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6 HR Trends That are Actually Realities in 2020

Rachel Reed
1/9/20 10:18 AM

Historically low unemployment rates, continued advancements in workplace technology, and the rise of inclusive diversity have created the perfect storm for workplace reform. Here are six 2020 workplace trends that are proving to be realities as we move into a new decade of work. 

1. Diversity Gap
While an increasing number of organizations place diversity reform high on the list of 2020 priorities, studies suggest there continues to be a significant diversity gap in the workplace. There are now four age groups represented in the workplace. The eldest Gen Zer is 23 this year and thus entering the workforce and the eldest employed Baby Boomers plan to remain in the workforce for significantly longer than their predecessors. The number of organizations with multiple age, sex, and race groups will continue to rise over the next decade. On the upside, diversity and inclusion technology is on the rise with the strong presence of hiring apps like Headstart and analytics tools like Dandi which both are developed to mobilize diversity and protect against discrimination. 

2. Management Makeover
Managers fuel engagement and productivity when they act as coaches rather than bosses. Managers influence around 70% of your employees’ engagement. That’s to say, the policies and programs you have in place to boost engagement are only as effective as the managers you hire to carry them out. Rethink manager training and you are looking at a 48% increase in profitability, boosted productivity (22%), and improved employee engagement (30%). 

3. AI & Technology
The number of businesses using some form of artificial intelligence tripled in 2018. Research suggests that by 2030, 70% of businesses will use at least one form of artificial intelligence. Even beyond AI, think bigger: nanotechnology could enable scientists and doctors to print heart valves and even skin. Be sure your organization is researched and ready to implement technology to assimilate to the digital communication and spending habits they've grown to expect.

4. Employee Experience
Talent shortages will reign supreme for the next decade. As a result, business leaders are working to create an environment where people want to show up. Employers recognize the importance of attracting not only young talent (Gen Z is projected to make up 33% of the workforce by 2030), but also mature workers aged 65 and older (referred to as mature workers or perennials, who are the fastest-growing labor pool in the US). Gen Zers expect a workplace whose leadership facilitates coaching and growth. Studies have shown that age diversity in the workplace increases productivity in both younger and older workers. 

5. Improved Perks
Take care of your employees and they’ll take care of your profit. Organizations recognize the value in providing an attractive workplace and benefits beyond the 401(k). Some offer paid education, unlimited vacation, and even life coach services. Flexibility is another requirement of an increasing number of workers. In fact, 80% of U.S. employees say they would turn down a job that didn't offer flexible work. Top talent is judging your book by its cover–step up your benefits to beat the competition in the ongoing war for talent.  

6. Rethink Employee Recognition 
The average employer uses eight recognition programs ranging from above and beyond performance to sales goals. Recognition for length of service tops the list with 72% of programs being dedicated to service anniversaries. While service rewards are effective, more consistent and frequent forms of recognition focused on individually tailored goals could prove more beneficial in retaining employees. Business leaders have caught on, however: “employee experience manager” is the fastest growing job category in HR. Most (89%) employees say that receiving recognition for performance increases engagement while 16% of employees have never been recognized at work. 

Download: How Employee Recognition Influences Attitude & Behavior in the Workplace 

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