Human Resources: Emerging Trends in 2020

Eric Mochnacz
December 18, 2019

Okay, this may seem a bit self-serving, but it isn’t.  As the demands on Human Resources department grow, it’s incredibly beneficial (and increasingly common) for an organization to utilize a consulting firm to help look at problems and goals with a fresh set of eyes.  The right firm will be adept at identifying organizational blind spots and helping you develop effective and long-term solutions.  

Consider Consulting

Human Resources is an integral part of a successful organization.  However many small and medium-sized businesses are recognizing the need to have a qualified professional guiding their people management strategy, but may not have the financial resources to support a full-time, SHRM certified Human Resources practitioner.  A consulting firm can offer the same level of support and expertise at a more affordable price tag. Consultants can also serve as a key ally to an already-established HR department. If a one-person HR department is juggling employee relations issues, benefits, and payroll, they may not have the bandwidth to bolster their recruiting process, rewrite job descriptions, create a learning and development program or guide managers in the performance development process.  Bringing a skilled consultant on board can be the solution you may need to tackle ambitious growth goals without the spend associated with hiring a full-time Human Resources professional.  

A consultant has the potential to become a trusted advisor, and both of you can leverage that initial engagement into a long-term, mutually beneficial relationship.  They can continue to provide beneficial insight as they now have intimate knowledge of your company. The right consultant for your organization becomes invested in your shared success.  We often say that no one will care about your company as much as you do, but as your consulting firm of choice, we come pretty close.  

Shift to Strategy

It’s time we shatter the dated perception that Human Resources only handles payroll, benefits administration, and workplace investigations.  HR practitioners have been underutilized as strategic partners within companies built on people for far too long— and it’s time they have a seat at the table.  Shifting the perception of HR from paper pusher to strategic people partner is paramount for progress.

Take a deep dive into your HR job descriptions.  Do they read like every other entry-level Human Resources job posted on Indeed?  If you are looking for people operations pioneers, the JD needs to be updated to focus on people strategy first and administration second.  Benefits, payroll, and PTO tracking may still be important to the role, but they shouldn’t be the sole focus if you’re looking to attract qualified candidates who you expect to have the expertise to contribute to the high level conversations that will ultimately guide the company into the future.

Recognize the Reality of Remote

According to FlexJobs, in conjunction with Global Workforce Analytics, based off a special analysis of US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the number of people telecommuting in the US has increased 159% between 2005 and 2017.  Additionally, 4.7 million people in the US telecommute, up from 3.9 million in 2015.  

Remote work is a reality and more and more people are clamoring for jobs that allow them the flexibility they are looking for.  Job seekers want to work for a company that provides them the income to support their family while providing them the freedom to be on the sidelines for the soccer games.  Offering remote work options just doesn’t benefit the employee; it also benefits the employer. According to a 2017 Gallup poll, remote workers can be 20 to 25 percent more productive than their onsite colleagues, and Millennials and Gen X workers (a huge portion of the talent pool) are more likely to sign on with companies that offer remote work.  Failure to even consider allowing your employees to work from home puts any company at a huge disadvantage in a highly competitive labor market.

Companies that have seen success with remote work and flexible scheduling haven’t achieved it without forethought and planning.  In order for remote work to successfully be integrated into an organization, a level of trust and appropriate structures need to be in place so employees are set up to navigate flexible working hours within the company’s expectations.  Managers need to have clearly identified and communicated KPIs to gauge the performance of their teams who work from home. They also need to be skilled at providing comprehensive performance feedback, as there is a tendency to blame poor performance on an employee’s lack of physical presence, rather than addressing the actual issues.  

Better Benefits

Yes, we know employees want the standard medical, dental, and vision but a company can offer other, non-traditional benefits that contribute to a comprehensive, overall benefits package that is appealing to the modern job hunter throughout the hiring process. 

As already mentioned, flexible scheduling is a huge perk that more and more companies are offering.  People want to work for companies who support the holistic employee and put a premium on work-life balance.  There is value for both parties in allowing an employee to work between 11:00 AM and 7:00 PM if that’s when they deliver their best work.  Employees feel more connected and supported at work if they know they can drop their kids off at school without having to worry about being docked hours. This can have a significant impact on your employee’s engagement and can boost your internal employee retention rate. 

Offering generous PTO and actually encouraging employees to use it is another way to attract and retain top talent.  With the continued focus on culture and work-life balance, employees want to know they can be present at work but also be present and experience their lives outside of work.  The introduction of paid sick leave laws led companies to realize the need to increase their annual time off offerings, but there is a benefit in providing paid time off in excess of what the law requires.  Encouraging employees to use their time to refresh and recharge can help guarantee your people are bringing their best selves to work.  

With student loan debt becoming a conversation on a national level, offering education assistance can attract fresh talent right out of college.  Tuition assistance for an advanced degree or student loan repayment would set any company apart from its competitors and demonstrate a commitment to employee financial wellness,education, and development.  Investing in your people is an investment in your organization.

Finally, employees want to have fun at work.  Not every company can be a start up and offer catered lunches every day, but there is value in holding off-site events, theme team lunches, or teambuilding events that allow your people to take some time away from work with their colleagues to enjoy themselves and connect.  

Conquer The Culture Question

In line with the idea of a Taco Tuesday lunch for your team, it’s time for HR leaders to be at the forefront of developing a company and its culture.  Prospective employees want to know that they are accepting a job in an environment where they will be welcomed and can thrive as a person and a professional. When discussing culture, it’s being able to answer the question “What type of company do we want to be?”  Culture should be built out of the company’s core values, and if the company is lacking those, the first step is for HR to help senior leadership identify the values that guide the company and how that translates to the employee experience. Also involving employees in values creation demonstrates the organization appreciates employee input and provides them the opportunity for ownership and investment in building company culture.  

Leverage LinkedIn

LinkedIn isn’t just a site for your digital resume anymore.  More and more, corporations, businesses, and individuals are building their brand through connecting and engaging with other professionals across the globe.  Active LinkedIn users are leveraging the free professional social media network to push out quality content to increase brand awareness. Think about the free advertising your company can get, especially as it relates to employer branding and your recruitment process, through a well coordinated communication plan and content schedule through LinkedIn.  Even better, tons of users offer free advice on getting the most out of your engagement and understanding the LinkedIn algorithm that drives exposure and engagement. Whether it’s data and analytics or website administration, you’ll likely be able to find a post on LinkedIn that can help you gain a more concrete understanding of the topic. Consider some of the paid products to build out your company career page, post jobs, and send inMails to prospects or prospective employees.  



We know the world of work is changing and it’s HR’s responsibility to stay ahead of emerging trends to remain competitive in the market and attract talent that’s going to help the organization reach new heights and stay relevant as the landscape changes. 

As a culture-driven firm, Red Clover has experts who can help your organization remain on trend as you look to build your team and scale your organization.  Need help in standing out in the competitive job market? Are you looking to take the first steps in creating company culture? Do you need support in developing a work from home policy?

A Red Clover consultant can help you navigate these questions and stand out as an organization that is committed to being at the forefront of the people operations.

Written by Eric Mochnacz.

Learn more about Eric and his work on LinkedIn.


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