Six Mega-Trends for HR

The McLean & Company 2020 HR Trends Report, which highlights the ways traditional practices and assumptions are being challenged, has named the six trends that will affect HR in 2020.

Jennifer Rozon, president, McLean & Company, said, “The annual HR Trends Report from McLean & Company has become the industry gold standard for research insights into organizational HR practices and emerging trends. What are we seeing in 2020? Well, despite all the talk about transformation and the future of work, organizations are not proficient in the new competencies that will be required to be successful in the future. Our report reveals that 42% of HR departments have no overarching talent and/or HR strategy.

Another startling datapoint is that only 10% of organizations have fully implemented new agile ways of working, and 30% of HR respondents say their department is not acting to support digital transformation. Not surprisingly, these organizations had lower levels of innovation, productivity, and overall organizational performance.

What this tells us is that unless specific action is taken to invest in HR and grow the strategic importance of the HR department and HR professionals, the gap is only going to widen further.”

Here are the six mega-trends emerging from the McLean & Company 2020 HR Trends report:

– The lack of “HR for HR” – HR professionals are tasked with helping employees build resilience to change and work through challenging circumstances. This emotional labor comes at a high cost to HR employees, and very few organizations provide the same level of support to HR professionals, causing HR effectiveness and efficiency to decrease. Shockingly, 81% of HR professionals agree that their stress levels have increased over the past few years.

– Evolving HR design – Organizational outcomes improve when HR is involvedin strategic planning and decisions about the workforce. However, our survey shows that almost 70% of the respondents felt that HR is not a full partner in the planning and execution of organizational strategy. HR must continue to increase its involvement in these areas and participate as a full partner in the strategic planning and decision-making process to deliver better overall organizational performance, workforce productivity, and employee experience.

– The rise of talent management in agile organizations – Today’s need for agility has increased the reliance on teams within organizations. However, many HR processes that have evolved are still focused on individual support and evaluation. Organizations that have started to incorporate aspects of team performance management are more successful at generating and implementing new ideas and are quicker to change and capitalize on new opportunities, both of which are at the heart of an agile transformation. Despite all the talk about transformations and the future of work, less than 20% of organizations are proficient in the competencies that will be required to be successful in the future, such as Agile (or Scrum), design thinking, change management, and emotional intelligence.

– Reskilling in the age of digital disruption – Digital disruption and transformation programs often require wholesale changes to the operating model, and people are at the heart of successful transformations. Despite this reliance on people, the percentage of HR departments that are doing nothing to support digital transformation is shocking. Only 10% of organizations have fully implemented new agile ways of working and 30% of HR respondentssay their department is not taking any action to support digital transformation, which is negatively associated with innovation, productivity, and overall organizational performance.

– Technology and talent acquisition – Despite the importance of technology, only 32% of recruiters are leveraging all the capabilities of their talent acquisition technologies and more than 75% of organizations have not yet invested or planned for investments in advanced technologies such as AI to help improve their talent acquisition efforts. For example, only 5% of talent acquisition departments have invested in chatbots.

– The move from diversity to inclusion – Organizations are moving the focus from diversity initiatives to driving inclusive practices. Despite this, there is a persistent gender gap when it comes to inclusion, with women less likely to feel empowered to make decisions about how they do their work. This gap is two times larger for women in less senior roles.

Evan Hughes, senior manager, McLean & Company, who leads the annual research effort at McLean & Company, said, “As demands on HR departments continue to evolve, our data indicates that the perceived performance of HR continues to decline; the function is not keeping pace with the increased need to maximize the value of their talent. At the same time, the practices and tools available to HR have exploded as new technologies and methodologies are now available. Our research found that organizational outcomes improve when HR is involved in strategic planning and decisions about the workforce, yet one in three HR departments are not involved in the development of organizational strategies and almost 70% of strategic decisions about the workforce are made outside of HR. This tells us that HR needs to participate in strategic conversations from the beginning, to best enable organizations to achieve their goals.”

The annual McLean & Company HR Trends Report has become a dependable source for research insights into organizational HR practices and emerging trends. It explores how HR departments are responding to the changing organizational and people management landscape and identifies some of the emerging best practices as evidenced by analysis of a large HR survey and research project. The main areas under examination include the evolution of the design of HR departments, new tools in talent acquisition, the need to support digital transformation, and creation of a culture of continuous learning. The report also explores the lack of progress made in creating inclusive work environments by examining the practices in use by HR departments today.

Note to the media: When referencing the Trends Report in any news article / coverage please refer to it as The McLean & Company 2020 HR Trends Report. (To download the full report, click here.)

Survey Methodology: The McLean & Company 2020 HR Trends Report combines insights gathered from more than 800 business leaders and HR professionals across 650 organizations and shares trends and practices that will reshape HR in 2020 and beyond.


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