Top 8 Business Trends That Will Affect HR in 2020

At SparkUs, we believe in regularly attending industry events in order to develop close relationships with our peers and stay ahead of the latest developments. This year, we were one of the 120 startups programme attendees at the WEF Annual Meeting of the New Champions, which was a fantastic opportunity to take the pulse of the current business world and determine where the future trends lie. 

From our findings, we’ve compiled the top 8 business trends that will affect the future of HR. We hope this will shed new light for business leaders currently creating 2020 HR strategies.

1- Political Climate & Trade Wars

Since the HR industry is shaped and influenced by political and economic developments, HR professionals need to also be aware of the changing political climate.

Recently, trade wars have taken place between the US and China, there have been new tax regulations around the world, Brexit is imminent, and many countries have implemented stricter immigration laws.  These developments threaten many organisations in terms of their business strategies, overseas investments, and talent management. Many organisations have even been forced to consider restructuring their supply chains and replicate production plants in different countries. To make matters worse, the global political climate has resulted in tighter immigration laws, which has made it harder for talent to move freely between countries. 

Key Areas for HR Leaders to Consider

Recruitment, Succession Planning

2- Disruption & Startups

New technologies paved the way for innovation that would have been considered impossible a few years ago. Many industry giants that were feeling secure in their marketplace dominance have now been disrupted by tech startups. Even tech unicorns are vulnerable to disruption from newer players.

Industry leaders have realised that collaborating with startups is easier than competing with them. Therefore, many big enterprises have started to invest in their own accelerators, incubation programs, and intrapreneurial initiatives. This also triggered a new approach of mimicking startups has led organisations to implement new methodologies, like Design Thinking, Agile Project Management, and Business Canvas.

However, merely implementing these new methodologies is not enough to ensure that the results are successful. Cultural change is the only way to internalise this new way of doing business — and one of the best ways to achieve cultural change is to implement a strong coaching culture within the organisation. 

Key Areas for HR Leaders to Consider

Organisational Development, Leadership Development

3- Corporate Citizenship & Ethics

Organisations can no longer simply adhere to regulatory compliance requirements. The pressure to implement “corporate citizenship” is increasing, and companies are expected to have ethical, social and environmental responsibilities — while still maintaining profitability for shareholders.

In order to monitor and manage these corporate citizenship activities, we will see more Social and Ethics Committees within organisations. These committees will be responsible for ensuring the below issues are prioritised:

  •       Environment, health and public safety
  •       Social and economic consciences of the business
  •       Consumer relationships
  •       Labour and employment matters
  •       Company ethics

 Key Areas for HR Leaders to Consider

Organisational Development, Leadership Development

4- Embracing Diversity

Diversity is not only crucial to for obvious ethical reasons but also important for fostering creative debate , addressing possible risks in different interest groups, and understanding the markets from a well-rounded perspective. A modern workplace should embrace diversity — not only in terms of race, gender, and religion — but also in terms of diversity of values, educational and cultural backgrounds, geography, mindsets, and experience.  

Key Areas for HR Leaders to Consider

Recruitment, Organisational Development 

5- Getting Ready for an AI and Robot-Supported Future

New technologies disrupt the way we work. In the future, all repetitive tasks and no-brainer decisions will be performed by Artificial Intelligence (AI) or robots — and not just blue-collar work. However, this means many time-consuming jobs that require full-time employees will be extinct. 

However, on the bright side, machines will take over the most dangerous jobs. And jobs will shift towards a new set of skills, like creativity, emotional intelligence, generating insights, setting meaningful goals, and more. Therefore, our jobs are secure as long as we continue to upskill and/or re-skill in order to meet the new needs of the market. 

Key Areas for HR Leaders to Consider

Organisational Development, Learning & Development

6- Going Beyond Big Data

Collecting big data isn’t the end goal anymore. What’s more important is to understand the data, generate actionable insights, and develop recommendations that align with business goals. This is a set of new muscles that we need to train. 

As we employ machine learning, we start to encounter new challenges, like the ethical collection and classification of data, ensuring privacy for data owners, overseeing algorithms made by machines, and developing the skills to assess AI projects on management boards.

Big Data, HR Analytics, Soft Data and Artificial Intelligence has allowed the HR world to take measurable actions based on data. However, in order to understand, interpret, and gain actionable insights from data, advanced HR skills are required

Strategic HR  thinking will be needed in order to generate actionable insights from the data and implement an innovative and diverse corporate culture. 

Key Areas for HR Leaders to Consider

Learning & Development, Recruitment

7- Talent Deficit & Employee Engagement

Employees who passionately embrace the business’s strategic goals will ensure the organisation stays ahead of the competition. And organisations need a lot of talented people to keep up with competitive markets. However, the definition of talent evolves with market needs. 

The future market will prioritise forward-looking people with tenacity and quick adaptation skills. Unfortunately, this type of talent is very scarce. There is huge competition between companies to add this talent to their teams. This means the power lies in the hands of the talent. 

Companies should relook their workplace and employee experience in order to attract these people. For example, companies can highlight their focus on changing the world to be a better place as part of the ‘weQ’ over ‘IQ’ movement, which is appealing to talent who seek a higher purpose to their work. 

Key Areas for HR Leaders to Consider

Talent management, Organisational development, Recruitment

8- Leadership 4.0: Redesigning Workforce

With the emergence of Industry 4.0, the new focus is on digitalisation and innovation. However, you need talented leaders to develop innovation and drive a company into the digital era. 

Deploying new technologies is meaningless without a workforce that can take advantage of its added value. Unfortunately, the traditional ways of management and leadership are slowing down innovation and technological development within companies. Companies need a new leadership model that will motivate and identify innovation-focused talent. This new model also needs to address the issues of ethics, as well as the internal dynamics of multi-disciplinary teams. 

Leadership 4.0 puts the leader in the role of a facilitator — they are now responsible for the collective performance of the team. The leaders of this new Leadership 4.0 model are expected to be:

  •     Ethical
  •     Team-Oriented and Facilitating
  •     Agile
  •     Transparent
  •     Competent in Technology and Innovation
  •     Data-Driven
  •     Equipped with Business Coaching and Mentoring    

Key Areas for HR Leaders to Consider

Leadership development