19 DECEMBER 2019


As we are on the threshold of another year passing by, it’s a good time to take stock of where we are and where the current trends could lead us to, in relation to human resources. We have seen working styles, roles and work environments change a lot. With technological changes being at its rampant best, It is interesting to see how workplaces could be impacted in 2020 and beyond.

The four biggest trends that could impact human resources are Technology, Workplaces, Policies and the Workforce. Let’s delve deeper in these areas to better understand and to build capabilities to tide over and work around these areas to make life at work more meaningful for the workforce, just as much for human resource professionals as well.


Fast-paced technological changes are impacting the way we conduct ourselves at work. We have moved on from attendance registers to proximity ID cards or bio-metric readers. However, the world is moving towards capturing physical or remote presence at work through facial recognition. What makes it further advanced, is that moods are captured and is one of the modern tools being used to measure instant employee experiences and not just attendance. Further, geo-fencing is becoming popular, especially with more employees working from remote or multiple facilities. Likewise, Chatbots and Robotic Process Automation (RPA) could help in reducing workloads especially in tactical tasks and in areas of voluminous transactions.


What we have witnessed in recent times is the concept of virtual offices mushrooming in a big way. This has become more possible with new cloud-based tools that help projects to be collaborated and completed in a virtual manner. The world has never seen such rapid changes – be it technology, tools or human behaviours and hence Gig economy is the future for sure! Everything we do is different and how we accomplish it also has changed. For example, the process for holiday plans, booking and actual travel – earlier would have been through a travel agent but today it is completed on a 6” smart phone sitting right in your pocket. Likewise, skill-sets, job requirements, etc are changing and hence having short-term workers, project workers, freelancers and a contingent workforce will add more flexibility to the employer and the employee. The challenge then for human resource professionals would be to make a choice between loyalty or employability

People policies:

Effective organisations always have their people policies and practices aligned to current market changes and trends. The top three trends that I personally see would be: more emphasis on social recruiting, rating-less appraisals and thirdly, blended and online learning. Social recruiting will see a paradigm shift – where the sources wouldn’t be from conventional social networking platforms alone, but from any other service providers as well. Future databases could also come from food delivery organisations, online shopping platforms, cab operators and more. In essence, anyone who has the customer’s data will be potential databases to be tapped by organisations. The main reason being that such databases will not only provide past data of the candidate but also other current trends of the candidate which may be of great essence to the hiring organisation – Law permitting! With no ratings in appraisals and with the advent of online learning tools, human resource professionals will be challenged to notch up their skills especially in consulting and handling relationships.


With people demographics having changed a lot compared to that of the 90’s, it is but natural to see human behaviour at work, also change. With millennials taking center-stage in talent pools of developing countries and in some developed economies as well, human resource professionals would need to gear up to ‘quick’ decision-making systems and ‘instant feedback’ mechanisms, having roles that are considered ‘meaningful’ at work, high ‘empowerment’ and customized well-being programs.

The transformed HR Professional:

To partner in an environment which is dynamic, the modern human resource professional would need to be akin to that of an athlete – nimble, agile and one who adapts to change on the go.

Future trends suggest that the following skills may be required:

1. Being a strategic business partner, being involved in the center of business with bottom-line focus.

2. Being analytical and use technology to the fullest with trends and predictive analysis.

3. Being an ‘integrated’ and not ‘isolated’ HR professional.

Given the changes and challenges posed for 2020 and beyond, the main focus should be on Integrity, Strategic thinking and having an Analytical mindset. Whatever the future may hold, human resource professionals would need to further enhance their emotional touch, as with natural intelligence...there's nothing artificial about it !

This article is written by Willis Langford. An unbiased, result driven & passionate HR professional who has a flair for technology and keen interest in making this world a better place with a zest for life.