At the turn of 2018, with the rise of AI technology and machines learning in the world of HR, brought about an interesting time for HR professionals. Much of the hype within the HR industry has been surrounding the new developments in this area of AI technology. Promising to revolutionize the way clients engaged with their staff, this HR trend was quick to become the center of attention for everyone in the industry.

As we take a realistic look back at the Asia HR market in 2018, it’s fair to say that while the latest HR tech has opened up a range of opportunities, the proper implementation and application of HR technology by a majority of companies is likely to be a time-consuming process.

Taking into account the Asian market, here are the top 5 Asia HR trends to watch in 2019:

  1. Personalization: One size does not fit all
    Riding on the back of the AI learning trend, which took much of HR by storm, there is a need in HR that companies have been neglecting to meet. From employee on-boarding, to learning and development, companies are finding that personalized employee experiences and workplace training can yield better results. According to a survey by Monster which examined the benefits of customized HR solutions, found that only 6% of employees agreed that their human resources practices are highly relevant to them, meaning that the effort of HR was lost on majority of employees. It’s likely that more personalized HR solutions will be made available to the market in 2019, and implemented by major players across Asia as a way to better engage employees.
  2. Flexible Work Arrangements
    With the growing discussion around personalization, companies are now not only looking at the way people engage at work but work itself. This new found appreciation of flexible working arrangements coupled with new solutions of work and performance tracking will push the trend of atypical working to new heights in 2019. In Asia, many smaller organizations and IT startups have already started adopting flexible working arrangements with flexi-hour and work-from-home options. In 2019, this will likely trickle into more traditional organizations as employees demand for better work-life-balance.
  3. Trust Before Employee Engagement
    A major HR trend in the past few years has been on employee engagement. The premise stood that by positively engaging with employees, employees will in return feel more motivated and integrated into companies, producing better results. While there are many studies supporting the effects of employee engagement, the challenge lies on whether or not companies can build trust in their employees to begin with. Recently, a survey looking globally at the ‘Trust in the Workplace’ found that Asian countries, in particular China and Japan have the lowest rating for trust. As we move into 2019, ‘trust’ will be a prominent theme and challenge for companies as they look to better engage employees.
  4. People & their Well-being
    As we move past the initial excitement about what HR technology can do for companies, the need for HR professionals to define the purpose of these tools will become more apparent. Companies will need to re-focus on their greatest asset, their people. In Asia, especially where a majority of the recruitment market is driven by candidates, companies will be motivated to bring about a better work environment and care for employee well-being as a way to avoid high turnover rates and retain the top talent within the market.
  5. Situational Leadership
    With the growing literature on true leadership and coaching, more people are moving away from the traditionally paternalistic approach to leadership and coaching. In 2019, there will be a wider understanding of leadership and the different ways to accommodate employees with a more personalized approach to training, and paths of learning and development within companies.

2019 will bring many changes in the HR profession across Asia, with enhancements to technology and improvements to employee engagement.

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