It’s the end of another year. For many people, this is a time to reflect on the previous 12 months and to look ahead at what might be coming soon. In the HR world, we’re no different. Let’s take a look at some HR trends for 2019 that we’re likely to see in US workplaces.
Top 5 HR Trends for 2019
1. Renewed Focus on Employee Wellness
Employee wellness has been on trend for years, but expect to see some high-tech changes in 2019. As a concept, wellness is all about making sure that your staff is healthy, both physically and mentally. In the coming year, that concept will become smarter and more personalized.
Companies who offer wellness programs often use portals as an employee interface. In 2019, more of those portals will show customized wellness messages and program offerings. Portals will also begin to include social recognition components, such as posting, sharing, and commenting. The social component should encourage people to increase participation in their wellness programs and challenge each other to meet goals.
In fact, many HR professionals rank mental health as a bigger priority than physical health for the first time this year.
A major challenge for companies everywhere is employee burnout, and poor work-life balance due to stress and long hours. That’s why the world of HR is looking at a renewed focus on mental health for their 2019 wellness offerings. In fact, many HR professionals rank mental health as a bigger priority than physical health for the first time this year. Mental health problems contribute to a multitude of HR issues including employee engagement, retention, and burnout. Expect to see more wellness offerings and employee assistance programs that prioritize mental health.
2. Employee Engagement
It’s always been important for organizations to keep their employees engaged. But recently there’s been even more interest in improving in this area. Organizations with great employee engagement are more productive and profitable than their competitors, and they post higher than average returns. What’s more, disengaged employees are costing companies in a big way. For each disengaged worker employed, your company loses $2,246 per year.
For each disengaged worker employed, your company loses $2,246 per year.
In 2019, expect to see a focus on employee experience and professional development to increase engagement. Why? More companies are noticing a relationship between employee experience and customer experience. In order for the customer to have a good experience with your company, the person servicing the customer must have efficient and positive experiences with back-end systems.
Employee engagement is also improved when companies offer professional development, rewards and recognition, and team building experiences. Expect to see these things emerge as top HR trends for 2019.
3. Diversity and Inclusion
Many studies have confirmed that diversity and inclusion have a positive impact on employee performance. Teams of diverse employees are not only more engaged, but they’re also more creative and innovative as well.
Although many industries have employed diversity improvement practices for decades, we never seem to quite make it to a fully inclusive and equitable workforce. However, there is reason to hope that 2019 will bring us closer to that goal.
We predict that in 2019, organizations will implement new initiatives to help recruit and advance women leaders. Expect to see more women on executive boards, as well as mentoring and sponsorship programs.
We also predict that diversity initiatives will move beyond basic racial, ethnic, and sex demographics to address subtle and unconscious biases as well. These conversations will be essential to recruitment, retention, and employee engagement. And of course, none of this can happen without working towards closing the wage gap, both gender and otherwise.
4. Increased Focus on Compliance
Another one of the top HR trends for 2019 will be an increased focus on compliance. Preparing for the future of federal regulation compliance will be a challenge for every employer. The fate of the Affordable Care Act is uncertain, as multiple challenges and rule changes have been proposed, defeated, or passed. Many employers are confused about federal laws on marijuana use in light of changes to state laws. And recent changes to immigration law have caused employers to worry about hiring workers on visas.
Because these laws are likely to change even more in 2019, the best course of action for employers is to be vigilant in monitoring regulations and compliance issues. If your organization is small and without a dedicated HR department, you might want to consider outsourcing compliance to an HR provider like Zenefits.
5. Hot New Perks and Benefits
All workers want to feel supported by their employers. One of the best ways for employers to communicate that support is through a stellar benefits package. Perks like maternity leave, PTO, and retirement accounts are great, but employers will need to do more to recruit top talent. In 2019, expect to see some unique benefits that address the very real needs of today’s employees.
What are these hot new perks? We predict a rise in:
- Voluntary benefits: Employees cover the cost, but these benefits make it easy to sign up for specialty insurance products, like life, accident, disability, and critical illness insurance.
- Student loan assistance: Due to the rising cost of tuition, many younger employees have difficulty paying off student loans. Employers are responding with payoff help in exchange for years of service.Flexible scheduling and telecommuting: The Millennial generation, in particular, values the ability to work more convenient hours from home or a local coffee shop. Expect to see more employers accommodating those wishes.Technology: More employers will offer their teams personal iPads, laptops, and other technology to use at home. Parental benefits: Many employers have offered paid maternity leave for decades. Some have offered paid paternity leave as well. But one of the HR trends for 2019 will be to expand these offerings with more time off and flexible scheduling for parents. Some companies may also offer child care, fertility, and adoption benefits.
We may not be able to totally see the future, but as HR experts and trend-watchers, we’re reasonably confident that we’ll see these HR challenges and trends in 2019. Will your organization capitalize on any of these trends?