As we roll into each new year, business owners/leaders often ask what the emerging trends are for the coming year where HR is concerned. At this time last year, we wrote about HR areas of focus for 2019 and beyond – all of which are still very much ongoing priorities. As we noted in that post, changes to legislation notwithstanding, the most important HR priorities for any given organization should be determined by its own unique needs and challenges. That said, we recommend keeping the following in mind as your organization moves forward into a new decade.

Culture, Culture, Culture!

(You may have heard us mention this before!) For example, while you should most certainly focus on respect, equity, diversity and inclusion, and have an associated policy/procedure, your culture must first support it – and your policy/procedure should reflect your culture. In all things, with all priorities and trends – start there.

Start at the Top

With Gen Z entering the workforce and greater numbers of people continuing to retire, a focus on continuous learning and growth is critical. We also know it can be overwhelming to know where to start with organization-wide professional development. We suggest starting with your leadership and/or management teams. When those team members are strong, skilled and engaged in people management, they’ll be well-positioned to lead efforts of continuous learning/growth amongst their own teams.

Keep the Conversation Going

Where performance management is concerned, there’s not much new to say here. Unless you’re sure it’s working for your organization and your employees, scrap the one-time annual review and support ongoing performance conversations. This goes back to ensuring your managers have the skills and are held accountable to doing so.

Get Engaged

Employee engagement is still critical and always should be. But is the traditional engagement survey the best method for assessing it? It depends. If the survey is too lengthy/onerous (preventing employees from responding and you from taking any action) and/or allows employees to hide behind their anonymity, then the answer is “no”. If it’s short/to the point, followed up in a timely manner with an action plan and facilitates ongoing conversations (go back to manager training here), then it’s “yes”. We also encourage you to start by understanding what engagement means for your organization specifically.

Flexible = Workable

All employees want some measure of flexibility; they just want it in different ways. The key is in understanding what you’re willing/able to provide as an organization and treating employees consistently (roles permitting). Flexibility shouldn’t be all given on the part of the workplace, but rather a mutual give-and-take – the result being greater productivity. Through meetings, surveys and general conversations with employees across several industries, we hear time and again how much employees appreciate flexibility, and how having it increases their commitment to their work and the organization overall.

Stop Spraying & Praying

Hiring has been tough for years and it won’t get easier any time soon. Be intentional about how and who you attract, source, interview and onboard. Create a strategy first and seek out candidates where you know they’re hanging out. Depending on the size and style of your organization, you might even consider “gamifying” your hiring process.

Shift from NO to PRO

Re-frame your focus from one of “thou shalt not” to one of proactive kindness, approachability and trust – and model both the change and the integrity you want to see.

There will of course be emerging trends that arise over the coming year and beyond. Regardless of how new, hot and important those trends seem, be sure they make sense for your organization and…

… Wait for it…

… Understand if/how they align with the culture you have or want to have.