key focus for organisations looking to move the D&I agenda forward in 2020 and beyond. The first step in the D&I journey has been reviewing hiring and promoting practices through different diversity lenses and the next step will see a much bigger emphasis on inclusion. Recruiting diverse talent will continue to remain a focus for businesses, however, the next stage will really be about looking at this sense of belonging and whether individuals are in an environment that helps them to genuinely succeed. After all, if individuals don’t feel like they truly belong within an organisation, they won’t stay long-term.

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9th January