We’re now well into the second half of the year, and it’s at this time that we like to take a moment to evaluate the state of HR and take stock of the trends, legislation, and innovations that have exhibited influence on the industry and will shape how we think about HR in our near future. Here are the more significant factors we’ve seen leaving their mark on HR practices so far this year:

1. Making it Personal

HR is no longer one-size-fits-all. The unemployment rate has held at less than 4% for almost a year and a half, and employers have had to adjust their strategy for attracting and retaining employees. We’ve seen a trend towards focusing on the candidate experience; it’s no longer a one-way street. Employers need to demonstrate why and employees should choose them, too. Companies are adding tools to their interview process to personalize communication and remain in constant contact. Employers are making themselves more approachable, personable, and focusing on making candidates feel like they’re not just one in a pile of resumes, that the company is interested in them for their individual strengths.

2. Fighting Bias

Companies have been working on their diversity in 2019. The workforce is demanding a more diverse team from their employers. In response, we’re seeing the adoption of more automation tools that help remove bias from resume screenings and the interviewing process, and organizations are realizing that broadening their scope has the added benefit of closing the skills gap. Employers are looking to older, disabled, formerly incarcerated, and international workers to widen their talent pool — contributing not only to a more diverse workplace but also keeping the unemployment rate at an all-time low.

Take stock of the trends, legislation, and innovations that have exhibited influence on the #HR industry this year, and what’s to expect next with @ClearCompany:

3. Soft Skills Over Hard Skills

Employers are learning that hard skills can be trained, but soft skills don’t come from onboarding. 91% of HR professionals believe soft skills are the future. Employers are looking for employees who are creative, collaborative, and can adapt well to change. The problem companies are facing now, is how to assess soft skills during the hiring process. We’re seeing interviews that focus on problem-solving questions and conflict resolution over technical competencies and an increase in personality assessments to gauge how well a candidate is suited for a particular role.

4. Disrupting the Order of Things

The corporate hierarchy may still exist, but it’s no longer all about what the boss wants. Companies are investing in their people, their development, and exploring new avenues for leadership and team-building. Goals are set with the employee in mind, and training is tailored to what’s best for the individual. Employees aren’t cogs in a machine, they’re a dynamic force that requires agile, adaptable training and development programs that serve both the individual and the organization.

5. Making Peace with AI

Artificial intelligence is permeating HR, in everything from recruiting to onboarding to compliance. HR professionals are saddled with the task of balancing the human element with AI. With the implementation of automation, HR can focus on experience over administrative tasks, hire better employees faster, and make sure candidate and employee needs are met — ensuring they’re engaged, motivated, and reach their full potential. In an ironic twist, by embracing AI, HR professionals make their jobs more human-focused.

6. Corporate Wellness

Employees have reported an increase in financial and workplace stress, and companies are making an effort to prioritize healthy employees in all aspects of their lives. Beyond the gym membership reimbursement plans we’ve seen become commonplace over the last decade, employers are also investing in programs that provide support in the form of investment and savings opportunities, mental health days, student loan aid, flexible work schedules and PTO policies, and generous health insurance plans. Organizations are discovering that providing support for its employees lifts the company as a whole.

Keep an eye on the #HR industry with @ClearCompany’s 2019 trend watch:

Policies to Watch

In addition to workplace trends, we’re also keeping an eye on the conversation happening in government legislation. Some of the trends that start in the workplace have been making their way to Washington, and we’re expecting to see some changes in our near future that will affect HR professionals.

Paid Leave

Many organizations are already implementing generous paid leave policies for childbirth and employees caring for aging parents, and we anticipate more of this practice to continue. As of now, it’s up to individual companies to decide, but it wouldn’t be a surprise to see some level of mandate coming down the road.

Minimum Wage

Several states have already implemented at $15 minimum wage. While the federal minimum wage is often lower than state legislation, expect to see a rise in minimum wages. There’s a prominent conversation about increased wages, and considering that the minimum has not been raised in the longest stretch in history, we believe an increase is imminent.

Labor Unions

Unions are seeking provisions that make it easier to sign-up for and create unions, negotiate more quickly, and require employers to disclose more about using anti-union consultants. Workers are striking more in 2019 than they have since the 1980s, so we expect the union conversation to get louder in the near future.

Workplace Immigration

In the effort to widen the talent pool and close the skills gap, many companies are looking to other countries to help fill positions. With the low unemployment rates, going overseas to bring in skilled talent is a popular option to compensate for the short supply of workers. H-1B visas are difficult for start-up companies to sponsor, so expect to see tech companies seeking revisions in the visa policies.

2019 has been a busy year for the HR industry, with no signs of slowing in the years to come. ClearCompany has the tools to help your company stay on top of the latest HR trends and take your talent to the next level through innovation and forward-thinking HR strategies. Reach out to us today to learn how our talent management platform can help create a modern workplace for your organization.

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Meredith Wholley
Meredith Wholley
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As a Marketing and Event Manager, Meredith coordinates best-practice content and brand-awareness events for ClearCompany. With her career in HR tech, Meredith works closely with HR practitioners and is passionate about providing them with the tools and information they need to succeed.

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