HR Management & Compliance

2019 Trends: What to Expect in the Year Ahead

2019 is quickly approaching, and with it comes the predictions of what organizations can expect for the following year. So what will 2019 have in store?

trends

Source: Rasica / iStock / Getty Images

There will be a shift in the economies, a number of generational changes, an overwhelming increase in HR tech vendors to compete with, and additional work with artificial intelligence (AI).

Here, we’ll cover our top three predictions for the 2019 workforce, and in a follow-up article, we’ll cover four more trends to expect in 2019.

Rise of HR

The long-anticipated rise of HR is coming, and we think we know why. After decades of employers’ being the primary determinant of who receives a position and who doesn’t, companies are faced with a talent shortage and increasingly frustrating retention issues.

Rather than being a cost center, HR is now a driver of people strategy. HR will finally have a strategic seat at the executive table and be able to provide a better view on how to increase the performance of the workforce.

Why? The advancement of technology, workforce analytics, and business intelligence reporting will provide a holistic view of what truly drives an organization and enable HR to fine-tune the organization to meet business objectives.

Aligning talent with strategy has long been a catchphrase for many vendors, but HR practitioners are starting to see they truly have a direct impact on talent development and the opportunity to use data to better the organization.

From Discovery to Audit in AI

While AI has been on everyone’s lips in 2018, in 2019, we predict we’ll move past just conversations and chatbots and into true AI and machine learning (ML). Implementation and the audit of the tools already in use at many companies will be the main drivers for this shift (as well as the natural increasing sophistication of technology in its second, third, and fourth iterations, which is where AI and ML are currently in the HR tech landscape).

Before 2018, the industry experienced application development and implementation of ML and AI. In 2019, we will see additional work within auditing, regulation, and general use case guidance. The next era will be focused on questions about how to best implement, monitor/audit, and regulate the use of AI/ML.

For example, many talent acquisition teams began implementing AI in the form of automation and chatbots, but Amazon famously shut down its proprietary AI when it discovered it was exhibiting biased behavior. This was a canary in the coal mine for other HR practitioners testing AI within their talent acquisition and management functions to keep a closer eye on their new tools as use cases are still being written.

Gender Shift in Sales and Leadership

Only 39% of sales professionals are women. Talent shortages will require a shift to include more women in sales roles. There are a myriad of reasons for this shift.

  • Both B2B and B2C buyers have gotten progressively younger, and a female salesperson no longer has any connotation, negative or otherwise.
  • With the prevalence of inbound marketing, the line between sales and marketing has been blurred, and sales no longer requires the aggressive stance long associated with it and with male salespeople, opening up sales positions that both appeal to more female candidates and play to strengths that weren’t previously valued in a sales role.
  • Women are now the primary holders of university degrees, which makes them eligible for many roles and an untapped talent pool.

Organizations will target recruitment to include a diverse population of candidates who are hired based on potential rather than experience. This will require a focus on quickly onboarding sales professionals, providing targeted sales training and inclusive training programs that appeal to men and women.

This will impact the traditional, male-dominated sales training currently offered in the marketplace and further refine the role of consultative sales professionals. Business intelligence reporting will enable HR professionals to assess and develop skills of sales professionals.

But women won’t just be moving into sales positions. Legislation and advocacy groups are pushing for more equal representation of women in leadership roles. The inclusion of women will continue to be a hot topic in 2019. California is leading the charge by requiring 40% of board members to be women by the end of 2021 and one woman to be on every board by close of 2019.

In tomorrow’s post, we’ll look at the remaining four trends you should expect in 2019.

As the SVP of Marketing and Commercialization for Caliper, Heather Ishikawa leverages her strong background in marketing, sales, product development, and human capital management to deploy products and services that address talent management issues.