Crystal ball gazing: HR trends in 2020

Posted by | January 28, 2020 | Employers, Recruiting tips

Crystal ball gazing_ HR trends in 2020 Blog header

With the year 2020 now well and truely on our doorstep – and whole new decade ahead of us – I’ve pulled out my crystal ball to see what lies ahead for the future of work and recruiting…. I am a bit new to my role as a fortune teller, so I’d love to hear your predictions and interpretations too in the comments.

So, let’s get started. “Oh great one, what lies ahead for the good people involved in the HR space in the for-purpose sector?”


#1. Social media is key

Surprise, surprise. Organisation’s will increasingly be using social media to find candidates for jobs… bypassing traditional print altogether, and increasingly even online job boards.

We’ll see job adverts on related groups on Facebook, Facebook ads, Instagram and industry-specific groups. And look out for more use of Twitter hashtags to make #jobs more visible to potential candidates.

For nonprofit organisations, social media will reign as a key channel to recruit talented, values-aligned staff and volunteers in 2020 and beyond.

However, I also see patches of darkness. The ethics of using social media to screen candidates is something we are going to have to talk about a lot more, especially in the for-purpose sector.  More on that in our recent blog here.

#2. Niche job sites will rule

I might be a tad biased given that Do Good Jobs is a niche job site… But I do believe it’s true, especially for the for-purpose sector who want to recruit both people who get WHAT they do and WHY. 

Seeking out values-aligned candidates is only going to get more important. When you list through a niche job site, rather than the mass job sites, you reach skilled people – those who fit a certain niche. In the case of Do Good Jobs, that’s values-led candidates.

On the plus side, when you advertise through these sites, you  don’t get inundated with tonnes of unsuitable candidates, it often costs far less, and as a bonus, you are going to be supporting small businesses, and the growth of more custom content (blogs like this) that are targeted to suit your needs as an employer. Win-win!

I have my fingers crossed this holds true for Do Good Jobs as there is so much more we’d like to do!

#3. Job seekers will hold the power

For several years now, those involved in hiring have been enjoying the benefit that comes with cherry-picking their favourite talent. But in the coming years, with unemployment rates hitting the lowest they have been for some time, more power will be put in the hands of the smaller pool of job seekers, which will bring about change in the hiring process. 

Employers beware, you will need to view job seekers (and your existing team of talented staff!) as key customers, rather than the other way round. As a for-purpose organisation, you’ll also need to put your values and mission at the front of your recruiting.

#4. The gig economy will only grow

It is suggested that by 2020, 50% of the total workforce in the United States will become freelance workers, part of the gig economy, or independent contractors.  Wow! Expect to see people increasingly start saying no to the traditional 9 to 5. The next decade is expected to open up more opportunities for project-based, temporary, and even freelance workers. 

On the plus side, for-purpose organisations might see this as a benefit, in that it provides an opportunity to hire skilled and experienced talent for specific projects, on a temporary or freelance basis. 

On the other hand, prospective job seekers and contractors will also be looking to apply to positions that are most compatible with their situations and ideal lifestyle. You’ll need to start thinking of ways to fit your work culture to their needs.

And from the perspective of your current staff, you’ll want to think more about the flexibility you can offer them so that they don’t jump ship in favour of the rapidly growing freelance and gig economy. For-purpose workplaces will need to embrace flexi-hours, the ability to work from home, and maybe even extra paid breaks and perks… Some ideas on how to develop a better work culture can be found here.   

#5. Say hello to VR in HR 

From putting on some VR goggles to take a tour of your future office; see the cause your organisation serves, and be tested for your responses under certain scenarios – VR simulations are on the way for HR.

Virtual reality has already started to play a role in human resources, but expect it to continue to grow. In jobs which require more accurate simulation to access skills, knowledge, experience, and capabilities of prospective job seekers, expect to see VR popping up. 

VR is also set to be the future for onboarding and training new recruits and will also help to reduce the costs of travel expenses, especially if the candidate needs to work in remote locations.

Read more on VR in HR here.

#6. It’s all about reputation 

To attract the appropriate candidates, the year 2020 will see organisations shaping the reputation of their brands to draw the interest of their target job applicants. Job hunters can now so readily look up and learn about organisations, and also increasingly about their reputation as an employer.  

Organisations with negative reputations won’t only see it as a challenge to attract well-skilled candidates, they’ll also have to work hard and put more effort into keeping their current employees.

#7. Automation and Artificial Intelligence

Much of the hiring process will continue to become automated. With an explosion of applicant tracking systems services (ATS) and automation in the past decade, the standard recruiting process will continue to be simplified and refined.

Today with technology like candidate matching, automated candidate sourcing, facial expression analysis and heaps more, there will continue to be inventive uses of AI in recruitment. More for-purpose organisations recruiting big numbers of staff will start investing in some of these tools too. Smaller, smart non-profits will also look out for affordable (sometimes free!) SaaS options to support them too.

As a positive side effect, AI might also help to reduce the unconscious bias that has traditionally taken place in recruiting.  Read more here: How AI is uprooting recruiting

#8. Continuous performance reviews

Once usually restricted to just one a year, the traditional performance review will be revamped. Expect more frequent, and shorter ways of touching base, raising issues and fast-tracking corrections.

Read more about what types of continuous performance management might look like, beyond just an annual review here. 

#9. For-purpose challenges remain

For-purpose organisations always seem plagued with unique challenges and concerns including limited funding, over-reliance on volunteers, legal compliance and regulation, payroll burden and more. Often a result of the inherent nature and structure of the sector. 

I predict many for-purpose organisations will get smarter in the way they are working, invest in systems to get rid of the repetitive, low-value tasks that don’t add value, and enable their staff to invest in professional development which grant makers will increasingly support (remember these days with the quantity of resources online you don’t necessarily need funds for professional development, but you do need to give staff time and support!).

Those that do this, will be the ones that reach higher levels, funds will flow as a result, and they will edge closer to fulfilling their missions. 

Now, this point might be more of MY own vision for the sector…. And one I’ll be focusing on supporting to come true in the coming year and decade! 

Employees that hope to thrive in the coming years will have to keep a tab on the latest developments in the field of human resources to help tap into ideal candidates as a recruiter or hiring manager.  

What does your crystal ball say for the future of HR in your for-purpose organisation? Leave your comments below. 

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