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3 Key Themes from SHRM 2019

Over 20,000 HR and benefit professionals from around the world gathered at the annual SHRM conference in Las Vegas this year. It was the largest attendance in SHRM history, with attendees representing more than 100 million workers.

Creating better workplaces was the theme of the SHRM conference with content tracks to help teach, inspire and provide practical takeaways to active HR teams. With human resource professionals in attendance focused on creating sound strategies to help organizations prepare for the future, here are the top themes that emerged:

People Analytics

Data is everywhere. HR professionals have access to more employee information than ever before. The challenge is using data to tell a clear and compelling story that informs business objectives. People analytics is only about five years old in the HR world, but it has quickly become clear that there is a need for a dedicated resource within HR teams.

Analytics can help practitioners drive creative solutions to many business problems like reducing absenteeism, predicting regrettable attrition rate of high performers and managing health care and benefit costs. The key is having the right tools to help you quantify data into dollars. And with health care costs continuing to increase for both employers and employees, the ability to predict cost trends and intervene in real time has never been more vital.

Find out the three key levers of health care cost control and how you can manage them effectively.

Artificial Intelligence

According to a recent study by Oracle and research firm Future Workplace, 93 percent of people would take direction from a robot, but only 6 percent of HR leaders are actively deploying artificial intelligence (AI) at work. There is no denying the future workplace will include AI, machine learning and robotic process automation. Ironically, the spread of technology creates greater opportunity to make the workplace more human. By taking advantage of AI, HR leaders can delegate repetitive and time-consuming tasks to virtual assistants. This opens up valuable time for human interactions that create higher value returns for the organization.

AI can help HR automate an array of recruiting activities, create adaptive learning management programs and even help answer frequently asked questions employees have about their benefits and compensation.

Learn how employees can use AI to be better consumers of benefits.

Employee Experience

Aspiring to be an employer of choice is still top of mind for many organizations, especially with the lowest unemployment rate in nearly half a century at 3.6 percent. The employee experience was part of almost every conversation among HR leaders at the conference. In a recent Gartner survey, employee experience ranked third among the top 10 key initiatives for 2019 across all areas of HR.

Employee experience is more than engagement; it's everything from the recruiting and onboarding process to employee learning and communication. Members of Gen Z are the newest entrants to the workforce with millennials moving into management roles. Both were born into a digital world, which makes them more likely to have higher expectations of their employers when it comes to experience. Designing employee experiences that are on par with customer experiences is a growing initiative at many top firms who are successful at retaining top performers.

Hear how Benefitfocus is helping organizations create a better employee benefits experience with tools that engage workers during the moments that matter most.