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Top 10 Trends in Employee Relations & HR Analytics in 2020

Aug 25, 2020
HR Acuity

2020 has been one for the history books – inside and outside employee relations. It’s certainly a year none of us will ever forget.

One area that’s been thrown into the spotlight this year, for many reasons, is HR Analytics. Since the global pandemic, racial inequality, work from home, the rise in homeschooling, video-based meetings and the upcoming U.S. political election, HR and employee relations have taken on many new responsibilities and are managing issues no one could have dreamed of just last year. From microaggressions to reporting HR data to the board, 2020 has generated a huge shift in HR Analytics.


In my role as VP of Client Success at HR Acuity, I hear different stories every day of how HR organizations around the world are managing the “new normal.” Some clients are reporting a decrease in some employee-related issues with most of their workforce working from home, but most organizations are reporting an increase in the number of issues that they are managing. Whether businesses are returning to work, keeping ‘work from anywhere’ on their longer-term plans, struggling to keep their businesses open or are inundated with their recent overload in demand, proper management and documentation of all employee related issues is more critical than ever.

We’re not sure what the rest of the year will hold, but one thing’s for sure: HR Analytics will continue to play a leading role.

Here’s my take on the top 10 trends in HR Acuity Analytics in 2020 – and beyond.

1. Reporting HR Data to the Board

Over the past few months we have seen a surge in clients asking to automate their summary reporting. Many have shared that their Board is requiring automated reporting by the end of the year on all high-risk cases, as well as aggregate reporting on top issues across the organization. As a direct response to this, we’ve worked closely with our Product team to enable additional functionality for all clients to be able to further automate and generate their reports and dashboards.

Watch On-Demand: Resilience, Recovery and Reimagining: How Strategic CHROs Can Manage the New Normal

2. Documenting and Reporting Microaggressions in the workplace

Many organizations are starting to document and report on microaggressions in the workplace. These “brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative prejudicial slights and insults toward any group, particularly culturally marginalized groups” have a huge impact on employees who experience them on a regular basis in the workplace. Clients have also shared that they are documenting microaggressions directed to their employees by their clients or customers to get a better understanding of all issues taking place in the workplace.

Download: The Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Bundle

3. Employees calling out other employees’ social media posts

Whether they report it to HR or directly confront the offending employee, HR organizations are seeing an increase in employees’ social media posts that others are finding offensive. Company policies are being reviewed and revised in some cases to provide a consistent process for how to manage these issues.

Great read: 19 Action- Oriented Words of Wisdom on Ending Systemic Racism in the Workplace 

4. Emphasis on accuracy of data

HR organizations are being questioned more about the supporting details of their summary HR analytics. Previously, HR data was usually only reported to HR leadership, but now as organizations are becoming more transparent with their HR data, organizations are tasked with ensuring that their data is as accurate and complete as possible. Many organizations are taking advantage or HR Acuity’s Case Health feature to ensure that cases are as complete and healthy as possible.

Download: 8 COVID-19 Related Employee Issues You Should be Documenting Now

5. Merge HR data with other company data

As HR analytics have suddenly become more critical to senior leadership, corporate analytics teams are now requesting that HR data be incorporated into the corporate data structures for overall corporate reporting. We’ve seen an uptick in our clients looking to export their summary data to centralized reporting tools such as Tableau or Data Lake. Incorporating employee relations data with other company data provides a richer, more comprehensive view of issues – and helps you pinpoint trends.

Great Read: Building a Smarter, Fairer Workplace through Data and Insight

6. Analysis of time to manage HR issues

Organizations that used to simply document employee related issues and close them out when they were done are now focused on how long it takes to manage employee related issues as well as each step in the process. As a result, we’re adding new analytics to measure cases during and each step in the investigation and approval process.

Watch: Elevating ER Video #4- Process & Consistency Drives Employee Experience

7. The need for immediate analysis of what’s trending in HR

With 2020 HR trends developing so quickly over the year, from documenting COVID issues to racial inequality concerns to return to the office policy violations, HR and ER professionals need real-time data to assess what’s trending in the organization so they can take immediate steps to develop and deploy new HR policies. Many clients are sharing that our Case Insights feature, which provides at-a-glance analytic insights, is helping them by providing real-time data to support their hunches or where there are hotspots.

Great read: Act Against Racism Now, In Your Own Organization

8. COVID reporting, Return to Office and Back to School

From documenting positive employee tests to investigations of stolen hand sanitizer and toilet paper, every organization needs somewhere to document their Coronavirus-related issues. Most clients added dozens of new issues, actions and policies to their HR Acuity sites to easily manage their COVID-related issues. As some organizations are moving towards their employees returning to the office, many employees are expressing concerns over where their co-workers have been, how much social distancing they have been doing and what to do with their kids in these uncertain times. We expect that clients will be adding many additional issues to properly document all of their concerns.

Download: Recovery Readiness: Your Bundle for Navigating Post- Pandemic Recovery

9. Issues related to home video-based meetings

In the hot summer months, many employees, both male and female, are wearing tank tops, shorts and sandals to work, something most of us would never have dreamed of last August. HR organizations are suddenly managing employee concerns about inappropriate amounts of skin showing or inappropriate T-shirt content. The rise in Zoom and Teams meetings calls means people are showing their homes to their co-workers. Some employees express frustration about others questioning their background artwork or how their home office, which is sometimes a table in your kitchen or bedroom, look. No one wants to document the employee that accidently turned on their video when they meant to unmute and weren’t fully dressed!

Download: COVID-19 Best Practices: Remote Work Policies and Practices

10. Benchmarking

How do we compare with other organizations of similar size or other organizations within our industry? Organizations are seeking more data to understand if their case volume is within a typical range. HR Acuity’s annual Employee Relations Benchmark Study provides incredible data to begin this type of analysis in your organization. HR Acuity is doing even more by adding real-time quarter over quarter benchmark data to our solution so organizations can immediately compare their data to other participating organizations. Our roadmap also includes the ability to benchmark different parts of your organization against the whole organization to pinpoint any hotspots that need addressing.

Download: HR Acuity Fourth Annual Employee Relations Benchmark Study

We still have several months left in 2020 and I hope that they’re quiet except news of a proven vaccine. It will be interesting to see what gets added to this list of 2020 HR analytics trends when the year is complete. What are you seeing? I’d love to hear. And, if you need help managing or reporting on your employee-related issues and investigations or would like to learn more about how we help organizations manage these trend, please don’t hesitate to reach me directly at You can also schedule a demo here.

All the best for safe and healthy rest of 2020!


HR Acuity

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