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McLean & Company Releases 2020 HR Trends Report

January 23, 2020

By Kevin Marrs, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

ASE’s partner, McLean & Company, has released the ASE edition of its 2020 HR Trends Report.  This report highlights ways traditional HR practices and assumptions are being challenged as we transition into this new decade.

The report identified six over-arching themes that are reshaping HR: 

  • The lack of “HR for HR” – The demands on the average HR professional are growing.  Every year HR is tasked with doing more with less.  In fact, nearly 80% of ASE respondents cited “Lack of Time” as the most common on-the-job stressor.  The most common tactics to manage that stress were to dedicate time to focus or to be alone at work (47%) and/or seek support from HR peers (44%).

  • Evolving HR design – As the nature of work changes, so too does the role and function of HR.  Importantly, research has shown that organizational outcomes improve when HR is involved in strategic planning and decisions about the workforce.  However, results from the survey reveal that fewer than 40% of HR departments consider themselves a full partner in organizational strategy.

  • The rise of talent management in agile organizations – In their report, McLean & Company argues that building increased agility into talent management programs is the key to meeting employee expectations and organizational needs.  However, the data from this year’s survey shows that the agile organization is emerging slowly.  For example, on a national basis, fewer than 20% of organizations are proficient in the competencies that will be required to be successful in the future, such as Agile (or Scrum), design thinking, change management, and emotional intelligence.

  • Reskilling in the age of digital disruption –   On a national basis, just 10% of organizations have fully implemented new agile ways of working and 30% of HR respondents say their department is not taking any action to support digital transformation, which is negatively associated with innovation, productivity, and overall organizational performance.

  • Technology and talent acquisition – One area of HR that has benefited from technological advances has been talent acquisition.  However, on a national basis, only 32% of recruiters are leveraging all the capabilities of their talent acquisition technologies.   

  • The move from diversity to inclusion – Organizations are moving the focus from diversity initiatives to driving inclusive practices.  More than half of ASE respondents responded that their organizations maintain a diversity and inclusion strategy.  Nearly half suggest that they embedded inclusive behaviors into values.

Evan Hughes, senior manager, McLean & Company, who leads the annual research effort, said, “As demands on HR departments continue to evolve, our data indicates that the perceived performance of HR continues to decline; the function is not keeping pace with the increased need to maximize the value of their talent. At the same time, the practices and tools available to HR have exploded as new technologies and methodologies are now available. Our research found that organizational outcomes improve when HR is involved in strategic planning and decisions about the workforce, yet one in three HR departments are not involved in the development of organizational strategies and almost 70% of strategic decisions about the workforce are made outside of HR. This tells us that HR needs to participate in strategic conversations from the beginning, to best enable organizations to achieve their goals.”

Survey Methodology: The McLean & Company 2020 HR Trends Report combines insights gathered from more than 800 business leaders and HR professionals across 650 organizations and shares trends and practices that will reshape HR in 2020 and beyond

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