The world of work has changed immensely in the past year, impacted by factors that include downsizing, technological advances and a new generation of workers with very different ideas of what employment should look like. In 2017, technology, social media and the gig economy have been the top movers and shakers but there were a few other developments in HR that went on to shape the dynamics of the domain for the future. As the year draws to a close, Here’s a look at the top ten trends that moved Human Resources in 2017.
An App could do that!
2017 witnessed a new marketplace of digital and mobile appsthat helped HR design and deliver a great employee experience. Some of the most fascinating apps include:
Productivity and collaboration apps: Apps such as Facebook’s Workplace, Microsoft Skype for Teams, Google G-suite, and Slackand solutions from companies such as Trello, Asana, Basecamp and 15Five support collaborative projects among teams and offer engaging platforms for goal alignment, performance management, learning, and other traditional HR processes.
Engagement and feedback apps: New pulse survey tools have emerged in the market, makingconventional annual engagement surveys redundant.
Performance management apps: A host of continuous performance management apps withfeedback tools created by companies like Zugata, Highground, WorkboardReflektiv, BetterWorks, and SuccessFactors have begun to be accepted in the industry.
Employee service platforms: These tools offer an integrated employee experience and help in transactional and service needs through integration of chatbots and natural language processing.
- The centrality of the employee experience:
Employee experience has been a central theme in 2017 with organizations developing an integrated focus on the entire employee experience. Leadership, learning, diversity, employment brand, organization structure and teams, career mobility, and HR services, holisticallyaffect an employee’s experience and this year saw companies focusing on this aspect of organizational development. High-performing companies introduced ways to enrich the employee experience and flourish purposeful, productive work environment. Apple Inc., Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, and workplace design companies like Gensler, Steelcase, and Leesmanlaunched innovative workspaces that encouraged recreation, collaboration, and creativity in fascinating ways.
- Feedback Becomes Fluid:
2017 found companies adopting a less formal and more flexible approach in performance discussions. Employees have increasingly begun topreferquarterly or monthly feedback on their performance instead of the semi-annual or annual process of the current performance management system. This not only gives a better view of an employee’s performance but also fosters communication and collaboration among teams. This preference led to many organizations switching to a coaching conversation or a quarterly form of performance review. Resorting to such approaches are a welcome move as it stimulates a healthy work culture.
- Technology Moves Work Beyond the Office:
Flexible work arrangements and schedules saw a rise in 2017 as technology enabled businesses to not be restricted by geographical mobility. Long hours and face time used to be mandatory at some companies but now companies are focusing on the work done instead of the time served. A Society for Human Resource Management study reported that telework offered by companies increased three times when compared to 1996.
- Analytics could be the game-changer:
32% of companies say they are ready to begin using predictive analytics.
2017 saw a growing recognition for HR practitioners with expertise in data skills.The number of organizations leveraging workforce datato improve their systems, policies and operations increased tremendously, thus fortifying the role of analytics in the coming years. According to a Deloitte study, nearly one-third of companies surveyed said they were ready to take the leap to using full, predictive analytics. Predictive analytics has immense potential and will take metrics to a new level in the future as HR strives to make new discoveries with the help of data.
- Career ladder out, Gig Economy In:
Goodbye, company career ladder. Hello, gig economy!
Gig workers are entrepreneurial independent contractors or contingent workers who work and are paid on per-project basis and are not the employees of any one organization. In 2017,organizations preferred gig workers and banked on the agility and purposeful nature of this workforce. In the U.S., slightly more than 1 out of 4 workers were gig workers in 2017, according to the McKinsey Global Institute. And this number shall continue to grow as organizations focus on incentivizing gig workers better and preferring them over traditional workers.
- Digital learning reinvented learning and development:
Digital learning finally gainedacceptance in organizations after years of being treated as a less-desirable alternative to class-room learning. Innovative, Interactive and socially-networked LMSes are being introduced which are gaining reception amongtechnology savvy users. Digital learning is extremely affordable, efficient and impactful which has led to the growth of B2C learning sites like Coursera, Udemy etc. 2017 saworganizations sourcing for robust B2B digital learning systems and embedding them in the company’s systems.
- Upskill and Reskill for an evolving future:
A NASSCOM report says up to 40 percent of the estimated four million workforce in India needs re-skilling over the next five years to keep pace with automation and changing skill needs in various industries.
2017 gave a glimpse of the evolving future as automation led to a redundancy of workforce and big data analytics demanding the need for new skills. With the advent of the analytics, automation, IoT, robotics, and artificial intelligence in the workplace, jobs and roles need to evolve tremendously in the future which has made upskilling and reskilling indispensable for the industry. For example, AMD, an American multinational semiconductor company, remained at the forefront of re-skilling its employees in India. According to KiranmaiPendyala, Corporate VP and Chief Operating Officer, HR, AMD India, close to 40 percent of their existing employees underwent reskilling in 2017 to help them adopt state-of-the-art tools and technologies to design, build, and sell innovative products.
- Diversity, redefined:
A Mckinsey study indicated that companies in the top quartile for racial and ethnic diversity are 35 % more likely to have financial returns above their respective national industry medians.
2017proved that diversity isn’t just demographic oriented and there were several companies that made strides in the realm of diversity this year. The approach to diversity became more nuanced as organizations looked at harnessing thought diversity as an intrinsic aspect of workforce diversity. The focus on leveraging the full potential of employees by acknowledging and abetting each person’s ways of thinking and ideas is what companies focused on. For example, Johnson & Johnson was ranked no. 2 in the Thomson Reuters Diversity and Inclusion Index this year, as it strived to create a “culture of belonging” in and out of the workplace.Also, Marriott International hotel chain received over 15 national awards for diversity and workplace excellence in 2017 alone for to advocating a multicultural environment and gender diversity. Many companies like Salesforce and Microsoft redefined their policies to encourage diverse talent, women in technical fields, focus on the needs of minorities and women, and support LGBT+ equality.
- Embrace design thinking:
As per Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends survey in 2017, 79 percent of executives rated design thinking an important or very important issue.
In simple words, design thinking means focusing on the person and the experience, not the process and this is the concept many companies adopted while designing their employee related policies.In 2017, creative leaders and innovators thought about design thinking in more mature ways and moved away from a sole emphasis on language and learning to increasing their focus on application, ownership, and impact. For example, General Electric has announced simplification as a core new business strategy. It introduced design thinking, new mobile apps for goal management and collaboration, a simplified model for performance management, and a new set of guidelines for work.