Employment models are under strain like never before. There’s an increasing disconnect between employees and the traditional company hierarchy, piling pressure on HR to create more agile and productive working environments.
So how will you adapt? Here are five key trends for HR in 2018 to help you anticipate the challenges, so you can optimise your talent base.
1. Nurture a modern team culture
The drive to foster ‘employee engagement’ in recent years has achieved positive results. It’s now a key factor in internal decision making, and its KPIs have been successfully linked to productivity and management effectiveness. But the way businesses think about engagement hasn’t yet progressed beyond the individual.
People also want to feel a sense of belonging – part of a club that has their best interests at heart and provides emotional context to their work efforts. Creating a modern employee and team culture will be one of the key initiatives of the coming year.
2. Hire for competence over confidence
Lengthy and often irrelevant interview processes, aimed at discovering whether a candidate is the ‘right fit’ for a company, are due for a rethink. Companies understand they need a more rigorous way to measure aptitude – whatever a person’s apparent level of confidence – and have already started to adopt different strategies when hiring people.
For example, recruitment systems that aggregate data from right across a candidate’s profile are already enabling far more objective screening – their career, qualifications, interview history, social media footprint, and so on.
3. Balance new technology with human skills
The rise of new technologies such as AI, and their potential as competitive enablers, will disrupt people’s roles in the workplace.
The widely-publicised dystopian predictions associated with this are certainly over-stated, but HR leaders will increasingly have to balance human ingenuity with machine-based efficiency. That means understanding the technology, its potential, and then working at board level to optimise business resources.
4. Re-consider approaches to flexible workers
The rise of the ‘gig economy’ shows no signs of abating, with contract workers soon to be as common as traditional nine-to-fivers. They’re becoming an essential part of the workforce, which will affect how you hire, manage and train your employees.
In the UK, for example, 40% of HR decision-makers believe that contractors should pay for their own training. Yet, as those contractors become ever-more common – and essential to the business – will there be a move toward providing the right skills, nonetheless?
5. Make rewards truly rewarding
Being able to promise a more rounded employee experience – with a strong sense of being personally valued, having good promotional prospects, feeling part of a winning team, believing that you’re doing something good, being able to work flexibly, and so on – is often more important today than just the biggest cash offer.
Research from Oracle, among others, reveals that the most motivated and high-performing teams consistently display a positive dynamic between team members and effective managers. They think of reward as part of the broader employee engagement and retention strategy, and not just pay. So the final key trend is building a programme of reward that also encompasses non-financial elements to meet the needs of your employees and support your overall engagement strategy.