8 Trends In Human Capital To Adopt In 2020

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8 Trends In Human Capital To Adopt In 2020

By Cate Patricolo | January 7, 2020

As the organizational landscape evolves due to emerging technologies, shifts in societal expectations, globalization and economic uncertainties, business leaders must prepare for their current and future workforce. In 2020 and beyond, social enterprise is increasingly becoming a key topic of conversation in and out of the boardroom. And, leaders in the human capital space must be at the forefront of what’s to come as candidates, more than ever, are considering more than purely financial gains when contemplating a move. Read on to discover eight human capital trends to consider adopting in 2020.

Corporations as Good Citizens

2020 marks a pivotal year, as the most competitive companies in every industry, are distancing themselves from the stigma of the word ‘corporation’. Socially conscious business models, in the form of social enterprise, conscious capitalism, B-Corp certification, Benefit Corporation certification, Fair Trade certification, etc., are becoming more widely recognized and are incredibly well-received by clients and the public. For the human capital market, candidates will be looking specifically to see how a company is giving back and how the company’s core value system meshes with their own. Companies will, in addition to evaluating hard skills and standard soft skills like communication, be looking at how well the candidate is motivated by the company’s mission and values.

AI and Machine Learning

Despite alarmist predictions of AI doing away with the need for human workers, artificial intelligence will be implemented at record levels in 2020. The goal is not to supersede human talent, but to augment it. While that means many jobs will be shifting to more data-driven decision making, it also means many repetitive tasks will be automated, freeing employees to focus on more creative and interesting endeavors. Knowing how to work with AI, as well as sharpening human skills such as problem-solving, analysis, communication and design, will be necessary for job seekers; employers will need to be mindful of how AI programs will impact current and future positions with the company.

See: “CEO Q&A: AI in HR – How AI Is Disrupting Recruitment”


Flexible Work Arrangements

The alternative workforce, which includes the so-called gig economy, was once seen as the only way for people to add flexibility to their schedule, by getting paid by the task or contract instead of by the hour. With over 42 million self-employed workers in the US projected for 2020, companies are now reaching out to them to find talent – and are increasingly willing to meet their needs for flexibility. Companies will now consider paying contractors for jobs either directly or via contractor websites such as Fiverr and Upwork. They also hire people with flexible scheduling, work-from-home options, and performance-based pay schedules (as opposed to time-based pay schedules).

While new challenges arise with hiring freelance workers, companies do save on benefits and on overhead costs like additional space and desks. On the flip side, candidates wishing to work with a company while remaining independent will increasingly sign contracts that distance them from having set hours or locations like an employee.

Creative Human Resource Solutions

A full 67% of companies with at least 250 employees are struggling to find qualified candidates, and over 45% of companies with fewer than 250 employees are struggling as well. This makes the competition for talent fierce, with HR and Talent Acquisition teams in 2020 going above and beyond to attract the talent they need in creative ways. Companies are turning to professional job description writers, recruitment marketing firms, hosting elaborate career fairs and networking events, leveraging AI technology, and offering mentoring to cultivate a future talent pool. Even companies opting to outsource talent acquisition to high-end recruiting and headhunting firms such as GQR are taking strategic steps to retain talent like offering wellness benefits, family planning benefits, pet insurance, flexible scheduling, paid training, financial wellness programs, student loan debt repayment programs, or company equity.

Subconscious Bias Elimination

Even in 2020, companies are still struggling with low levels of diversity, and are working harder than ever to move forward. The latest trend: Eliminating subconscious bias in talent recruitment and hiring. Subconscious bias is not overt discrimination, but rather, a level of bias that results in a candidate of a different gender or background being considered lower quality. For example, a hiring manager may see that a candidate attended a high school in a less economically privileged area and subconsciously believe that makes the candidate less well-educated, even if higher education and job experience prove otherwise. Or, a hiring manager might encounter a foreign-sounding name and subconsciously believe that the candidate would not speak English well.

The good news here is that AI can be very strategic in removing language that triggers subconscious bias, helping recruiters and talent acquisition managers evaluate candidates solely on merit and cultural fit. GQR recruitment consultants have successfully placed hundreds of candidates in historically non-diverse companies and industries through subconscious bias elimination.

Cultures of Belonging

Diversity, equity and inclusion are very important and remain a core trend for recruiting talent. But after hiring from the human capital market, companies are taking on an additional responsibility: A diverse workplace that is not splintered and segmented, but rather gives all employees a sense of belonging. Particularly with employees relocating for work and increasingly working in teams (a continuing trend for 2020), feeling like they fit in with the culture is very important. Study after study shows that belonging increases productivity, incites creativity, and gives employees a true sense of job satisfaction that lowers turnover. Organizations are even moving past looking at belonging as part of employee experience and looking at it as a human experience that puts meaning back into work.

Candidate Branding

Companies have increasingly branded themselves externally and worked to cultivate an internal brand through company culture. Now, candidates are branding themselves as well, going beyond showcasing their skillsets to also showcasing personality traits like what motivates them about their work, their learning style and what kind of collaborator they are. One author even refers to branded individuals as ‘brandividuals’. Candidates may also choose to brand themselves in socially conscious ways, wanting to align their values with the company they work for or at least be free to have their own beliefs.

A great way to develop your own brand as a professional is to take work-focused discovery quizzes and keep up to date with bigger personality tests such as Meyers-Briggs or Strengths Finder. GQR.ai offers a robust motivational assessment to help you get started!

Learning & Development

Learning and development is vital in the workplace, and GQR knows it: The Association for Talent Development (ATD) selected GQR as its 2019 Excellence in Practice Award winner for its Onboarding: Learning & Development Foundation Program. It is not just us, though: Eighty-six percent of respondents to Deloitte’s 2020 HR Trends survey rated L&D as important or very important. Reskilling and upskilling are vital, as organizations re-design jobs and struggle to retain talent. Integrating learning into the workflow, making it personal, and offering incentives are some of the ways companies can start running successful L&D programs.


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