— August 16, 2017
The year 2016 saw organizations truly embrace and accept the full potential of HR technology. They couldn’t avoid it any longer as it was deeply impacting their employer brand. That played a vital role in shaping HR in 2017. This year, certain HR trends have been instrumental in allowing the function to support their business with analytics, strategic direction and more meaningful people management strategies. All of which have provided renewed confidence in HR’s ability to be a strategic partner to their business.
While HR technology has been quite instrumental, there are other HR trends that have been observed in 2017. All of these trends have kept in mind the new breed of workforce – the millennials – and how to manage their expectations, exploit their potential and align them to organizations’ purpose to do business.
Here’s a look at the HR trends that have emerged so far in 2017.
1. Employee Experience
Gone are the days when work is simply a mundane necessity and part of life. 2017 has seen organizations place greater emphasis on creating and designing an employee experience that refreshes the classical talent management concepts. It’s similar to “customer experience”, where organizations went beyond just selling their products or services and focused on how to enhance and enrich the customers’ experience of doing business with them. Organizations are now leveraging the concept towards employees and enhancing their engagement strategies, culture development and how they drive performance from their talent.
The starting point of developing a solid employee experience is of course the organizational values that you’re aiming to promote. Building from there a culture that’s attractive to new talent and vibrant for the current is key to an organization’s HR mission. However, just because you have lounge areas, vending machines and foosball in your office doesn’t mean you’ve created a positive workplace experience. To truly create a valuable employee experience look beyond the glamor. You’ll need to assess your culture in terms of organizational structure and design, the management and their role, how performance is gauged and how engaged your talent is.
2. Exploit Employee Potential
A trend that’s still continuing in 2017 is the ability of your top talent to find opportunities elsewhere. It’s always been the case that your star performer will be the first to leave as the market will hunt them down and attract them. And their exit means all the time and money you’ve invested in training and developing them walks out the door. So who are you left with? Those employees who are average or poor performers since they aren’t highly in demand and know that you’re running out of options. These aren’t the talent who can help your business grow exponentially – not unless you invest in them!
In 2017 organizations may have been able to reduce several HR costs, but their costs related to training and recruiting new talent has substantially increased. To curb this expense, there’s been an increasing trend of training and developing current talent – even if they aren’t star performers. Rather than being held hostage by their inability to perform at high levels, organizations have been investing in their existing talent to make them more productive and effective. This of course helps them reduce the cost of recruiting and training new talent and allows them to exploit their current employees’ potential. In essence, 2017 has seen an increasing trend of getting rid of complacency.
3. Reinvention of Organizational Design
Being in the digital age where communication is rapid and frequent it’s only natural that more and more organizations are evaluating their traditional hierarchies and organizational structures. 2017 has seen organizations question how teams and the management communicate, interact and collaborate. And there’s consensus amongst organizations – the business demands of today cannot be fulfilled by organizational structures of the past.
Agile talent management is the trend that’s evolved and being embraced in 2017. Organizations are working with smaller cross-functional teams, increasing collaborations, killing silos and focusing more on project delivery. Gone are the days of job descriptions and levels – today’s workforce is highly engaged, synced and informed. Information is flowing top-down, bottom-up and even sideways. Sure, an agile structure requires HR to adopt new ways to assess performance, but one of the biggest advantage of this shift that organizations have experienced is an increase in leadership traits, across the board.
4. Diversity and Inclusion
HR in 2017 has taken several strides forward to intentionally impact diversity and inclusion. The past few years has seen many debate around gender disparities which has led up to this year’s evolution of how diversity and inclusion is being treated by organizations. The trend, however, is more than just focusing on the numbers of certain groups or identifications. It’s not about filling quotas anymore, it’s about the mindset.
Organizations are now looking into how successfully they’ve impacted attitudes and behaviors associated with a positive culture that embraces diversity and inclusion. Going hand in hand with the concept of employee experience, this one, however, is more targeted towards specific groups who, in the past, may have been marginalized. 2017 has seen more efforts being made to alter mindsets to create a conducive, positive and healthy work environment for everyone!
There are still five months remaining in the year and I suspect we’ll see continued growth and evolution in the world of HR. We’ll see more exciting HR trends evolve in 2017. Of course, technology will remain as the catalyst that disrupts traditional HR practices as we head forward, but so too will be the attributes and needs of the present dynamic workforce. It’s no secret that organizations that accept these factors and adapt to it will reap the benefits of a high performing, engaged, and loyal workforce.