Trends for HR projects in 2019 — obstacles or opportunities?

Sharon Platts

By Sharon Platts

02 May 2019

We’re only just into the second quarter of 2019, but it’s already turning out to be a busy year for organisations up and down the country. Ongoing uncertainty over Brexit has forced organisations to plan for multiple scenarios, and many are now in a holding pattern, waiting to see which they will need to implement. For some sectors, recruitment is a particular headache as some EU citizens make the decision to leave the country while others await more certainty before travelling to the UK. 

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Brexit challenges aside, there is still plenty to be done when it comes to managing the human side of your organisation. Evolving workplace issues are becoming more socioeconomic in nature, with the gender pay gap, employee engagement and new, flexible working styles taking centre stage. Let’s take a look at what that means for HR projects in 2019.  

The top three HR trends of 2019… 

As we help HR teams assess their priorities for the short and medium term, we see three key trends emerging: 

1. Digital technology

  • The need to leverage the awesome power of digital technology — video, mobile, artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) — which has the potential to transform your entire business and help it stay competitive in today’s fast-paced global economy.
  • For some people, that transformation will impact on the daily work they do — some will be able to retrain and take on exciting new roles, but others may find that their role is no longer required, and it will fall to HR to guide those people and the remaining employees through the process as sensitively as possible.
  • Leveraging new technology to help employees self serve can help ease their own bureaucratic burden, and free up HR teams from the daily admin — allowing them to focus on game-changing projects instead.

2. Employee engagement

  • This is a perennial challenge for organisations, but another exciting benefit of the rise of digital technology is that it delivers exciting new ways to engage with employees — to keep churn low and productivity high, or to deliver complex cultural change.
  • Boosting engagement isn’t just about the way you communicate with employees, though. You may need to revisit policies, procedures and organisational structure to create a dynamic, exciting atmosphere where people look forward to getting to work. Miss the boat on this one, and you could find yourself losing your best talent to your nearest competitor.

3. Flexible working

  • No longer the exception, employees are now coming to expect flexibility, where the role allows it. High-speed Internet, mobile technology and cloud technology all allow us to be ‘present’ when we’re at home.
  • As the shape of employment changes and more and more people move away from the traditional model of commuting long hours to full-time employment, it’s becoming clear that it’s not just down to the IT team to deliver the technology to make flexible working happen; there’s also a need for training and leadership to ensure new tools are embedded in employees’ daily working practices and used properly.
  • Employers also need to complete a thorough review of policy and procedures to accommodate new working styles, and find new ways to measure performance and productivity.

…and how to deliver on them 

The common theme with these trends is that they are all strategic initiatives requiring a potentially large degree of cultural change. HR projects on this scale generally demand considerable expertise and experience to get them over the line on time and on budget, so the question is – how will you deliver on these initiatives? Not all organisations have those skills in house but even those that do may need additional support to keep the daily HR workload operating efficiently and effectively.  

Here at Connor, we can help with every stage of the organisational change process — from initial concepts to design, implementation to after care, and we’ll ensure your employees are fully engaged throughout the process. Take a look at the Organisational Change area on our website to learn more, and hear from happy clients. 

If you need someone to pick up the HR baton while your team are focused on delivering game-changing projects, why not check out our HR Services? And you can always give us a call on +44 (0)1491 414010 to discuss any organisational challenges you’re facing this year.

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