47 percent of HR leaders cite employee retention as their top workforce management problem. But employee retention rates aren't the only challenge the HR industry faces in the next few years.

New technologies mean the entire industry is changing. We're struggling to keep up. Automation, business efficiency and flexible working are some of the benefits. But, this has also meant some problems are exacerbated, like a lack of team-work, a struggle to find strong candidates and even mental health issues.

Here are our top five HR predictions for the rest of 2019 and into 2020, and what you can do to keep up.

1.     A focus on team-based work and transparent communication

In 2019, HR leaders need to figure out how to hold on to team-centric work, and how to implement better tools that keep communication at the heart of the business. Project management tools like Basecamp and team communication tools like Slack are a step in the right direction, but chances are, big organisations will need to build something tailored to how they work.

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The cumulative productivity losses resulting from communications barriers is £19,666 per worker, per year. Figuring out how to save this money will be a big priority this year.

2.   We’ll be trying to manage a multi-generational workforce

Baby boomers, millennials and now Generation Z-ers will be working together side-by-side. With an ageing population, the workforce has become more multi-generational, and each generation will want their voice heard. For a business, this could cause some real problems, so you must work out how to manage a modern and diversified workforce.

In big organisations, HR teams will split their focus into the management of each generational workforce. That way, employers can manage expectations, workloads and employee priorities for each group. Chances are, this tactic will result in higher employee retention rates. 

3.   Personalisation, personalisation, personalisation

Personalisation is a priority in customer-facing areas of a business. In 2019 and 2020, we’ll see more employee personalisation. Work is now a lifestyle, not a clock-in and clock-out money-maker. Consequently, HR departments will become more attentive to individual needs, so that they can maximise both efficiency for the business and productivity for the employee. 

4.   Employee wellbeing will be of critical importance

In the United States alone, only 41 percent of people who have mental health disorders receive professional help and care. In 2019, we’ll see a bigger focus on mental health, and expert treatment will come as part of a benefits package.

Mental health is a prevalent issue not just in the United States, but across the globe. And, as the workplace shifts into a lifestyle-focused environment, employee wellbeing will be recognised as critical for achieving good, sustainable work from employees. 

5.   We’ll be using data regularly to analyse people

We use data in every other avenue of business to make processes more cost-effective and efficient. In 2019, we’ll see more of this in HR departments. Employees will become the subject of A/B testing, data experimenting and surveying, and it’s no bad thing.

Take SAP’s $8 billion USD investment in Qualtrics, for example. What started as a small survey company has quickly turned into a platform that can analyse and operationalise ‘experience data’ from employees (and customers). 

Employee experience affects brand reputation

Today’s HR landscape is all about accountability. Because of a rise in competition and more transient job roles, it’s imperative for employers to treat their employees well and to prove it to the rest of the world. 

The days of monopolies and oligopolies are almost over. Competition is rife. The biggest strength an employer has in 2019 and 2020, then, is to turn their employees into brand advocates who help promote their business. We have raised our expectations, and employee experience does impact brand reputation. When all is said and done, it’s your brand reputation that’ll attract the best talent and the most invested customers.

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