10 Emerging HR Trends
A lot of the HR and Recruitment commentary I see focuses on skills shortages and hiring difficulties, with concerns over attraction, retention and development. This often overlooks some of the many nuanced changes and developments in a number of HR processes that impact the day-to-day employment experience, all encouraging a shift in mindset and behaviours. Technology is often at the heart of these, either enabling and facilitating, or encouraging much of the evolution.
During the last twelve months or so I’ve written about many new recruitment and HR trends in reports and on other sites. These are 10 in particular that I think important:
- Performance Management becoming a richer, more agile process focusing on continual development and coaching rather than annual reviews and school report style grades and assessments; moving from measurement to improvement
- Leadership Development not restricted to early identified high potentials or specific job titles but becoming open to all employees with aspiration who can display influence and performance; individuals take responsibility for their own development
- Talent Management less about linear progression and job titles and more about lateral moves and the gaining of a diverse range of skills, experiences and knowledge; progression isn’t only an upwards trajectory
- Rewards becoming less about legacy entitlements and more about offering a varied and holistic package of initiatives and offerings that suit a range of employee preferences
- Engagement at last being seen not as an initiative that a company does but an outcome of treating people right; commitment and loyalty earned
- Retention becoming an ongoing process of continuous attraction with organisations using many channels to try and differentiate the way they are perceived externally and the way their purpose and values are defined internally
- Most organisations now recognising that they are digital businesses that need employees and collaborators with digital skills and a digital mindset
- Reactive recruitment now identified as a problem; skills are short and people have more options – the hiring process can’t wait until someone resigns, or worse leaves, before starting; there is a need for an ‘always be recruiting’ mindset
- Leaders beginning to talk more about hiring for attitude and culture and not purely on past performance or against a checklist of perceived duties and achievements
- Your workforce is no longer only the people on your permanent payroll; there is a rich mix of temps, freelancers, consultants, interims and collaborators that contribute to business processes and outputs, and their needs and expectations also have to be satisfied; they are potential advocates or detractors, same as everyone else connected with the business
There is much going on around the organisation that is both shaping these trends and creating new expectations. Employees don’t want to be overwhelmed and overburdened. They want technology that works, and makes their life easier not harder, and communication that is clear and concise, not filled with buzzwords and jargon.
Our businesses are now more transparent than they’ve ever been. Information is available freely and publicly on what we do and say, what our employees, alumni, collaborators and customers say. Internal processes are often laid bare without us realising. Our people are looking for an organisational soul, something that can encourage a sense of belonging and identification. And pride.
Speed is the new normal and leaders need to be change agents. Top down, autocratic, individualistic managers are losing their key staff. Employees want inclusion and collaboration, transparency and authenticity. The emerging trends that I’ve already mentioned, plus many more that are still evolving, require leaders who are agile and collaborative, able to offer constructive and insightful feedback…and take it too. Their goals are becoming visible to everyone in their team and they need to develop and mentor their people. Talent management is fluid so managers can no longer expect to always hold on to best performers looking for development elsewhere in the organisation. They need to be talent producers not talent hoarders.
Recruitment is becoming more driven by connectivity, reputation and culture. Information on individual experiences of your recruitment process – from the length of time to acknowledge an application through the interview questions you ask to the packages you offer – is publicly available on sites like Glassdoor. Companies need to embrace it and own it.
Your next hire could be a customer or someone in their personal networks, or from the networks of employees, alumni, collaborators and partners. People who leave are a great source of referrals, and may have gained new skills elsewhere so could return. We need to get better at exiting people from the business. Too often they are poorly managed out. Performance discussions become about the person and not the performance.
Whilst a number of businesses, particularly in the SME market, will not have embraced many of these changes as yet, the chances are they will. The transparency I mentioned earlier, coupled with the availability of information and insight on all of these topics, means that workers in all companies have access to what other businesses are doing. And if they like what they see elsewhere, then the chances are they’ll expect it where they are…or else may go out and find it for themselves.