7 predictions for HR and Recruitment in 2019
By Luke Battah
Another year has ended and while there has never been such a thing as a ‘dull year’ in HR, it’s safe to say that 2018 was interesting. Advances in technology, regulatory changes and economic uncertainty have posed their fair share of challenges which many of us are probably still dealing with. Nevertheless, a new year is an exciting time and one for looking ahead and making new plans.
With this in mind, I’ve written the below predictions on what trends and developments to expect from our industry in 2019.
Check out this article for a list of key moments to look out for in 2019.
Before I get started, I think it’s necessary to talk about the industry as a whole. I’ve been in HR, in particular recruitment and vetting, for many years, but I’ve never experienced such an atmosphere of change. What I mean is that at no other time have I felt the HR industry shifting and changing at such a rate.
If I was asked to make single prediction, it would be that things are changing and will change further. Intrinsic change, powered by technology and user behaviour, will continue to transform the way HR works and the ways we can drive value for our clients and our businesses.
My advice to my fellow HR professionals? Get on board. Those that can adapt to change and ride it will be the ones who thrive.
7 HR predictions for 2019
1. Artificial intelligence continues to grow
One buzzword that seems to be on everyone’s lips is Artificial Intelligence (AI). While AI is hardly new, the focus on the next 12 months will be how AI, or machine learning, will continue to be employed to make our lives easier. AI is adept at speeding up processes and making interactions more efficient.
From an HR perspective this means predictive answers, or robotic automation, which will continue to have a massive impact on service and support. More automated chatbots and so-called ‘virtual assistants’ will continue to improve the experience and reduce the need for manual processes. Not only will AI speed up these processes but it will help address issues stemming from human error.
With reliable chatbots using AI, HR need not be restricted to office hours. Robust AI processes will be able to provide a level of interaction 24/7.
However, we do need a note of warning. Such chatbots need to be as good, if not better, than their human equivalents and this is why this year will see it come fully to the fore in ways it hasn’t to date. Only now is the technology becoming fully available. In 2019 expect to see AI taken to a new level.
2. Regtech will grow in importance
A buzzword that has mostly been restricted to the financial services sector, Regtech will develop into a huge opportunity for all businesses and organisations this year.
Regulatory Technology (RegTech) is technology developed to help firms deal with regulation. It evolved as a form of Fintech due to the high levels of regulation in the Finance sector. However, many of those challenges are equally applicable to other sectors and industries. Obvious examples of this are onboarding automation software, cybersecurity, risk management capabilities, audit contracts, expense reports and invoices.
The biggest opportunities in HR revolve around identity, security and vetting. How can businesses keep up to speed with shifting employment regulation without impacting the speed at which they can operate (and consequently their bottom line)? The answer, in many of these cases, is RegTech.
3. The rise of HR as a service?
Driven by tech advancements and shifting business priorities, more and more HR services are available from external third parties. While this isn’t massively different from how it has been for a while (HR consultants have been available for years) the nature of the technology means there are more options for smaller or more segmented businesses.
This is because HR is the latest area to get the SaaS and app treatment. What this means is that HR departments have the flexibility to focus on people and service driven initiatives, leaving the day-to-day and nitty gritty to automated external software.
4. More of a mobile first approach
Mobile isn’t a new phenomenon but some of the changes we saw in 2018 indicate just how ‘mobile first’ the world has become. For instance, in 2018 Google announced it was moving to mobile-first indexing for search. For those recruiters who use search engine optimisation this is critical but for broader HR the implications of ‘mobile first’ are just as significant.
HR software and technology (in house or external) will all need to be mobile first as it can now be expected that the majority or employees or candidates will be accessing them on their smart phones.
5. More experimentation with flexible working conditions
The nature of the job market has shifted in the last few years and I can only see that continuing. The so-called gig economy means more contractors, freelancers and non-traditional roles. HR departments unwilling to consider these roles – at least to some degree – may well end up frustrating current employees and missing out on top talent.
Having said that, I don’t expect every traditional role to suddenly switch.
6. More employees working remotely
Working from home has long been the byword for slacking off. Getting up late, wearing your dressing gown and sending the odd email to show that you’re busy. Recently, these negative connotations have started to shift. For many employees the flexibility of being able to work from home is a massive benefit and sought after.
If businesses can trust their employees (and if they can’t then they should probably consider why they’re employing them at all) then the benefits of working from home are significant. For working parents or home owners the ability to work from home without taking precious holiday can be as good as a pay rise.
Technology today allows employees to Skype in, access intranets and share documents regardless of their location. This means the negatives for businesses are minimal but the benefits are multiple – and it doesn’t cost a penny.
I predict working remotely will become more and more the norm as businesses embrace improving technology and reap the benefits of happier workers.
7. Candidate and employee experience become the differentiators
Across society, ‘experience’ has fast become the key battleground for brands. Consumer mentality is now that excellent service and experience is expected and often demanded. Bad experiences are shouted about in a public arena – often social media.
What this means for HR is two-fold. It impacts recruitment and it impacts existing employee interactions. We’ll look at recruitment first.
Recruitment and onboarding traditionally deliver a disjointed and frustrating experience for both the candidate and the recruiter. Too many manual processes and compliance steps to jump through. AI and Regtech as we have already discussed will drastically improve the onboarding process and the businesses that succeed will put themselves ahead of their competitors.
For existing employees the experience employers deliver in terms of comms, benefits and working conditions need to be the focus for HR departments. Making things easier, quicker and more helpful should be a high priority as employees are less and less likely to accept mediocrity.
Embrace the change in 2019
As we have seen 2019 is set to be an exciting year. Most importantly, it is set to be a year of change. It is my passionate belief that these changes are for the benefit of our clients, businesses, employees and candidates. Every change is one we need to embrace as an industry and utilise to deliver better experiences, better working conditions and better work life balances.