For many businesses, a new year is a time for reflecting on hits and misses of the past year to glean valuable insights. But it's also worth looking forward to start learning from those lessons. In the HR sphere, what innovations are on the horizon that could impact hiring, retention and overall employee satisfaction? Here's a rundown of five top HR trends in 2017.
1. The Man-With-Machine Medium
According to The Washington Post, there's a good chance robots and automated processes will take over at least some jobs previously reserved for humans. It's no surprise, then, that many workers and HR departments are worried about the impact of intelligent machines, leading to a human vs. technology perspective, which sees artificial intelligence and automation as the enemy of HR. In 2017, however, HR pros are better served adopting a "man-with-machine" attitude that sees technological resources as the key to better hiring and retention strategies. For example, machine-driven data collection can provide HR teams with the information they need to identify ideal candidates or determine optimal benefit strategies to keep employees satisfied over the long term. Targeting that data strategy and improving upon it will require humans to thoughtfully improve the technology behind it.
2. Leveraged Learning
In-house training is becoming a popular way to upgrade existing skills rather than reaching out to third-party sources. But instructor-led courses are on the decline as online training initiatives become the go-to option for organizations. For HR, this means working with IT pros to ensure users have access to meaningful and purpose-built content without risking the security of internal networks. And with so many providers now offering internet-based learning courses, 2017 will also see the rise of HR content curators who can identify ideal training courses for an increasingly tech-savvy workforce.
3. Real-Time Response
According to Deloitte, technology disruptions are on track to cause significant HR shifts through 2017. One example? The rise of real time surveys and feedback systems. Deloitte reports that more than 120 vendors now offer these types of tools, which can be used to solicit employee opinions confidentially, give staff a place to post observations or constructive criticism without fear of reprimand or provide feedback for managers or other employees. As these tools become more ubiquitous, HR must not only be prepared to respond in real time, but also to determine the best use of this data to inform ongoing personnel policy.
4. Personalization Priorities
Want to innovate in 2017? Get personal. Forbes reports that employees will no longer settle for "one size fits all" HR. They expect onboarding, performance management and career development paths tailored to their particular needs rather than average industry standards. Accomplishing this aim means relying on data collection and analysis tools, which provide a baseline framework for staff satisfaction, expectations and ideals. People-centric management practices must replace law-of-averages HR from the first moment candidates and organizations engage.
5. Wearable Wins
Another of the up-and-coming HR trends in 2017 is wearable devices. According to Entrepreneur, businesses like Amazon already use wearables to enhance the performance of warehouse employees, while some logistics organizations now have truck drivers wearing "smart hats" that can monitor fatigue and alertness levels. For HR, however, the strategy for effective wearable adoption lives and dies on solid policy. While staff may embrace the idea of wearables to make their lives easier and eliminate extra work, they may also balk at the notion of employers monitoring their heart rate or activity levels on the job. While workplace safety arguments can help mitigate some of this discomfort, HR pros need to develop wearable policies that clearly define what type of data will be collected, how it will be used and what type of outcomes users can expect from any such insight. Simply put? Businesses must avoid the stigma of "creepy" and instead aim for "cooperative" when it comes to the rollout of any corporate wearable.
For HR pros, 2017 could be a banner year. Make sure you're prepared to implement some of the biggest trends on the horizon.
Want to learn more about 2017's HR trends? See below for the other articles in our #HR2017 series:
#HR2017: What We Learned About Benefit Policies in 2016
#HR2017: Can't Miss Info About the FMLA
#HR2017: Don't Be Fooled By the Cost of the ACA This Year
#HR2017: What Last Year Taught Us About the ACA
#HR2017: Help Your Employees Achieve Their Health and Wellness Resolutions
#HR2017: What's on the Horizon for Workplace Flexibility in the Coming Year?
#HR2017: Job Growth Patterns from 2016 Inform 2017's Outlook
#HR2017: Talent Acquisition Trends for 2017 — Tips to Attract Rock Stars