HR Trends in 2020

HR Trends During and After the Pandemic

It’s a crazy time for all of us. Many things within the business and employment community are changing. So understandably, HR trends are changing as well. Before everything changed, there were already some anticipated changes to the world of Human Resources. The new generation of workers coming into the workforce started the initial shift. Now though, with the uncertainness of everything, this has shifted even more.

Considering the estimated effects of this pandemic, we’ll probably see some updates to HR next year as well. Read on to learn about the current HR trends and what to expect later this year.

Human Resources Focuses Trending in 2020

The most noticeable change recently, is, of course, the human element. Just as the trend of company culture has caught on, so too has the human aspect of ‘human resources.’ Companies are realizing more and more that employees are their most valuable asset. Not only employees but talented and loyal ones.

With the competitive nature of hiring, it’s becoming more essential for businesses to become “people-pleasers.” This has resulted in an overall shift in all areas concerning employees. Adding to this uptake is the new generations of employees entering the workforce – their values are focused more on enjoying their work. Employers are focusing more on happy employees for productivity and less on forced productivity. More companies are striving for a better work-life balance for all. No matter the reasons, it’s a better work environment for all!

Thinking of Employees as Resources

A graphic of a hand putting a coin into a piggy bank that says "employees" on it - symbolizing investing in your employees.

Investing in employee well-being is becoming more of a norm. Just as a company would invest in resources, they should also invest in their workers. When you invest in your employees, they’re more likely to feel personally invested in your company. They become an integral part of what your company is, which makes them feel irreplaceable.

Not only this, but they’ll also want to stay at your company. After all, everyone appreciates feeling appreciated! Read this List by Entrepreneur.com to fully understand the ways in which investing in employees can pay off.

Your productivity, retention, and new hire costs will all benefit. It can be as simple as thorough training for new and existing employees. This HR trend doesn’t have to be pricey. You just need to communicate to your employees their success is truly important to you.

Inclusive and Innovative Company Culture

As we mentioned before, company culture is another one of those elements coming into focus. Nobody wants to work in a place where they feel uncomfortable or uptight throughout the day. Especially when it comes to millennial employees – studies consistently show that millennials prefer innovative and encouraging culture, with a healthy work-life balance.

Innovation doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be the next Apple. It means a focus on core values and beliefs. In short, people just want to feel they’re making a difference and working towards value.

Work-Life Balance

Along the lines of company culture – work-life balance! This HR trend is a long time in the making. While everyone needs to make money, fewer individuals are willing to make their life only about making money. Work-life balance can be explained through the age-old phrase of, “work hard, play hard.”

A split screen of a laptop, calendar, and work area on one side, and a woman practicing yoga on the other side. A new HR trend is the focus on work-life balance.

Along with this, it’s also enjoying yourself in the workplace. Obviously nobody is always ecstatic to go to work every day, but you shouldn’t dread entering your workplace. This feeling usually means your employees are close to hitting their “burnout” point. When employees hit this point, it’s hard to recover from. Burnout usually results from employees feeling overwhelmed, over-worked, and stressed for long enough to hit their breaking point.

Then, burnout results in lost productivity, absenteeism, irritability, indifference to work, and more. Clearly this is a point you don’t want to hit. While this can happen for a variety of reasons, the way to avoid it is quite easy. You simply need to listen to your employees and keep a pulse on everyone. If an employee comes to you requesting assistance or appears to be struggling, look into it! Especially if this isn’t a typical pattern for the employee.

Adjustments to HR Trends During the Pandemic

While the above examples were perceived HR trends for 2020, this has temporarily shifted. Stay in-the-know with any business-related COVID-19 updates with Journey’s dedicated page. Now, let’s dig into these pandemic adjustments.

We’re all well aware of the shifts in not only business and HR but life in general due to the COVID-19 outbreak. It’s been argued to be the most concerning pandemic the world over since the 1918 Spanish Flu. Understandably, desperate times call for desperate efforts. This is not even close to a comprehensive list, so be sure to do your own independent research. Areas not included in our list are employee health, benefits support, helping your employees and community, and more.

