Find out what companies are predicted to enact in the coming year — and beyond 

nordwood-themes-1066398-unsplash-1A number of noticeable shifts occurred in the business world in 2018.

The amount of workers who highly intended to remain with their current employer declined, for instance, throughout the year, according to a Gartner report.

Six percent more companies, a Society for Human Resource Management report found, allowed employees to dress casually every day — and, according to a Deloitte survey, more global human resource and business leaders began to believe artificial intelligence will be widely deployed at their organizations within three to five years.

Increased AI use isn’t the only prediction for the future. Each year, certain practices, technology and other elements gain popularity or fade away from use.

Accordingly, as we prepare to enter 2019, a new crop of workplace trends appear to be on the horizon — including:

Enterprise AR and VR use

Augmented and virtual reality have become more mainstream in the consumer market in recent years, thanks to the introduction of affordable headset models. While the technology hasn’t fully infiltrated the workplace yet, there are more than 150 companies using virtual reality and AR, according to Deloitte research (view our blog post on augmented and virtual reality in the workplace to find out how).

In addition, a mid-2018 Harvard Business Review Analytic Services study found augmented and virtual reality could be poised to further impact productivity, training and customer service; more than two-thirds of the participants involved in the study said they believe AR and VR will be an important part of achieving their company’s strategic goals through 2019.

gift-habeshaw-612154-unsplashCombating mounting stress levels

Work-related stress has been on the rise for several years — a Morneau Shepell and Queen’s University report found stress levels in Canada doubled between 2009 to 2013; more than half of full-time U.S. employees said they felt more anxious in 2017 than in 2016, according to a Udemy report, and a 2015 Regus Group survey found more than half of the global workforce was closer to burning out than it had been five years before.

Employers, though, seem to be aware of the issue — and ready to counteract work-related stress’ effect. Thirty-nine percent say they plan to increase their emphasis on mental health and stress-related health and wellness initiatives in the workplace through 2019, according to an International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans survey.

HR outsourcing

As companies employ analytics more frequently to help them successfully recruit talent, an expansive volume of data is created — along with a need to manage and process the information, which can prove taxing for a staff that’s already handling other work. Some may seek external help. Data oversight needs are expected to drive compound annual growth in the global human resource outsourcing market at a rate of nearly 9 percent through 2022, according to a Technavio report.

Tackling unconscious bias in hiring practices with technology

A number of companies are utilizing blind hiring practices to ensure fairness in recruiting. Solutions are available that conceal information that could potentially trigger inadvertent judgment — such as names, photos and dates — from applicant tracking system data, online job boards and other sources. At least one entity, business software marketplace G2 Crowd, has estimated companies’ use of tech tools to remove unconscious bias from hiring practices will increase by 30 percent in 2019.

Expanded gamification use

In addition to companies using gamification for recruitment, research has shown having current employees use software that offers rewards, a leaderboard or badges can have a positive effect; 84 percent of workers say it makes them feel more engaged, 82 percent believe they’re happier at work because of gamification practices and 87 percent say gamification makes them more productive, according to a TalentLMS survey. The amount of employees who feel gamification can help boost productivity, in fact, has risen in the past four years from 79 to 87 percent.

To find out more about what types of technology, including gamification, may become more frequently used in work environments in 2019 — and the years following it — download our HR Tech of Tomorrow white paper.

For more on other emerging workplace trends, check out our blog posts on the role people analytics stands to play in talent management, how HR professionals may fare if AI use increases and how your organization can benefit from an apprenticeship program — or our white paper on what the arrival of Generation Z could mean for the workforce.