What Should HR Departments Look Out For This Year?

2019 looks set to be an exciting time for HR professionals. The traditionally overburdened sector is going through a rapid pace of transition, driven by new legislation, evolving business trends, and technology innovation. As employees are increasingly looking for more from their employer than just a high salary, HR departments are crucial to business owners.

However, with so many impending challenges, it can be difficult to prioritize the right development strategies. For those HR departments looking ahead, below are the trends and changes to expect in 2019 and what you should be doing to maximize their use in an ever-evolving sector.

The Human Factor

There’s no disputing that technology has made the daily tasks of an HR department easier to tackle. Automation and AI are driving technology forward, and HR departments are rightly adopting more and more efficient resources through tech. However, HR departments are going to have to remember that they are primarily a service that deals with people, and that means making use of internal tools that are currently unavailable for even the most advanced technologies. Factors like creativity, empathy, and even morality have long been key elements of HR, which is why departments need to balance efficiency with the human touch when looking at new company acquisitions, for example.

Data and GDPR

Most HR departments have been focusing on GDPR over the last year, but not enough is being done to ensure compliance. The new laws and regulations for retaining and using the data of customers, suppliers, and employees are of paramount importance to HR, which is why you need to have regular reviews of your compliance practices. Reduce the potential impacts of the consequences of contravening GDPR requirements, which you can do by adopting these measures:

  • Use secure systems that are responsive so that you can respond quickly to queries regarding data storage and use
  • Develop strong policies in regards to the data that you store and what you do with that data
  • Educate yourself and your department about data protection and compliance
  • Review your processes

Staying ahead of legislative changes and legal requirements is essential for HR departments that are hoping to keep ahead in 2019.

The AI Challenge

There is no avoiding the concept of artificial intelligence in business over the last two years. Sudden leaps in accessibility and potential have caused many people to rely more than they should on this exciting new tech development. The problem is that AI is currently not as good as some HR departments think. 2019 could be the year where AI reaches its potential, but until it does, many of the tasks of an HR department will remain largely AI free. While AI has the potential to make many HR tasks easier and faster, it’s important to remember that we are not yet able to automate everything, and the human touch is still a large part of human resources.

Data, Ethics, and Analytics

The concept of big data has grown from being an interesting tool into one of the most important resources for businesses of every kind. The sheer volume of available data accessible by HR can be overwhelming, which is why there is such a focus on the best ways to distill those volumes of data into something actionable. However, that is not the only problem for HR teams using data collection. Ethical considerations are becoming more critical for employees, and how you use employee data will be reflected in the levels of trust that they have in your company. While more tools are being created to get more from big data, having an ethical stance on data use is going to become more important than ever.

Streamlining Tool Use

From a wide range of software and online resources, the average HR department is spoiled for choice when it comes to finding the right tools for efficiency and accuracy. HR supply is at an all-time high, and it can be challenging to keep up with the sheer variety of available tools in the digital age. It can lead to an increasingly complicated system of processes that may not be necessary with a more streamlined approach. Optimize your use of tools and resources by:

  • Knowing exactly what you need in the form of software and hardware to accomplish tasks, such as applying for a commercial loan
  • Dropping resources that are either too difficult to use, or ones that do not interact with other systems
  • Prioritizing tools with intuitive user interfaces

Being able to synchronize your tasks so that you do not end up doing twice the amount of the work is vital. The best HR teams are those that use the best tools and company acquisitions not just to tackle their ongoing tasks, but also to engage and interact with real people. Use tools sparingly and prioritize conversation over data.

The Necessity of Re-Skilling

Employees are putting considerable emphasis on their continued development. With flexible career goals, it’s more important than ever that employers offer perks and benefits that are separate from salary rates. In a shifting and ever-evolving workplace dynamic, HR teams should be ensuring that there are systems in place to develop employees and reduce the potential for skill gaps. As the future of employment continues to evolve from traditional, vertical career growth into a more flexible, skill-based arena, a development strategy is more critical than ever before. Many companies are now offering a cash advance system so that workers are better able to afford more education, but there are other options as well. One of the most useful strategies for HR departments to integrate is the increasingly popular micro-learning technique. These can be fast, cost-effective development programmes that minimize workflow disruption and satisfy employees with a wide range of additional learned skills that will only benefit their career goals.

Final Thoughts

The goal for HR teams in 2019 is to prioritize and improve all areas of the employee experience. Over-reliance on technology is set to become the primary concern for HR teams, alongside the need to balance that tech effectively. A more emotional response to the needs of employees is the key to a better HR development strategy in 2019, with both data and analysis the key areas to pay closer attention to.

Timothy Kelly

Timothy Kelly

Tim has been a writer for over 20 years covering financial markets and small business. In addition to writing about the financial markets, Mr. Kelly writes extensively about digital marketing and SEO. Mr. Kelly attended Boston College where he studied English Literature and Economics, and also attended the University of Siena, Italy where he studied studio art. Mr. Kelly has been a decades-long community volunteer in his hometown of Long Island where he established the community assistance foundation, Kelly's Heroes. He has also been a coach of Youth Lacrosse for over 10 years. Prior to volunteering in youth sports, Mr. Kelly was involved in the Inner City Scholarship program administered by the Archdiocese of New York. Before creating ForexTV, Mr, Kelly was Sr. VP Global Marketing for Bridge Information Systems, the world’s second largest financial market data vendor. Prior to Bridge, Mr. Kelly was a team leader of Media at Bloomberg Financial Markets, where he created Bloomberg Personal Magazine. Contact Tim tim.kelly@smallbizstar.com