Employer’s Responsibility to Standards & Safety

First off, it’s always an employer’s responsibility to ensure their workplace is safe for all employees. In the midst of a pandemic, this is highlighted even more. The infection methods of this virus have made gathering at work a hazard. So, organizations like OSHA have released information to help businesses understand how to continue operation, while also protecting their workers.

This includes standards regarding:

  • Requiring face coverings and other protective equipment
  • Providing proper sanitizing agents
  • Reporting workplace injury and illness

Assessing Hazard Risk

Along with safety, employers must determine their employee’s risk. This means looking at the industry your business is in, their risk of contact, and other factors. This hazard risk would then determine what steps an employer needs to take to ensure the safety of employees. Obviously, there are industries that are at a significantly higher risk for contamination. These include those working in healthcare and other necessary industries that require employees to continue working while understanding this risk.

It should also be mentioned that employees should be made aware of these risks. Employers should regularly update workers as they continue to receive information. The risk levels are divided into 4 different categories: low, medium, high, and very high. The risk levels are also adjusted based on the worker’s contact with those suspected of or known to have contact with the virus.

Doctors and medical staff in a room crowded with patients.

A low-risk worker would be someone that has limited contact, for example, a remote worker. A medium-risk worker is someone that has contact with the general public. This would include customer service workers that consistently interact with the public. High-risk workers are those in the medical or morgue industries in contact with those potentially in contact with COVID-19. On the other hand, very high-risk workers in the medical and morgue industries have been in contact with those known to have been infected.

For a full comprehensive explanation of Hazard Risk, visit this OSHA page.

Stay Updated and Diligent

All this is to say, stay updated and diligent. While this isn’t necessarily an HR trend, this is one way you can do your due diligence for your employees. Nobody is expected to be an expert, especially in these uncertain times, but do your best. Stay updated on news within your state, within the realm of Human Resources, and the CDC. Here are some useful resources, as well as those listed above, that help you stay updated.

Upcoming HR Trends to Watch for Later This Year

One of the newest HR trends is the focus on mental health - this image shows a stethoscope over a brain.

Understandably, many HR experts believe the changes to Human Resources will change for years to come. The pandemic has been a forced change for many companies and these changes will be long-lasting. A general shift in the workplace and human resources was gradual, but the last hangers-on got a bit of a push.

Personal Health and Safety

The areas of health and safety are highlighted now more than ever. Everyone, including employers, are realizing how important mental health and overall health are. Not only this but keeping that health safe.

Many of us have been able to spend more time on self-care and mental health care, which has shed light on the importance. While work-life balance is something many companies were already working on for 2020, this “we’re in this together” attitude of shelter in place orders has us truly caring about each other. This is at least a small nugget of positivity that will last.

Digital and Remote Work

With the recent “shelter in place” orders, remote work seems even more appealing. Businesses see that their employees are able to get their work done. Not only this, but various studies also show that many employees are actually more productive at home. However, employees do need the right tools and digital resources to achieve this level of productivity.

If your employee’s success and productivity rely on in-office tools that they can’t access at home, obviously, remote work isn’t the best option. This HR trend was born of necessity but resulted in a pleasant productivity surprise.

The Importance of Leadership

As usual, we look to leadership in hard times. This is no different in the business world. With the uncertainty of employment and overall landscape of the economy, naturally, leadership will become crucial. If your leadership team isn’t as defined as you’d prefer, now is the time to give your plan some attention!

A man pointing with a pointer to a red stick figure out of a group of ten 9 black stick figures

Keep Your Eyes on The HR Horizon

No matter these reasons, these HR trends are proving to be good news for all. Both businesses and employees are benefiting from these adjustments. So rather than worry, take this time to adjust your plans if necessary. Prepare to embrace these new trends. As everyone’s said, we’re all in this together!