HR Trends for 2019

President, LODI Inc.
Talent and Culture Architect, Sonnie Santos, in one of his talks

The complete article about HR Trends 2019 was first published on ASKSonnie.INFO

The Four Drivers of Modern Work

Modern work will be influenced by four drivers. These drivers were explained in the white paper published by the Federal Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of the German government in March 2017. 

Work 3.5: Modernizing The Modern Work

Modern work is evolving. 

The key to achieving both the organizations’ short and long term goals is to lead the people towards it.

The changes brought by the four drivers are disrupting both the work and life of people. Thus, interventions are needed to make everyone adaptive..

As I write this post, steps were being undertaken by PH government in partnership with industry organizations and the academe to identify and address gaps .

This is being done both in the areas of human development and industry adaptability.

But there are more to look at in order to transition to work 4.0 

Talent Acquisition and Management

By 2020, Gen Z is believed to comprise 20% of the workforce. Because of this, Dell facilitated a study in August 2018 entitled ‘The future has arrived’ This, to get a glimpse of how the next generation will influence modern work. Accordingly, Gen Z:

  • Have deep understanding of technology, but yearn for more human interactions
  • Likes face to face learning, work in the office than telecommuting. 
  • Preferred employer who are socially and environmentally responsible.
  • Would like their employer to give them refreshed skill sets and new experiences on the job.

Another survey was conducted a year earlier by Aspiring Minds. It’s about the Philippines’ National Employability. It revealed disturbing findings:

  • 65% of respondents are unemployable in the career of their choice
  • 14.15% of respondents are employable for outbound sales and 21.90% for inbound customer service in the BPO sector
  • Lack of domain knowledge in banking, financial services and insurance sector is the reason for low employability
  • 64% of qualified students belong to low tier colleges in Philippines
  • Employable students are from urban centers due to better exposure and education opportunities
  • 70.44% of those surveyed lack spoken English fluency, while 48.17% lack pronunciation and 58.27% lack comprehension skills

To address the competency gap, DOLE partnered with the SFI Group for the Nationwide Talent Mapping Initiative. This presser mentioned that roughly 32% of Filipino respondents are not employable, with creative problem solving as the lacking skill.

In the area of salary adjustment, Mercer consultancy believes the Philippines will have an average increase of 6%. While Bangladesh will have (10%), India (9.2%) and Vietnam (9.8%). On the low end of the scale, salaries in Australia are forecast to grow 2.6%, New Zealand at 2.5%, and Japan at 2%, respectively.

Digitalization

Artificial intelligence, Chatbots and Machine Algorithm are not new. Netflix and Spotify are using AI to analyze your playlist. As a result, the app suggest tracks and titles for your consumption. Facebook and Google do the same when placing ads in your wall.

Microsoft and Apple, on the other hand, are continually improving Cortana and Siri, both are AI operated personal digital assistants.

The same tech is now finding its way in HR processes. Many believed chatbots and machines can:

  • Collect data more efficiently
  • Assists in the hiring process
  • Match skills related to specific jobs
  • Perform background check via the persons digital footprints on the cloud

While AI in HR practice in the Philippines has not reached its full potential, it has taken off in the west.

According to a report published by Toronto-based regulatory body Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA), AI is expected to continue as a growing trend in the coming years.

Repetitive and redundant functions of HR will soon be taken over by AI, so humans can focus on the more cognitive thinking aspect of HR.

 On the industry side, it was reported that the Philippines has yet to exit the ‘planning phase’ relative to embracing industry 4.0. At the moment, PH belongs to the legacy group. Member countries on this group are considered ‘at risk’ because of the lack of progress in human development and adaption to technology.

Demography and Globalization

While movement of goods, services, capital, and people will continue, this may plateau or slowdown in the Philippines if the competency gap remain unresolved.

Imagine, if the marketplace abounds with the unqualified workforce and the qualified ones are moving to our richer ASEANneighbors, the middle east, US and Europe.

It will not take an Einstein to figure out the need for stakeholders to act swiftly and decisively to address the issue for our future’s sake.

