Top HR Trends for 2019: Technological Convergence and Smarter HR Management

Increasing Use of Technology and Pervasive Influence of Smart HR Management

2019 is upon us and what does it mean for the HR (Human Resource) field? While predictions in the Age of Accelerated Technological Change are sometimes difficult and can go “way off the mark”, nonetheless, there are some general trends that would impact the HR Profession in the year ahead.

For instance, it would certainly be safe to technology would play a far greater role than before as far as the HR profession is concerned.

Already, cutting edge technologies such as AI (Artificial Intelligence) powered Algorithms are replacing HR staff in screening and short listing of resumes apart from administering online tests and other recruitment processes.

In addition, Big Data driven People Analytics software is fast augmenting and even supplanting the HR professionals as far as HR processes such as Performance Appraisals and using the HR Scorecard are concerned.

Moreover, corporates worldwide are focusing on Smart HR Management which is possible only through use of technology.

Thus, the year ahead would see more organizations using advanced technologies as far as the HR Management function is concerned.

This has implications for both the organizations as well as the HR Staff as the former would benefit from saved costs and increased efficiencies whereas the latter might find themselves retrenched or shifted to higher value adding work.

The Persistence of the Importance of the Human Element

Having said that, it is certainly not the case that 2019 would be all about Technology driven HR only.

The importance of the Human Element would continue and even increase in some aspects of HRM.

These include actualizing a workplace free of discrimination and harassment whether it is gender and sexual or racial and other forms of prejudice.

The increasing trend of the #MeToo movement means that HR professionals would have to be on their toes in the year ahead as far as both preventive and punitive aspects are concerned.

Whereas the former would entail the HR managers to Walk the Talk and create a gender and racial prejudice free work culture, the latter would need them to draw upon their innate strength and sensitivity whenever women or racial minorities report violations and cases of harassment and discrimination.

Indeed, in both these aspects, technology can only do that much since these deal with raw human emotions which need personal empathy and understanding.

Moreover, HR managers would also have to deal with the side effects of using too much technology in terms of remote working and virtual teams robbing people of the chance for person to person engagement.

As any HR professional knows, unless there is an engaged workforce, organizational success would take a hit, and hence, one can safely say that 2019 would witness both technology and the human element walking hand in hand with the HR professionals acting as a Bridge.

Labor Market Skewed Towards Employees and What this Means for HR Managers

Another key trend that we predict would have an impact on HRM is the fact that the United States is in the midst of a Long Economic Boom that has resulted in the job market tending towards the workers and professionals rather than the employers.

To explain, recent statistics show that there are more jobs than professionals and hence, the HR managers would really have to be on top of the game so as to not lose out on valuable employees and prospective workers migrating to other organizations.

Indeed, given the fact that the Labor Market in the US is now an employee’s dream come true, they might be prepared to bargain hard with organizations that are interested in hiring them or even retaining them.

Thus, the year ahead would see HR managers needing to bring out their best negotiation skills so that they do not either accept more than what they are prepared to offer and at the same time, do not lose out on key talent which would be an asset to their organizations.

Already there are trends such as ghosting which are basically employees not turning up for work after recruitment or during employment since they have other job offers in hand.

The Challenges and Problems of Multi Generational Workforces

2019 would also be the year in which HR managers would have to confront and contend with the issues and problems arising from Multi Generational Workforces.

To explain, at the moment, most corporates have the older Baby Boomers approaching retirement and the Millennials entering the workforce with the Gen Xers Sandwiched in between.

Thus, each generation of workers would be jockeying for promotions and attractive retirement packages as well as entry level salaries in addition to interpersonal communications issues due to the Generation Gap.

As such it is hard for HR managers to traverse the minefield of having three generations of workers in the workforce who are as different as chalk and cheese.

What compounds the problem further is the fact that while the Boomers never had technology until their mid careers and the Gen Xers till their late teens, the Millennials were literally born with technology and hence, reconciling and making each other adjust to the others would be a real challenge.


As the preceding discussion shows, these are some of the key trends for HR professionals to watch out for in 2019.

Lastly, the impact of the prevailing polarization and divisiveness in society is going to impact the way in the HR function works and the way in which they deal with dissent and conflict in the workplace.

To conclude, we wish the HR professionals a Happy New Year 2019 and hope that they manage all these trends and more with the dexterity and sensitivity which they are expected to display.

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Human Resource Management