Which HR trends 2020 will survive the coronavirus crisis?

Marlies Pellikaan

What does the coronavirus crisis mean for HR? Which HR trends 2020 are on the way up? And which trends are on the way out? Effectory put these questions to HR trend watcher Tom Haak.

Which HR trends 2020 will survive the coronavirus crisis?

Tom Haak, Director of the HR Trend Institute and Chief Curator of the Museum of HR, has been publishing his analysis of HR trends for five years now, and 2020 was no exception. It was an interesting read, but times have changed dramatically since then. What does the HR expert think of these trends now? Which HR trends 2020 will survive the coronavirus crisis and which will not? HR trend watcher Tom Haak gives us his opinion. 

These HR trends 2020 are on the up:

1. Personalization

For many years, the HR sector focused heavily on standardization and a one-size-fits-all strategy, but now we are moving toward a more personalized approach that has the individual needs, wishes and skills of each employee at its core. Each individual responds differently to a crisis scenario. Personalization will therefore play an important role in overcoming the current crisis. What’s the best way for each employee to work from home? And if we’re soon going to be returning to the office in shifts, which shift best suits each employee? Our former sense of normality no longer exists. It is now up to us to shape the ‘new normal.’

2. HR technology

I predict a huge boost in learning technology as an HR trend in 2020. Technology is no longer just a ‘nice to have’ — it is now an important driver of transformation. We are now seeing widespread use of these advanced technologies to allow us all to work remotely. Technological developments are moving at an incredibly rapid pace.

3. Fast, faster, fastest

The crisis is an accelerator in itself. Organizations and employees have had to adapt very quickly. All of a sudden it seems that anything is possible, and much quicker than before. It is important that we take this opportunity to learn what does and does not work.

4. New approaches to organization

Problems that have previously gone under the radar, such as issues with flexible employment contracts, have now come to the fore. Every organization is undergoing significant restructuring. We’re reorganizing jobs, retraining ourselves and discovering hitherto unknown types of flexibility and creativity. I anticipate that we will see more and more of these new approaches to organization throughout the coming weeks and months, perhaps even for the next few years. So yes, this HR trend is definitely on the up.

5. Analysis

There is a lot that can be learned from analyzing the current situation. For example, what works and what doesn’t work now that we are all working from home? The insight provided by this analysis will be crucial for shaping our new way of working. At the same time, we must be cautious when collecting this data — there are a number of privacy concerns here that must be considered very carefully.

6. Productivity

Productivity is currently low, but nevertheless a top priority. If we want to get our organizations back on track, we need to increase productivity. The question is, how do we do that? The current situation means that simply being at work for eight hours is no longer enough; we need to actually deliver results. An interesting shift.

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These HR trends 2020 are changing:

1. Less focus on employee experience

Improving employee experience was previously a hot topic in HR. Now I have my doubts as to whether this will remain the case. We are currently struggling with an economic crisis that is forcing organizations to restructure. Unfortunately, this means that improving employee experience is not always a top priority for organizations.

2. Less generosity

Whether it was an extra day off on your birthday or a get-well-soon gift, organizations were becoming increasingly generous toward their employees. We are still seeing a lot of understanding and kindness, but the question is how long that will last.

3. Less social and environmental responsibility

I believe the future of the corporate social responsibility HR trend is also uncertain. At macro level, we have seen many countries put their own interests first. Unfortunately, we are also beginning to see signs of the same sort of behavior among organizations.

More on HR trends

Thanks Tom for this excellent webinar! Are you keen to find out more about HR trends, crisis management, leadership and being a good employer? Each week, Effectory hosts a free webinar covering a topic that is relevant to the times we now live in.

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