Culture Change

Work life balance is not new, but it became more pronounced with the millennials in the workplace. Because the advent of tech advancement made the lines separating work from the personal lives of Gen X blur, millennials are restoring the line to keep the separation. 

Another notable change is how companies respond to the shorter shelf life of employees. While the trend is to engage employees from hiring, some companies instead developed a cheaper and shorter recruitment and on-boarding process to adapt to this new reality. Still others, are turned to outsourcing and automation.

In PH, where transportation and infrastructure problems are not fully addressed yet, telecommuting and flexi time will flourish. The bill awaiting for the Presidents’ signature will force companies to implement this scheme.

With the entry of Gen Z in the fold, however, balance is expected between offsite and onsite work.

Likewise, more companies will expand, or collaborate with other groups to have CSR programs that are value adding to both employees and organizations.

What Might Trend in Philippine HR, in 2019

Delay of work 4.0 can also happen when biz leaders are happy with just surviving the day to day operations of the company, or leaders who prefer operating the business like a small family corporation, or employees who would rather live with an asshole management than improve themselves because they believe they can’t get another job elsewhere, then we cannot expect the transition to modern work.

However, I still believe that 2019 can be a fruitful year for HR given the global influence, Government interventions and the persistent problems carried over from previous years.

TELECOMMUTING

In the local front, telecommuting and flexi time will take off. To the more traditionally managed organization who are not open to telecommuting, their hands will be full doing the ground work to comply with the new law once approved and IRR set.

HR OPERATIONS

Compliance to the general labor standards of startup to medium size companies may still require more man hours from HR. Most Qs I received revolve around compliance to regularizationdue process, documentation and payroll.

HR for NON HR

HR practitioners will have their hands freed if line managers are properly trained in performing most of the routinary administrative HR work. 

AUTOMATION and ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE

Multinational companies, or companies servicing global enterprise will be the local trendsetters. These include adaption of machine algorithms, chat bots and (maybe) robots for some processes and jobs.

More local companies may also adapt various software solutions to simplify HR work and processes. Top of mind is cloud or app based training, timekeeping, benefits management.

TALENT ACQUISITION AND BLENDED LEARNING

In the short term, companies may have to lower their qualifications (again) in certain position, but provide intensive training to prepare the fresh graduates or the newly hired to the job.

However, if I may refer to the Aspiring Minds study, 63% of qualified students belong to low tier schools. This means recruiters need also to be unbiased to find qualified talents in the market.

In the long term, talent and organization developers will have to conceptualize programs that will prepare present and future employees. These may require continuous representation to the government, collaboration with the academe, professional and employer associations for the required future skills.

EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT AND RETENTION

While multinational companies, or companies servicing global enterprise are already adapting to modern work, the rest of the HR community, in my opinion, should also spearhead cultural change.

I have an acquaintance who quits a high paying job from a global company, in exchange for an average paying job for a start-up. She believed in the purpose of the company and embraced it as her own.

While economics play a factor in employee retention, office culture, relationships, career plan and CSRalso play a big part.

I believe getting our hands full in this endeavor is far better than trying to douse fire from situations that can lead us to arbitration or litigation.

Both are costly and time consuming but the former is value adding.

PEOPLE, ORGANIZATION AND CULTURE DEVELOPMENT 

Technology will continue to advance– more mobile apps, faster and powerful processors, big data and cloud, more intelligent bots and machines, etc.

HR needs to give time to plan and implement programs to transition the existing policies and procedures, org structures and culture, and employee learning to the demands and requirements of work 4.0.

Needless to say, HR should be the first to get acquainted, at the very least, to digitalization. We can’t lead the organization to the transition if we ourselves are in the dark.

In your opinion, are there other indicators that we should consider? What are the changes you expect in 2019?

Sonnie Santos is a Talent and Culture Architect; President and Founder of Learning and Organization Development Institute, Inc. (LODI Inc.). Check his Profile or Portfolio. For collaboration, send him e-mail

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