HR Trends to Watch in 2019
and Beyond

We live in an always-on, hyper-connected world thanks to the internet, mobile devices, and the powerful infrastructures powering them. These innovations haven’t merely changed how we connect with one another – they’ve changed the way people do business, including how companies hire and manage people. Even the very nature of work itself is evolving.

Cloud-based technology, advancements in artificial intelligence, new communication solutions, and the booming gig economy are just a few disruptors that are reinventing the world of work and the profession of HR.

With these incredible disruptions, Human Resources professionals and their companies need to be aware of and ready for the following trends in 2018 and beyond.

Latest Trends in HR Technology

Human resources has a tremendous responsibility in the face of growing and quickening change; it must be the driving force that helps companies embrace and adapt to disruption through appropriate recruitment, onboarding, training, and retention practices. Technology plays a huge role in all of these areas.

Movement of Core HR Systems to the Cloud

The modern HR department has begun to leverage cloud-based technology and integrated solutions. The cloud provides many benefits, such as:

Limited internal IT requirements

Cloud-based systems free HR teams from reliance on internal IT staff members.

Ease of scalability

HR teams can easily scale the technology up or down with a cloud-based software provider based on business requirements.

Business continuity

Critical human resources data can be secured more effectively when a company is struck by natural or human-made disasters, power failures, and other disruptive crises.


Cloud-based systems allow employees in different locations to work together more effortlessly and provide greater transparency of data.


HR teams that use cloud-based systems can offer staff members greater flexibility for working from home or checking in during vacation or on holidays when necessary.

Always up-to-date technology

HR departments typically receive automatic updates to software and systems, so they routinely have the most up-to-date technology.

As HR decision-makers select cloud-based solution providers, they should consider how well products integrate with other ERP solutions, assess productivity and efficiency gains, and determine any change management issues that may occur with new product implementations.

Team Management Systems

A lot of exciting team management systems are available to human resources departments that want to take collaboration and management to the next level. Let’s take a look at a few examples.

Collaboration and communication systems

These software options allow organizations to streamline communication, centralize critical information, and collaborate more productively and efficiently. Some of the most popular solutions in use today include Slack, G Suite, and Microsoft Teams. Not only do these platforms encourage collaboration, but they also provide security, flexibility, and transparency. Additionally, they work across a variety of mobile devices.

Performance management systems

These types of solutions help HR professionals monitor and measure performance, as well as manage onboarding and training initiatives. Some options to consider include:

Real-time performance feedback: Many of today’s workers – i.e. millennials – want more real-time feedback. Some HR departments are moving their organizations away from annual performance review platforms to performance review tools that allow managers to provide performance feedback more frequently and on demand.

Coaching software: Some HR teams have championed the concept of coaching as an organizational priority rather than a discretionary management style. Companies that embrace coaching as part of their corporate culture can leverage coaching software tools. These platforms document coaching plans, goals, and measure coaching efforts on employee outcomes.


A plethora of online training software exists to assist HR teams in planning, developing, or outsourcing training. Human resource professionals can explore:

Trends in Seasonal Hiring

Recruiting professionals have observed a traditional seasonal cycle when it comes to hiring. These seasonal hiring variations can be broken down by quarter as follows.*

Q1 – Hiring Wave

Many businesses hire during the first quarter. A strong close to the prior year and the new year’s corporate initiatives drive many of the decisions to devote resources to recruiting and hiring, especially in January and February. Q1 is a time when HR professionals will face a possible talent shortage since their business will be competing with so many other employers.

Q2 – Seeking Warm Weather Workers

Industries dependent upon good weather conditions tend to heat up recruitment efforts during the second quarter. Industries such as construction, tourism, and hospitality have strong hiring pushes during April, May, and June.

Q3 – Summer Lull

The summer months are typically a slow recruitment period for most industries. With hiring managers and job candidates taking time off for summer vacation or summer holidays, the third quarter is a bit more relaxed. Recruitment tends to gear up again toward the end of August.

Q4 – Heavy Hiring Focus Followed by a Lull

For the retail industry, the beginning of the fourth quarter represents a significant hiring push for seasonal holiday workers. In other sectors, CEOs seek to reduce operating profits; one way to do that is by hiring a recruiting agency during the fourth quarter to minimize annual taxes. October up until Thanksgiving can be a busy time for hiring. Thanksgiving through New Year’s, on the other hand, typically slows down as people take time off for the holidays.


How does technology impact seasonal hiring?

In some cases, technology-driven marketplace disruptions have altered recruitment and hiring. For example, as more consumers turn to online shopping for the holidays, fewer seasonal retail jobs get added each year. However, companies like Amazon and other online retailers may have an increased need for seasonal workers in warehouse, fulfillment, and customer service roles.

Some employers with strong seasonal hiring pushes have created an almost “consumer-like” experience for seasonal job seekers. Home Depot, for example, launched a tool in time for its spring hiring push that allows job applicants to choose their preferred interview time.
In other cases, technology does not change when hiring happens, but it can change how seasonal hiring occurs. A few examples include:
  • Development of a robust online employer brand through blogging, social media, and video keeps a company top of mind – and top of search engine results pages – during the time leading up to a hiring push.
  • Research and selection of an applicant tracking system (ATS) to streamline hiring processes during peak recruitment periods.
  • Development of pre-screening questions and processes that automatically filter the pool of applicants down to the most qualified candidates.

What about the Gig Economy?

The gig economy, made up of freelancers and other independent workers without a formal employment agreement, continues to disrupt the corporate workforce. Self-employment may triple by 2020 to 42 million workers, with millennials leading the charge. In fact, by then 42% of U.S. self-employed workers will be millennials. With these growing numbers of contingent workers, employers must be ready to respond.
With fewer workers – especially millennials – in the traditional workforce, HR professionals must guide their organizations on how to make the most of the gig economy. With freelancers and independent contractors, companies can:
  • Scale up and down more quickly and easily.
  • Save time and money.
  • Improve quality with access to more skilled workers for specific projects.
  • Increase operational flexibility.

Solutions such as Upwork and Freelancer can help companies find affordable, qualified talent. There are even niche freelance hiring networks for specialized careers such as engineering or science and researchers.

HR professionals and managers should use technology to ensure contract workers and freelancers are productive members of the team.

  • Encourage use of corporate communication and task/project tools to promote collaboration and productivity between direct employees and contingent workers.
  • Use time tracking tools to manage freelancer workloads.
  • Provide access to shared drives and centralized information (as appropriate) to promote transparency in the freelancer-client relationship.

The Future of HR Technology

The enterprise of the future will be digital, and HR will be a leading force in usher