From social networking platforms and mobile applications to new engagement strategies, HR professionals have been adapting to a tsunami of changes over the past year due to our evolving workplace. Executives have shifted their strategy; with a focus on building an internal structure that’s rooted in attracting and retaining quality talent. At the forefront of employer discussions were buzzwords like ‘engagement’ and ‘culture,’ – two areas of investment that soared to the head of business initiatives.
With the 2018 year now underway, a fresh batch of radical changes are set to impact the HR landscape. In 2017, employers established a strong foundation for employee success, which will be the underlying driver behind the progressive policies that will shape the industry over the next 12 months.
69% of employers, compared to only 10-15% in prior years, are actively working to improve their approach to people analytics by analyzing data and integrating their findings into a refined business strategy. Accurate prediction of staff needs will improve career development, boost office productivity, and make it easier to implement new processes on an inter-departmental level. Executives can use data to equip their workforces with the resources they need to thrive in 2018 and beyond.
With this in mind, here are four HR trends that should be on our radar this year.
Prioritizing the Employee Experience
A new dimension of the workplace ecosystem is beginning to take shape; one in which employers incorporate culture, engagement, and performance management into their strategy. With the employee experience as the driving force behind an organization's infrastructure, employers will create an environment that appeals to the growing needs of the millennial-dominated workforce – one that is rooted in technology and transparency. HR will have an exciting opportunity to experiment with a medley of technology-based tools aimed at facilitating communication, enhancing productivity, collecting feedback, and understanding the employee experience through resources like wellness apps. Data that’s assembled can be used to map the employee journey and make improvements to internal policies and procedures.
A Surge in Digital-Based Practices
As Josh Bersin, Principal and Founder of Bersin by Deloitte says, “HR organizations now have to learn how to ‘be digital,’ not just ‘buy digital products.' Just as many digital disruptors have toppled businesses in travel, retail, and other industries, we should essentially ‘topple’ our HR thinking with the adoption of digital solutions.”
Digitalizing the workplace and leveraging artificial intelligence tools to analyze employee data will provide a basic foundation for boosting the employee experience. Many companies have already begun investing in software that not only streamlines the recruitment process, but employs the use of algorithms to achieve a better match between candidates and employers.
Gamification is a technique used across industries as a motivational tool to encourage healthy competition among employees, encourage professional development, generate social buzz, as well as a number of other purposes. Companies have found success using the competitive game format to stimulate engagement. HR can incorporate gamification into their candidate screening practices, fusing entertainment with exercises that measure cognitive abilities and fundamental skill sets. Analytics collected can be used to evaluate and predict where an applicant’s strengths lie versus areas that need improvement.
A Redefined Workforce
The traditional anatomy of our workforce has shifted drastically, advancing toward an on-demand mentality comprised of contract and freelance workers. In Upwork’s recently published Freelancing in America Study, they found that nearly 57.3 million people freelanced this past year, with an estimated growth rate that is three times faster than the US workforce overall since 2014. Hiring contingent workers is economically advantageous for employers, providing a solution for staffing shortages and intermittent needs. HR personnel will need to implement recruiting techniques that are conducive to uncovering candidates in a swift and agile manner, targeting specific skill sets to satisfy the requirements of each new project they are sourcing for.
Similarly, research has shown an increase in the volume of telecommute employees, rising from 39% in 2012 to 44% today. Employers who offer remote and flexible work schedules are widening their exposure to a larger pool qualified candidates, enriching their value proposition, bolstering retention rates, and lowering overhead costs. VPN technology has been a significant catalyst in the remote movement, giving employees the accessibility they need to complete their work from virtually any location across the globe. With video conferencing software, collaboration tools, and project management apps, companies can keep remote workers organized, productive, and happy.
The Year of the Superior Workplace
Enforcing these trends will likely raise some challenges for employers. However, companies will bask in the rewards of elevated productivity levels, higher employee engagement, and greater retention rates as a result of their efforts.
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