Read on for the results of our third annual review of human capital management (HCM) and Human Resource (HR) trends and forecasts where we summarize predictions published by HR thought leaders, consulting firms, and associations between October and February. The focus is on articles looking at the broader HR field. Articles with titles like “10 things in HCM to watch for”, “3 major changes affecting HR”, or “the top 5 talent management trends”. Articles limited to narrowly defined areas are excluded. For example, we do not include predictions from articles with titles like “five major changes coming to employee drug testing”. We then categorize the predictions based on similar themes and concepts.
The first review was completed in 2016 and categorized 131 predictions from 20 articles. We compared the 2016 predictions to a set of predictions made in 2005 to see how much had changed in 10 years. Our conclusion was the general nature of HCM challenges has not changed much over time. This is because HCM is primarily about people, and people do not evolve that quickly. But the relative importance of HCM challenges changes based on labor market and economic conditions. And solutions used to address HCM challenges can be radically changed by advances in technology. For example, companies have always been challenged with talent retention, but the importance of talent retention changes based on the labor market and the methods used to increase retention have changed considerably over time.
The 2017 review categorized 130 predictions and observations from 21 articles. The 2017 review also introduced the “wine bottle index”. This categorizes HCM trends based on whether they address well-established vs. novel challenges (old vs. new wine) and involve use of familiar vs. innovative solutions (old vs. new bottles). This year replicated the 2017 study, but expanded the sample to 199 predictions from 29 articles. Part 1 of this review describes the 2018 categories we identified and the wine bottle index results. Part 2 will reflect how the nature of HCM predictions has evolved over the past three years.
The 2018 study identified 24 categories of predictions. The category “Increased use of AI/Machine Learning” was the most common with predictions on this theme appearing in 79% of the articles. Predictions associated with the next most frequent category, “Greater Staffing Complexity” appeared in 33% of the articles. Approximately 30% of the articles contained predictions associated with the next 7 categories: Increasing HR Analytics, Improving Employee Experience, Transforming Compensation, Growing Legal Challenges, HR Driven Technology Innovation, Performance Management Evolution and Increased Focus on Wellbeing. The rest of the predictions appeared in 10% to 20% of the articles. Eight additional categories appeared in fewer than 10% of the articles, and are briefly discussed at the end of this review.
Let's dive into these trends.