2018 has come to a close, and now employers are looking to the future and creating or adjusting workforce management strategies for the year ahead. Here are some HR trends and changes that experts predict will play a role in workforce management and human resources in 2019:
1. Incorporating virtual reality into sexual harassment training: A 2016 report from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that up to 85% of women have experienced some form of sexual harassment at work, but a majority of corporate sexual harassment prevention training has not actually prevented harassment. Traditionally, sexual harassment training has taken place through computer-based training (CBT) or in-person PowerPoint-style presentations. In an effort to improve the effectiveness of sexual harassment training, some companies are moving to deploy virtual reality in order to provide a more immersive, realistic training experience. One company providing this emerging technology is Vantage Point. The goal of these VR training experiences is to allow those being trained to learn under the same conditions that they would be under should the situation occur in real life. We have already seen some companies incorporating VR into general training, and in 2019 that number will rise, with a specific focus on sexual harassment training.
2. Engaging remote workers: A 2017 Flexjobs survey found that 3.9 million U.S. employees, or 2.9% of the total U.S. workforce, work from home at least half of the time. Job seekers are very attracted to the option of working remotely, so more and more employers are offering it. That being said, with more workers being remote, it has become more difficult for some companies to have a strong sense of company culture. This lack of company culture can contribute to a decrease in employee engagement and connectivity, which can lead to lower productivity and performance. Now that more employers are accepting that remote work is becoming a new norm, they are grappling with that reality and its effects. 2019 will find employers looking to incorporate new and creative ways to keep remote workers engaged.
3. Expanding corporate wellness initiatives:Employers know that offering a good benefits package is a key component of attracting and retaining employees. In 2019, the umbrella of what is expected from employers will continue to expand beyond basic healthcare benefits to include financial and mental wellness benefits. According to a 2018 Employee Financial Wellness Survey from PWC, 47% of employees report that they are stressed dealing with their financial situation. This can lead to a decrease in productivity, so employers are moving to address this issue. A 2018 Prudential survey found that a significant majority of employers (83%) offer financial wellness programs and another 14% plan to offer them in the next one or two years. In addition, the World Health Organization has stated that the estimated cost of mental illness to the global economy is US$ 1 trillion per year in lost productivity. In order to address this, employers are making moves to increase mental health benefits, such as starting an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), choosing insurance plans that include mental health benefits, incorporating mental health education and resources in the office, and more.
4. Increasing diversity through technology:Over the past few years, there has been a large increase in the conversation surrounding diversity in the workplace, and companies are slowly starting to realize that it needs to become a priority. A 2015 McKinsey study found that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity were 35% more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians. In 2017, Forbes shared 70+ companiesthat published gender diversity targets. 2019 will be the year that efforts to increase diversity in the workforce will become more widespread through the adoption of technology and tools to reduce bias during the hiring process. These tools, like one called SeekOut, will offer features such as diversity filtering, to ensure a more diverse pool of candidates, and blind hiring mode, to highlight job skills and experience first and foremost.
5. Improving candidate experience and hiring accuracy:The latest Global Recruiting Survey from Social Talent found the average recruiter sourced 225 candidates for a single hire, an overall conversion rate of 0.4%. That being said, job seekers are becoming increasingly frustrated with the candidate experience. In order to differentiate and save money and resources, companies will place a lot more focus on improving the candidate experiencein 2019. Technology will introduce more creative ways of doing so, such as incorporating the use of recruitment chatbots. Companies will also begin to adopt more technology that can improve hiring accuracy with tools that use AI or smart automation to sift through large pools of applicants to identify the strongest candidates for a job.
With all of these changes taking shape in 2019, it is critical for business owners to invest time and resources to prepare for them. Doing so, however, can detract from the other functions of the business that help it to grow. Luckily, business owners do not need to become bogged down the burden of keeping up with HR and workforce trends. By partnering with Navigate, business owners can instead remain focused on the other day-to-day functions of the business that generate revenue and create growth.
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Tom DiSilva has been providing professional human resource services for over 30 years. As the CEO of Navigate PEO, he actively partners with organizations of all sizes in the Greater New England area and across the country to help their businesses grow. He has expertise in HR and Labor Management, offering guidance and support for key areas of business such as negotiations, operations management, employee coaching, and employee benefits design.