If 2019 was anything to go by, the world of work is going to evolve and change even faster in 2020. A lot of this change is driven by HR departments, and we’ve seen organisations invest in employee engagement tools as well as introducing artificial intelligence to speed up HR processes.
I’m confident that technology will continue to transform HR and influence the workplace, so here are my top HR and technology trends for 2020.
1. Mental health employment contracts
When I started my HR career in the 90s, mental health was not something that was discussed in the breadth and depth that it is today, yet now it’s the biggest factor influencing the workplace.
Having the technology to identify and support our mental health will be key to establishing the best days to be productive. Having the ability to predict these days using employer mental health apps will be the single most illuminating way forward to changing the workplace proactively for the better.
I predict that people will start sharing their daily mental health data with their employers. Contracts will state, for example, that I will have good days and I will have bad days, and I will have many days on the spectrum that sits between these two points.
If we can build a different way, using technology to support, not just keeping people in work, then I see this as the most empowering thing we can do for our generation and those to follow. What’s more, this will deliver a business and social outcome we all truly want, which is to keep people engaged, connected and consciously aware of how and when they can best perform,
2.Technology will give HR a bigger voice in the boardroom
For many organisations, the role of HR Director is a much-valued strategic partner to senior leadership teams. HR teams sit in a coveted position to offer an honest, unbiased and a unique view of the entire organisation to help leaders understand how the business is performing, where the weaknesses lie and whether more efficiencies can be made, whilst identifying new growth areas.
To continue this trend, what will be most important to HR is data. For this to be effective, leaders need to have a real-time view of their business, yet only 31% of organisations benefit from real-time information when adopting new and innovative technologies according to our latest Trends Report.
HR teams will therefore need to influence technology decision making to draw connections between all these areas in a simple way. Our understanding is that, for people to thrive, they need tools and a process that supports them, with a user experience that is intuitive and efficient.
3. 2020 will be the year of accelerated change management
Businesses are beginning to realise that, without staff confidence, investing in technology will be a waste of time and money. However, the workforce is becoming more confident when it comes to using new digital tools. According to the same report, 52% of respondents think more than half of their organisation is ready to adopt new technology – quite a jump from 41% in 2018.
As a result, we will see HR teams prioritise change management programmes in 2020. Investing in change management skills, adopting this new foundational skill in business, alongside the traditional presentation skills and communicating using email is critical. HR can lead this acceleration to embed a new way of working when seeking to introduce technology.
We’ll also see more HR leaders listen to the younger generation, which already understands that technology is a key productivity enabler. This generation has an important role to play in helping the older less digital-savvy generation confidently adopt new technology to change the way they work. As someone with a team that is 98% considerably younger than me, I find this to be highly relevant.
4. We could see the end of the five-day working week
People’s roles are becoming more outcome driven, so I expect we will start to see more productive employees work fewer hours. The challenge will be in setting clear expectations and outcomes, avoiding the risk of ‘over working’.
It’s likely more companies will start to adopt this flexible way of working, which will require different parties working independently to deliver their piece. Supporting this through technology and a greater understanding of how and when we work as our best selves, presents us with the greatest opportunity to use technology to really improve productivity and our mental health in unison.
All in all, technology is accelerating the way HR works, positively for the greater good of an organisation.
About this author
Alex joined Advanced in February 2016 with a track record in senior HR positions. She has been responsible for innovative new people focused strategies to lead the company’s talent management and development initiatives. She is renowned for her forward-thinking ideas, ensuring strategies eradicate unconscious bias - she was one of the first to famously ‘throw CVs out the window’ in the recruitment process. She is a regular industry commentator in leading titles such as HR Magazine.