HR Insights 6 min

HR Trends 2020: What Matters Most to HR Teams? [Infographic]

February 3, 2020

As the workforce evolves, HR roles continue to be some of the most important in business. To understand how HR and small business owners are coping with the challenges of the changing nature of work, we surveyed them, as we do every year, at our HR Virtual Conference, the world’s largest virtual HR conference. From their most pressing concerns to what truly matters most, here are our findings in HR trends for 2020.

See what HR teams are focused on for 2020 in our free infographic.

Current HR Trends Analyzed

As the importance of HR grows, so do the responsibilities of HR. HR professionals and small business owners were surveyed based on their roles and responsibilities. Those areas were:

  • Hiring
  • Onboarding
  • Performance management
  • Culture and employee experience
  • Measuring the impact of HR

Future HR Trends

For the second year in a row, company culture and employee experience, enhancing employee performance and engagement, and finding and hiring talent topped the list as the top three concerns and initiatives as we examined HR trends for 2020. What was really interesting, though, was the trajectory of these top concerns. While ranked in second place last year, culture and employee experience climbed an astounding 12 percent to take the top spot as the top concern and initiative for 2020. It was a similar story with finding and hiring talent, which increased by 11 percent to come in third. The trajectory of concern with performance management seemed to wane a bit as we saw only a three percent increase year over year, which caused it to fall to second place among the top HR concerns and initiatives for 2020.

Artboard 1

Culture and Employee Experience

Another clear 2020 HR trend relates to culture and employee experience. When you consider how difficult it can be in today’s market to find, hire, and keep high-performing employees, it’s not surprising to see culture and employee experience as the top concern for HR pros. Unlike assessing employee performance or hiring goals, where objectives are relatively clear, measuring culture and employee experience is much more subjective, which makes measuring it much more difficult.

With 62 percent of respondents indicating culture and employee experience was a high priority and only 4 percent indicating they were effective at measuring it, the ability to measure, monitor, and improve organizational culture and the overall employee experience represents a significant gap and opportunity for HR professionals and small business owners in 2020.

Performance Management and Employee Engagement

Modern employees want frequent feedback, both formal and informal—something traditional performance management systems aren’t designed to provide. These new HR trends of targeted and timely performance management have left HR professionals wanting more from their performance management processes and systems. It’s no surprise that only one-third of respondents were satisfied with their organization’s performance management processes.

It does appear organizations are acting on employees’ desire to receive more formal feedback. Compared to last year’s figures, HR trends for 2020 show the percentage of organizations that conducted performance reviews on a monthly or quarterly basis increased by 3 percent and 5 percent respectively. Nearly half of all respondents indicated they still perform performance reviews on an annual basis.

When we compare the top performance review challenges year to year, we see concern around review frequency has gone down, presumably as organizations conduct reviews more frequently. We saw a 6 percent increase in the percentage of respondents who indicated they feared performance reviews didn’t actually help improve performance at all, illustrating a 2020 HR trend.


We see another clear 2020 HR trend in the hiring sphere. In today’s competitive labor market, efficiently moving candidates through the hiring process while providing an outstanding candidate experience is crucial, as is the need to measure results. Respondents indicated there’s room for improvement in both areas.

Fifty-two percent of respondents said improving candidate experience was a strategic initiative for either the recruiting team or both recruiting and leadership teams. Another 37 percent indicated it was a strategic initiative now but was soon to be a focus area. Only 11 percent indicated it wasn’t a strategic initiative at all.

While 87 percent indicated improving the candidate experience was either a current strategic initiative or soon would be, 45 percent said they’re doing nothing to measure the candidate experience at all. As hiring becomes even more difficult, having processes in place to help identify areas for improvement will be a key competitive differentiator and an opportunity for recruiting departments.

Artboard 1 copy 2


We also saw clear HR trends for 2020 in onboarding. A great onboarding experience improves employee satisfaction and retention. HR professionals and business owners describe their onboarding processes in one of three ways:

Fifty-six percent of respondents indicated they’re still using a manual checklist to keep track of new hire onboarding tasks. Thirty-eight percent use software to guide them through the process. And six percent indicated it’s the wild, wild West—new hires show up and they turn them loose! (We don’t recommend this strategy.)

Artboard 1 copy 3

We also asked how they’re measuring onboarding effectiveness, which is less about “did all onboarding tasks get completed” and more about “did your onboarding program create a positive experience that better prepared new hires to excel in their new role.” It seems more than a third of respondents measured both, with “onboarding checklists” and “informal feedback from candidates” tying for the top methods for measuring onboarding effectiveness. Thirty percent of respondents indicated they didn’t measure onboarding effectiveness at all.

Find everything you need to know to onboard like a pro in The New Definitive Guide to Onboarding

HR Reporting: Measuring the Impact of HR

Another alarming HR trend in 2020 is that the majority of HR professionals never measure HR’s impact on the rest of the organization. We believe this is a major missed opportunity. Measuring and tracking performance regularly is the best way to improve and be recognized as the kind of strategic partner every organization needs.

We asked how often HR professionals and business owners measured the impact of their HR efforts, and what we found seemed to indicate a growing issue. Fifty-five percent of respondents indicated they never measure the impact of their HR efforts on the organization, which is an increase over last year’s survey and an alarming trend.

Artboard 1 copy 4

If you’re like these respondents and need ways to better measure and improve performance and engagement, culture and employee experience, hiring, onboarding, and more, it might just be time to take a look at BambooHR. BambooHR includes innovative solutions to measure and improve performance, engagement, culture, satisfaction, employee experience, hiring and onboarding. And with more than 30 pre-built reports, you can analyze just about anything you’d want to know.

Interested in other 2020 HR trends? Do you want to see more of what matters most to HR teams? Download the full infographic.

HR insights delivered to your inbox.

Get caught up every month on all things HR. Don't worry, we promise we won't spam you.

Daniel Dean
Sr. Product Marketing Manager