New year, new goals: 7 HR trends to tackle in 2019

HR, human resources, executives

With the emergence of a tight labor market and a focus on preventing sexual harassment, HR pros had their hands full in 2018. 
But with a new year comes new goals for employers to focus on, so buckle up.

What to accomplish in 2019

There’s no telling what challenges the new year will bring, but here are seven areas savvy HR pros will be keeping top of mind in 2019, as they’re likely to shape the workplace this year.
1. Even more emphasis on retention. If you thought 2018 was a hiring manager’s nightmare, unfortunately there won’t be much relief in 2019. With unemployment still low, candidates are free to job hop fairly easily, leaving employers with a high turnover problem.
To attract and retain the best talent, companies are focusing on improving the employee experience. This could include amping up company culture and offering new training, which requires a prepared HR department.
2. Adapting to change. Over 80% of C-Suite executives surveyed by Forbes reported agility as the most important characteristic of a successful business for this year.
Really, what this means is HR pros should be willing to go with the flow in 2019. To tackle skills gaps and other challenges, you may need to shuffle employees around or look into temporary help.
3. Focusing on company brand. More information on your company is readily available to applicants than ever before. And these days, candidates do as much research on you as you do on them.
Job seekers care about more than salary and benefits; they want to see potential employers as “institutions of trust,” looking into advertising campaigns and public communications. Strong reputations and morals hold a lot of stock.
4. Embracing multiple worksites. The fact is, with all the technology available now, work can be done almost anywhere. Companies are increasingly ditching the traditional nine to five, in-office schedule and electing for more flexibility.
That makes this year an ideal time to take stock of where your team works. How many employees work from home? Do you have multiple worksites that communicate every day? The goal is to allow everyone to mesh seamlessly, regardless of where they’re working from.
5. Considering wage growth. Currently, many employers are hesitant to bump up salaries, but some are taking the step to set themselves apart from the competition. You’ll certainly be noticing candidates looking for top offers.
And a bump in pay isn’t the only strategy employers are implementing. This year, companies will be offering perks like new, unique benefits and more vacation time – all to compete for top talent.
6. Pushing for more company diversity. Closing the pay gap was a big topic in 2018, but this year will take diversity and inclusion efforts a step further. One focus will be on increasing female and minority representation in the C-Suite.
Fewer than 5% of last year’s Fortune 500 CEOs were female. Many believe diversifying boards will have a trickle-down effect, leading to more diverse hires throughout the company.
7. Training to fill skill gaps. With more open positions than candidates to fill them, many employers are hiring candidates without certain skills, with the intention of training them on the job.
There’s also an increasing number of people re-entering the workforce after many years who will need to get up to speed.
Apart from added training for employees, many employers are focusing on more coaching in general, with regular performance feedback becoming the norm.

Rachel Mucha
Rachel writes about Human Resource management and has been a member of the HRMorning staff since 2017. She is a graduate of Ithaca College. Email: