Top six talent management trends for 2019

by Edward Cranswick04 Jan 2019

As technology develops at a seemingly exponential rate, the potential for radical transformation in the workplace might seem a dizzying prospect. HR managers need continually to be flexible in adapting to new situations, and keeping on top of emerging trends. We HR managers need always to be asking: ‘How can I redefine the role of HR in this organisation so that I’m adding value?’

Here are the top six talent management trends for 2018 and beyond, to help spark your imagination in the process.

1. Optimise the employee experience
The millennial generation is making new demands of their workplaces, and seeking greater integration of work and lifestyle to accommodate our 24-hour, ever-moving, worldwide economy. More people are more plugged-in to their work more of the time, so there’s an increasing emphasis on the employee experience. An article in Harvard BusinessReview instructs employers to design their employee experience much as they design their customer experience.

Applying customer experience strategy to employee experience begins with needs-based segmentation, grouping employees into clusters based on their wants and needs. Most companies organize employees in standard groupings like job title, rank, department, business unit, or geography. Bust just as customer experience design requires a more nuanced understanding of customers than simple demographics or economic value, employee experience design should be based on employees’ drivers and desires.

Forbes expands on how this might be achieved:

This new focus will drive leaders to examine their employee journey map and optimize it much as customer experience teams do for customer journeys. It will be an exciting time where HR will continuously experiment with technology in the market such as pulse feedback tools, employee wellness apps, modern communication and productivity tools that will help facilitate the understanding and development of the employee experience.

In this way, businesses will be able to better tailor their employee experience to maximise both an employee’s potential within a company, as well as that employee’s own feeling of personal growth. As Karen Cariss, CEO and Co-Founder of PageUp, notes: “ … businesses can no longer rely on a one-size-fits-all approach to talent management if they want to attract and retain top talent.”

In order to deliver this level of personalisation, it’s important that businesses integrate HR (‘people’) analytics. As Cariss points out, HR analytics not only help to “expose gaps in employee productivity” but can also “highlight ways to improve engagement, uncover what motivates employees and map the overall employment experience.” Working off increasingly sophisticated employee surveys, “[m]achine learning algorithms will apply text and pattern recognition analytics to enrich the insights delivered” by such data.

2. Self-directed learning
Rather than traditional, long, boring employee-education sessions, the modern workplace should be gearing up to integrate more personalised, self-directed, and targeted learning platforms.

To keep up with a fast-paced workplace, employees need always to update their skills. As Cariss comments: “Small bursts of micro-learning will be reinforced through repetition in future lessons and tasks, as well as shared through social networking platforms.” She also highlights the possibilities for user-feedback and user-generated content to spread organically throughout a workplace to maximise impact, as fellow employees use digital and social-networking tools to share more frequently the methods of learning that are most effective for them.

3. Digitalising HR
As Forbes suggests, you should be thinking not simply about employing new digital tools, but about the full-fledged “digitalization of the workplace itself.” This idea connects naturally with above strategies of personalisation and self-direction. By having a one-stop-shop for employee engagement – where things like leave claims, medical claims, internal job postings, learning tools and opportunities, social- and networking-events etc. are posted – you the HR manager will be better able to integrate your workers into the workplace, as well as free up valuable time to do the kind of HR work that requires the human, personal touch.

4. The changing conception of the ‘employee’
The old notion of a 9-5, 5-days a week employee is fast going out of fashion. As employers, we need to be able to hire on demand and to fill gaps in our workforce with agility and creativity. As Forbes puts it: “Talent sourcing practices need to build speed and agility in order to quickly identify work/projects in need of attention, source employees with the required skills, and staff project teams that can quickly perform the necessary task.”

Flexibility in work arrangements (such as allowing more people to work from home, especially the increasingly important number of working parents) makes your organisation more attractive as a prospect for potential employees – thus expanding the pool of available talent.

Cariss also draws attention to the development of unified talent management systems that allow for easy management of freelancers, contractors, and employees. She comments of HR tech in general that it “will be essential to help workers maintain connections across borders, managers lead their teams and drive collaboration.”

5. Augmented reality and virtual reality tools
Cariss points out the likelihood that both augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) media will become a part of the “talent acquisition toolkits of tech-savvy recruiters”. She writes:

Expect to be served up interactive job advertisements, go on a VR tour of your future workplace in Australia while sitting in Singapore, and complete VR assessments during your recruitment process. AR/VR will also be used to enhance the employee experience by providing simulations of tasks and work challenges, better preparing workers for real-world situations before they have to face them.

6. Artificial intelligence
A 2018 Deloitte report found that while 75% of Australian companies regard AI, robotics, and automation as important, only 23% feel ready to tackle the changes that will come along with such developments.

AI might seem like a threatening phenomenon for many employees and managers, but it’s important to highlight the ways in which AI will help workers and managers work better, not simply its potential to replace certain humans in certain jobs.

For example, Cariss points to the potential for AI chatbots to interact with candidates under consideration for jobs:

As a result, recruiters will be freed to spend more time adding value to the sourcing and selection process: conducting interviews and making offers to a considerably reduced and select pool of candidates. It heralds a better talent acquisition experience for everyone.

Furthermore, AI will expand to replace human labour in many of the simpler, routine, and laborious administrative tasks that take up much of your time in managing a workforce: “In turn, HR professionals will refocus their efforts on strategic workplace initiatives and contributing real business value.”

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