2017 saw myriad changes in tax regulations, advances in how payroll departments work and an evolving health care landscape. These three human capital management trends in 2017 had a significant impact on finance leaders and should give finance leaders a hint at where they're headed in 2018. While these three trends are each unique, they point to a broader movement toward transparency, accessibility and options for employees to choose from.

1. Tax Regulations

As noted by How Could Tax Reform Impact Compliance Costs?, much of the conversation around tax regulations revolved around whether or not the Federal Government will enact tax reform, which is still under consideration, though many businesses are preparing to accommodate the new tax code, should it pass. Regarding changes that must be noted for this year's taxes, businesses affected by recent hurricanes Harvey and Irma, which together account for over half a percentage point of GDP lost, will be given automatic tax relief on their returns this year, as well as loan assistance and claim filing options. Additionally, all organizations should be prepared for impending ACA penalty assessments, which will evaluate compliance in 2015. Lastly, be aware that IRS verification codes, which were piloted last year, have officially launched in an effort to reduce identity theft.

2. Advancements in Payroll Methods

You'd think that payroll would always kind of stay the same — exchanging money for services rendered doesn't seem like it would warrant much technological advancement. However, in 2017, payroll became much more automated, as noted by Payroll Card Programs: The Revolution of Convenience. This resulted in employees and contractors asking for a greater variety of payment options (such as mobile paychecks and paycards), as well as an increase in compliance and auditing as part of your corporate best practices.

3. Changing Health Care Landscape

On Oct. 12, 2017, the federal government issued an executive order promoting health care choice and competition, as noted by Executive Order on Health Care: What Does It Mean for Your Business?. While the order is currently being challenged, employers should stay up to date on developments. Overall in 2017, the main trend for health care benefits is that they're of increasing importance to skilled workers, who expect not only coverage options but transparency and accessibility.

While these are not all of the human capital management trends in 2017, they should have some of the biggest affect on businesses and financial leaders in the new year.

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Tags: human capital management technology Workforce Planning