Three trends for 2019

trendsI am no clairvoyant. As much as I’d like to say I know how 2019 will turn out, it might very well chart a course unpredicted. However, there are signs of what is to come and then there is hope that HR pros follow these signs. I sat by the beach over the last week of 2018 wondering what are the three things I’d like to see done differently this year. Three things that will make the world of HR better. Three things that aren’t radically different but take birth from trends over the past few years.

  1. Diversity becomes more than just gender: We’ve been fighting the easier fight. I don’t say easy because even though we’ve tried and are trying, gender diversity at the workplace is still far from where it should be. However, we’ve made more headway in this space that we have in any other. When it comes to differently abled, for example, we’ve hardly even begun. Diversity is not Corporate Social Responsibility. To serve customers effectively, the workplace needs to be a true representation of the customer base. Even if the customer base is a select elite list, organizations will still benefit from diversity of thought as evidenced by innumerable inventions across the world. Some touted 2018 as the year of the woman; I’d like 2019 to be a little more inclusive.
  1. Culture surfaces again: Cultures are built over decades and perish quickly. Organizations are re-learning quickly the importance of culture and the old adage ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’ (I know it’s not that old yet….). 2019 is definitely the year that organization rethink the direction they want to proceed along and how to make it a part of their ‘culture’. With diversity pushing organizations to turn more inclusive, this is as good a time as any to clean house, throw out the values that no longer point us to success and replace them with ones that do. I also reckon many organizations will look to the younger ones for ideas to transform themselves for the new era. Heritage is important but at some point we need to acknowledge that what got us here, won’t get us there. *wink* 
  1. We do something new: Everything an HR pro does, can be done better. We’ve been chasing ‘better’ for a few decades now. I wonder – is 2019 the year we do something gobsmack different? Something that no one can turn around and say – it has all been done before, old book new cover and so on. The profession has been re-labelling existing concepts and calling them ‘disruptive ideas’ for so long that frankly, I am quite tired. I would really like us to do something truly disruptive in 2019 or throw out the word altogether. With the rise of HR Innovation Labs within organizations, maybe we will come up with something truly profound and different this year.

There are of course other spaces that we’ll continue to pursue. Technology, analytics and AI will continue to be areas that the HR fraternity keeps experimenting in and I hope that we make progress there. However, if I were to pick just three things that I’d like to see a big shift in, these are the ones.

I’m curious, what are you looking forward to this year?


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