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2019’s Top HR Trends Explained in 100 Words

May 09, 2019 by Josh Hrala

The world of HR is always changing. It seems that there are new hot topics popping up every day. As you can probably imagine, this can make things quite confusing. After all, staying current with the latest trends is only one small part of being a great HR leader. You also have to keep up with your day-to-day tasks and make sure your organization is thriving.

To help make sense of all of these recent trends, we’ve put together a simple cheat sheet that explores these topics in 100 words or fewer. These summaries are very high-level. For more information on them, we’ve included some links if you want to dig further.

Let’s get started.

6. Employee Engagement

Coming in at number six is employee engagement.

Basically, employee engagement revolves around how strongly connected your employees are with their jobs. For example, an engaged employee is one who values the work they do and gets sanctification from performing it well.

Employee engagement, as a topic, aims to explore how employees become engaged, what keeps them engaged, and what benefits the organization and the employee receive once engagement is strong enough. 

5. The Unemployment Rate

With the unemployment rate low across the US, HR leaders are having to pay more attention to retention issues than they’ve had in the past. This is because the low unemployment rate has made it harder to find talented individuals to fill vacant roles.

On the other hand, this empowers strong employees to jump ship and take on roles at outside companies, making it vital that organizations do all that they can to keep talent onboard while also hunting for individuals to fill the gaps in their workforce.

4. Employer Branding

This topic goes hand-in-hand with retention (and even employee engagement). An employer brand can be summed up as the reasons why a person would want to work for your organization over another. Do you have a great culture, work-life balance initiative, or some other differentiator?

Strong employer brands attract top tier talent easily, making branding all the more important in today’s world of low unemployment.

There are obviously a lot of things that go into making a great employer brand. Some simple ones are to make sure you are empowering your workforce and allowing them to develop.

3. Criminal Records

There has always been a push for employers to hire more employees with criminal records, especially those that did time for minor offenses. Recently, numerous studies have been published that show that the general public endorses companies that do this.


This conversation dovetails into other areas such as drug testing, which as increasingly come under fire as more and more states legalize marijuana. While debate on both of these topics isn’t new, there is now a much great emphasis on them at many organizations across the country.

2. Organizational Agility

For those working at a startup, this concept is nothing new. However, organizational agility is starting to bleed over to the old-school corporate world where companies are trying more than ever to create a workplace and culture that ‘fails quickly.’

This means that companies want to be able to pivot at a moment’s notice, test things out, and have it be okay if trials come up empty. By being agile, companies can adapt quickly and beat the competition, though it must have the buy-in of the entire workplace if it is ever going to be successful.

1. The Ever-Changing Face of AI

When AI is usually brought in a workplace, panic quickly follows. However, this is the wrong way of looking at things. At this stage in the game, AI is only taking jobs that are very, very simplistic. Far more common is for AI to be used to automate tasks that can free up real-life humans to pay attention to real-life human stuff (like leading teams, being creative, and things like that).

Despite this, there is still a lot of misinformation about how AI works and how it will fit into the modern workforce, including the HR department.

The Wrap Up

These six trends are top-of-mind right now for business and HR leaders across the country. There are also many that didn’t make the list, such as LGBT rights, women and minority pay gap issues, and many others. These are, of course, very important, but wouldn’t be addressed in any adequate manner with this 100-word format.

The issues above are general to just about every workplace, making them ideal informational nuggets. We suggest that if you are interested in any of the topics above, go down the rabbit hole and read more about them because this article is really only intended to catch you up to what people are talking about in case you’ve been busy with the many, many tasks of your everyday work (we know how hard it can be stay current in today’s agile world).

Josh Hrala

Josh Hrala

Josh is an HR journalist and ghostwriter who's been covering outplacement and offboarding for over six years. Before pivoting to the HR world, he was a science journalist whose work can be found in Popular Science, ScienceAlert, The Huffington Post, Cracked, Modern Notion, and more.

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