6 Trends for talent in 2019

6 trends for talent 2019 min

4 mins, 35 secs read time

You know the end of the year is drawing close—your calendar is full of holiday parties and your office now officially has more festive popcorn canisters and gift baskets than desk space. But before you shut down for winter holidays, let’s take a moment to look to the future and anticipate some of the changes and trends that will shape our work in 2019. We’ve gathered insights from a number of leading practitioners into three main categories: People, Programs, and Technology. Read on for some food for thought that will help you prepare for the changes that are coming in 2019 and beyond.


  • Get ready to welcome the newest members of the workforce.

Millennials will continue to be the largest percentage of the workforce, but Gen Z (those born between 1995 and 2012), are beginning to show up as interns and new grad hires. Derek Baltuskonis, Director of Talent Acquisition at Intuit has observed a number of characteristics of this group, including the desire for a strong sense of purpose, community, and belonging. Intuit responds to these needs by keeping the lines of communication open once a candidate accepts an offer. This is especially important with interns and new grad hires who may have a gap of six to nine months between accepting an offer and starting a new role. Look for ways to help the youngest members of your company connect to your mission and vision and facilitate connections with other employees to create that sense of community they crave.

  • Giving people a voice matters more than ever.

One of the most significant shifts in the Talent industry involves moving away from a transactional and reactive approach. Lars Schmidt, Co-Founder of HR Open Source in a panel discussion on the role of the Chief People Officer, claims the industry is becoming more relationship-oriented and proactive. Susan Lee, VP of People at Warby Parker and a speaker on the same panel, also explains that HR used to be much more straightforward. “There used to be a template to how to do HR,” Susan says. But as employees are finding their voices and insisting on being treated fairly and given equal opportunities, the job of the Chief People Officer is to “meld the voices together like a game of Tetris and get everything to fit together.” How can you give employees the opportunity to make their voices heard in the coming year?


  • Onboarding is becoming a critical part of the employee experience.

Onboarding is taking on increased importance as Talent professionals see how critical it is for setting the tone for an employee’s experience. Ginger Hardage, Former SVP of Culture & Communications at Southwest Airlines emphasizes “creating a web that will support the entire lifecycle of an employee” which begins with the earliest stages of their tenure. Derek Baltuskonis of Intuit also believes it’s essential to look at a new hire’s first year and anticipate when they might begin to feel bored or antsy. By creating mobility options and rotational assignments, especially for the new members of the workforce who might be looking for a new challenge, you can hold people’s interest and demonstrate you’re committed to their growth.

  • People programs need to be aligned with business objectives.

As People teams shift from being reactive to proactive, “Your role is to drive business results through putting in the right programs, the right people,” says Beth Steinberg, Chief People Officer at Zenefits. Beth sees the employees on her team as business partners who are expected to be proactively solving business problems rather than simply taking care of administrative duties. With increased access to data and metrics, it’s much easier for Talent and People professionals to speak the same language as executives.


  • Technology is adapting to the changes in the workforce.

In an overview of how HR technology is changing, Dane Hurtubise, VP of Platform at Greenhouse explains that he sees current technology focusing more on building relationships with candidates through talent marketing, candidate relationship management (CRM), and tools that help Talent teams build pipeline. Looking a little further into the future, Dane anticipates technology that will accommodate contingency workers (this might look like an intersection between vendor management and applicant tracking systems) along with an increased focus on automation and Artificial Intelligence.

  • Be aware of generational differences when it comes to technology.

Every generation is shaped by technology in some way, but the generation someone belongs to can have a significant impact on how they’re shaped by it. Amanda Fraga, VP of Brand Strategy at Live Nation notes that while millennials often feel overwhelmed by technology, Gen Z is learning from millennials’ mistakes and taking a more internalized, private approach. Members of Gen Z may be more willing to separate themselves from technology and intentionally turn off from time to time. Similarly, Ilona Jurkiewicz, VP of Talent, Thomson Reuters says that it will be increasingly important for members of the workforce to absorb and process information critically. Judgment and ethics will become more important as technology has a greater impact on people and their decisions.

Shifts in the makeup of the workforce and the role of technology mean that 2019 will likely be a year of big change in the Talent world. What are some trends that you anticipate in the coming year and what are you doing to prepare? Leave us a note in the comments to share your thoughts and predictions.

Melissa Suzuno

Melissa Suzuno

is a freelance writer and former Content Marketing Manager at Greenhouse. Melissa previously built out the content marketing programs at Parklet (an onboarding and employee experience solution) and AfterCollege (a job search resource for recent grads), so she's made it a bit of a habit to help people get excited about and invested in their work. Find Melissa on Twitter and LinkedIn.