Workplace Trends in 2020

Published On: December 20, 2019By Categories: Business Management, People at Work, Workforce Development

Make sure you know these as they could aid your business.

By Alexandra Walsh

With 2020 finally in the door, here are a variety of trends human resource experts are predicting will begin or continue to impact workplaces around the country this year.

The list is presented in alphabetical order.

Automation and Artificial Intelligence

The use of automation and artificial intelligence in human resources can change the way companies hire new employees by becoming more discoverable through keyword matches in search engines.

Companies will be able to hire more productive employees through a series of tests they can conduct using applicant tracking systems.

AI, artificial intelligence, might be in vogue but many human resource professionals still recommend looking in your network and not on job boards. Employees hired through referral are hired 55% faster than those who come through a career site. They also stay longer and have greater job satisfaction.

Continuous Performance Management

Performance reviews used to be a once-a-year occurrence that determined an employee’s annual raise.

As jobs continue to become more autonomous and decisions get made from the bottom up, companies are realizing one-on-one meetings between manager and employee help move projects along faster.

Management shouldn’t be a bottleneck but an enabler. As such, the trend is toward managers conducting one-on-one meetings every week or every two weeks in order to prevent bottlenecks from happening.

Employee Engagement

The level of an employee’s commitment, involvement, and emotional connection to their company describes employee engagement. Every employee desires to be valued for their hard work and dedication. The hard work and commitment of employees can result in a continuous enthusiasm and willingness to contribute to the growth of the company.

Those responsible at the company for human resources should always focus on making sure employees feel valued around their coworkers and while doing their job. Ensuring employees feel valued can improve performance and productivity and can increase employee retention.

Environmental Consciousness

There has been a tendency to believe reducing carbon footprints was the domain of only large companies. The truth is, businesses of all kinds can make an impact.

Company leaders can dictate human behavior to some degree and encourage recycling, turning off unnecessary lights, conserving water, limiting commutes, and incentivizing ridesharing or public transportation.

Gig Economy

A gig economy is a free market system in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers (freelancers, temporary employment contractors) for short-term engagements.

This segment of the workforce is quickly growing. For a long time, this arrangement has been supplementary to full-time jobs, but that is no longer the case. This segment is becoming more mainstream and is also influencing people working remotely.

Human Resource Analytics

HR analytics uses a data-driven approach allowing those charged with human resources to collect better data to allow them to analyze, understand, and make use of the collected data to execute objective-based decisions instead of relying on judgments or intuitions.

Companies have to be open about using HR analytics to have complete control of the information and statistics of the company. Having full control of the company’s information and statistics can help identify situations or areas that are facing a problem to help find better solutions.

For instance, analyzing the metrics of resignation rates can help identify why there is an increase in that particular metric. The company can then look at the metrics connected to the resignation rates such as promotions, performance, engagement, and pay increases.

This lets the company know what’s going wrong and what can be improved to fix it.

Using this data can also help to make less biased hiring decisions, reduce adverse impact, and promote employees with a higher likelihood of company loyalty.

Incentivized Healthcare

Companies are seeing the value in leveraging healthcare to both lure talent and streamline a costly expense.

Companies that encourage their workforce to be healthy showed lower rates of absenteeism and turnover and showed higher rates of  engagement and productivity.

Integrated well-being and whole-health programs can include anything from healthy snacks in the kitchen area to thoughtful lighting and measures to reduce noise.

Internal Communications

Employees continue to seek more real-time information that impacts how they work.

This means fewer company-wide emails and more scrum-style meetings with specific job-related updates or digital communications that meet employees where they are—whether that is at home, in a vehicle, or in the field.

Mental Health Awareness

Satisfied employees typically perform better and companies are learning that mental health is a big part of performance.

There is not much satisfaction in an employee feeling miserable in their job position. Making mental health resources available on the worksite is a good first step.

On the Job Training

New employees used to take the first day or the first week learning about the company before they could actually perform the job.

Employees in 2020, regardless of their job function, will be expected to get hands-on as soon as possible, putting additional pressure on management or HR to get new hires onboarded as fast as possible.

Possible avenues for on the job training include gamification, virtual reality, and augmented reality.

Schedule Flexibility

The newest generation of employees value flexibility in their scheduling. Getting the best out of workers requires some understanding of what motivates them and what puts them in the best positions to succeed.

Accountability remains a critical element to management, but unconventional methods can also achieve it.

Shrinking and Outsourced HR

The number of jobs in HR will decrease as the level of automation increases.

For example, the work that talent sourcers used to do is now being performed by search engines and applicant tracking systems. Their role has been automated now to a simple software purchase.

Similarly, the need for customized, flexible, by-the-hour, outsourced HR solutions has risen sharply.

Training Resources

The best way to get everyone on the same page is quality training. There have never been more training resources available to the employer who can now personalize them for their employees.

As we know, not everyone learns the same way, which makes personalized training resources an intriguing trend in 2020.

If businesses can maximize the performance of once marginalized learning styles, they can tap into a market inefficiency.


Knowing 2020 trends and implementing the ones that apply most to your business can lead to a more positive work environment and potentially impact revenue.

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Alexandra Walsh is the vice president of Association Vision, a Washington, D.C.–area communications company. She has extensive experience in management positions with a range of organizations.

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