It’s December so time for the inevitable forecasts of themes for the next year. What are the predictions for HR in 2020? HR tech forecasts predict exciting changes in tech for 2020 . Our view is that you can have all the up to date tech on the market, but without purpose it’s not going to get you very far.

We believe that organisational goals will increasingly need work to attract and retain employees and customers who’s values reflect a more responsible economy, showing empathy, sustainability, integrity and a healthy workplace culture.

Here are our 7 predictions on hot topics for HR for 2020 where you should be focusing on:

Wellness at work

Wellness at work will be a major theme for 2020. In the past two years bullying and harassment has been reported many times in the media and continues to be highlighted – and so it should. The problems however are nowhere near cured. Hopefully the spotlight will not move on until they are solved and will only gain momentum in people being brave enough to speak up.


Artificial Intelligence as a means of understanding and engaging with your staff is growing momentum. The genie is out of the bottle. The biggest question isn’t can AI help with employee engagement? The biggest challenge is to grab the right opportunities at the right time. Many discussions will be had about AI, but widely applicable solutions are still several years away. On a wider basis the real solutions will start with AR – Augmented Reality and build out from there. Don’t miss the opportunity but don’t bet the bank on it either.  


This will stay on the agenda, particularly if the economy stays tight and people look at how to do more for less. By many measures, the UK has appalling productivity. You can’t hide it. You should not hide it.

‘Presenteeism’, or people coming into work when they are ill, has more than tripled since 2010, according to the latest CIPD/Simplyhealth Health and Well-being at Work survey.

86% of over 1,000 respondents to the 2018 survey said they had observed presenteeism in their organisation over the last 12 months, compared with 72% in 2016 and just 26% in 2010. The survey also found that ‘leaveism’, such as people using annual leave to work, is also a growing problem. More than two-thirds of respondents (69%) reported that leaveism has occurred in their organisation over the last year.

If many measures are to be believed we lag behind large parts of the western world. Tackling this is a major challenge. Run the numbers. If you could get your organisation to international levels what would it do for productivity. What would it do for your bottom line? Why the difference? It’s a question you should return to every day. Modest changes would yield massive gains.

Social responsibility

Social responsibility isn’t going away which is fantastic. It’s on a steady march (with some spurts forward and the odd bump in the road). It’s only going to get more joined up. Getting it right with your people – eliminating bullying, harassment, gender, age, race and disability equity – and then caring properly for the World we live in, including those out of sight to us. Add in how does your organisation fare in a wider stakeholder and societal context. These issues are here to stay and will get increasing focus.  

Economic factors

For the near future the global economy looks to have more clouds than sunshine. That means for many sectors belts will be tightened and budgets tight. Making your budgets work for you, making the case for why increase investment on people and skills will be key. The good news is that with the right thought and analysis the case is as strong, if not stronger, than ever.

UK Societal factors

Despite bold assertions from the top, whichever way Brexit takes us, the UK will continue to struggle under a shadow. That shadow will leave uncertainty around investment. But we also remain a society with major tensions. The last 3 years have exposed fault lines. Xenophobia has been weaponised by some and homophobia and racism hitched a lift.  It’s not made our task easier, but organisations have an obligation to step above this – and to ensure their people do.  

Data without violation

The slow but inevitable march of big data will continue. Joining this up to understand what actions and behaviour lead to what consequences will continue to evolve. The key challenge which will surface in the year ahead is how do you use data around your people without violating their freedoms.? How do you harness data without it backfiring?

I hope the above predictions for HR in 2020 have given some food for thought. Good luck in your planning for 2020 and have a great Christmas and a very prosperous 2020.

WorkInConfidence PULSE platform underpins a healthy culture by redefining how you connect, engage and communicate with your people. Protect your people by providing a secure environment for sharing issues or ideas. Understand and Learn about the health of your organisation with regular real-time measurements; Share and Excite by diving in, top to bottom, bottom to top and side to side where teams offer instant feedback on improvements and direction.