The trends in HR for 2018

Posted on February 20, 2018 at 12:27 PM

trends in HRWe may have made it through to mid February and at last our inboxes are no longer weighted down with links to blog posts about the “Trends in HR for 2018”

That said, we were pleased to read a post by Chee Tung Leong on the Forbes website.

In his post, he talks of four key trends which build on the activity of 2017 in which, he observes, “people analytics arrived ‘with a vengeance.’” Now nearly 70% of companies are actively looking at how best to examine the people data that they have. As a result, those businesses with some form of HR software, now have the ability to streamline their processes and learn more about their talent – and his predictions for the coming year relate to this.

#1 The shift from 'Employee Engagement' to 'Employee Experience'

The emergence of what is known as the ‘talent consumer’ has been widely researched and discussed. This is the (typically) younger, talented, employee looking for transparency, feedback and opportunity from his or her employer. There's been a change in the employer/ employee relationship and organisations are waking up to the fact that the balance of power has shifted towards those who possess valuable skills and away from those who need them. Consequently, talented employees are now adopting shorter-term, more transactional relationships with their employer.

Research by Henley Business School suggests that the way forward is to shift our mindset from thinking of employees as servants of your organisation, to thinking of talent as consumers.  

Chee Tung Leong suggests that 2018 will be a year in which leaders in organisations start to focus, not just on the importance of employee engagement but to broaden this out to the so-called ‘Employee Experience’. This includes the three core dimensions of engagement, culture and performance management. And we have seen this approach gather pace in the past few months. Our clients have been talking with us about how best to have a continuous conversation with their people to demonstrate its commitment, values, career options and how what they do fit within the wider organisation.

The growth of continuous performance management in which managers and team member have regular check-ins and catch-ups on goals and objectives heads us in the right direction. There is clarity over what needs to be achieved and how, and the progress being made. Our Talent Performance software not only enables easy to access and easy to update goals, but delivers talent analytics to help businesses and leaders understand what is happening with regard to objectives and performance.

And we’ve also seen through our Talent En-Gauge tool that on-going ‘continuous listening’ through an ‘always open’ or 'pulse' employee engagement survey, is on the up.

Couple this with our career navigator tool – Talent Navigator – and we see an integrated suite of software that contributes to an employee experience.

But the starting point has to be what Chee Tung Leong sees as an ‘employee journey map’. This is the development of an employee journey with the organisation in the same way as those looking at the end-customer or consumer, or indeed applicants and candidates, map out and optimise their interaction with the company.One thing is certain: your marketing colleagues don’t think of your customers as one homogenous group. They’ll gather data about consumer behaviour, they’ll segment the audience, develop an enticing proposition and they’ll target specific products and offers to defined customer groups.

#2 The Race to Digitise HR

The second trend discussed in his article, is the ‘Race to Digitalize HR’. Chee Tung Leong talks of the digitalisation of the workplace itself and quotes Josh Bersin in saying that there is a need for HR “to learn how to ‘be digital,’ not just ‘buy digital products.”

And to us this is crucial. We challenge those in HR to not just to get comfortable with technology and what it can do for them but to embrace the digital capabilities of, for example, 360 reviews and performance management. And this is not just because they eliminate the need for HR to chase for completion, remove (most) human error, save time and produce great reports, but because of the huge value that the results actually provide. Invest the time spent previously on HR admin to now add value to the senior leaders by taking the analytics produced by the system and showing them what this means for the business.

#3 People Analytics Entering Organisation Structures

Chee Tung Leong believes that in 2018, more organisations will “evolve a people analytics function, with the attendant challenges of prioritizing numerous data requests, merging multiple data sources with disparate organizational stakeholders, and the constant tension between centralizing the analytics function in ‘Business Intelligence’ or specializing it within functional disciplines.”

‘People Analytics’ on a large scale may well be on the up – but, to date, has only been really adopted by the largest, resource-rich organisations that can dedicate specific resource or budget to it. That said, we’re seeing a significant growth in the use of our analytics engine built into our talent management software.

With its abilities to interrogate the talent data that reviews, engagement surveys and succession plans generate, richer, more valuable insights can be gained –and shared. For many in HR, this is still a new capability that they just haven’t had up until now. Using this information, even if working alongside a people analytics team, helps to, as Chee Tung Leong says, “bridge communication gaps between team leaders and senior management.”

#4 The ‘Gig Economy’ Redefining the Workplace

The so-called gig economy in which short-term contracts and freelance work supplements the permanent workforce impacts not only recruitment and hiring processes but raises fundamental questions around development, engagement and career progression of these people.

For many businesses, these non-permanent workers are an essential, and often sizable, part of its workforce. Engagement is crucial. One of our clients not only includes the group in its engagement survey but, after looking at the very marked differences in feedback, has taken action to increase the engagement felt by this group. For those gig workers who have chosen not to be ‘employed’ as the flexibility suits their other commitments and whose skills or knowledge are ‘in demand’, the same conversations are being held in organisations around development, performance management and succession planning as they are when focussing on internal talent; how can organisations offer progression, plan for vacancies and get the most from these people?

If the predictions are right, it’ll be a hugely positive year for the progression of valuing employees. We’d recommend you read his post for yourself

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