HR departments are no longer on the outside looking in when an organization is developing growth strategies. As enterprises become more people-centric and understand that their people are, by far, their most important assets, organizations are looking towards HR to be forward-looking trendsetters, continually refining or even redefining how an employer attracts, maintains, and satisfies talent.
To help HR stay at the forefront of innovative thought and practice, Hyphen has assembled the six top HR trends to implement in 2019. As innovators in our own right through the prescient, insightful feedback solutions we provide to organizations that transform people analytics into maximized productivity and efficiency, Hyphen understands how important it is for enterprises to keep a constant eye on the road ahead.
Given their growing dominance in the labor force, employers must understand how vital non-traditional working options are to millennials and other younger generations. In fact, 85% of millennials state that telecommuting options are an important consideration in their career choices. Furthermore, with over 50% of the entire workforce projected to be freelancers, remote workers, or some other form of non-traditional employee by 2020, such dynamics will continue to be a significant trend in 2019 and beyond.
While Hyphen has spoken of the importance of the gig economy to virtually any employer, as well as practices and procedures to make the most of that vital employee segment. Every organization has talent and task needs that fall outside of their core competencies but are still important, perhaps one-off or infrequent assignments in marketing, website design, or anything else that need completion but don’t require a full-time position. For these reasons, organizations must continue to incorporate atypical employees as a pillar of their ongoing talent strategy. Failing to heed the significance of flexible workers will place enterprises at a competitive disadvantage, lacking the flexibility needed to navigate the extraordinarily dynamic and ever-changing labor market.
So much of HR's responsibilities involve interaction with both candidates and employees on an ongoing basis and across a variety of different communication channels. While such interaction is a vital part of acquiring and maintaining an adequate talent pipeline, it also strains already stretched schedules and resources. Thankfully, the AI trend that is just starting to take root in HR will continue in 2019, further developing practical solutions to streamline those interactions without sacrificing impact.
Between AI and its technological first cousin, machine learning, innovations like chatbots and other automated communication tools have blurred the lines between human and machine interaction. Going forward, HR will be able to integrate AI-based communication solutions that will be able to effectively handle much of the time-consuming interactions between an employer and recruits, candidates, and current employees, thus allowing HR to concentrate on their many other responsibilities and tasks without ceding effectiveness. While machine-learning isn’t a cure-all, organizations that understand its tremendous benefits and the distinct areas where it can add value to processes and procedures – HR obviously included – will stand to reap the greatest rewards.
Speaking of technology, communication isn't the only benefit that innovative solutions can bring to the HR space. Sorting through endless resumes and correspondence, both digitally and on paper, are vital components of HR's responsibilities but also extremely tedious and resource-consuming. However, technology will continue to provide effective solutions for such issues, giving HR the flexibility to handoff resume reviews to digital tools that integrate natural language processing into their abilities.
These tools can quickly and effectively search for keywords and even interpret nuanced language that can either uncover a diamond in the recruiting rough or, just as importantly, reveal flaws that might make an individual a poor fit for an organization. Similarly, repetitive and laborious tasks like sifting through resumes, no matter how important they are to finding talent, are inherently prone to human error. By utilizing technology rather than HR staff to accomplish these tasks, employers substantially reduce the chances of accidentally missing key talent.
Organizations continue to prioritize their marketing efforts to identify, engage, and convert their target audience. While consumers are instrumental in generating revenue and increasing profitability, the importance of talent to an organization screams for equal attention in messaging potential candidates throughout the recruitment process. Therefore, recruitment marketing will continue to be a growing trend in 2019 as enterprises search for ways to differentiate themselves from the competition, develop brand identity from the candidate’s perspective, and continually attract talent that will be an indispensable source of growth and innovation in the future.
For instance, social media plays an overwhelmingly important role in the daily lives of the younger generations of employees and potential employees. Smartphones and other forms of mobile technology are an essential conduit between millennials, Gen Z, and the world. Enterprises already have sound strategies to fully leverage social media to their benefit when addressing and engaging their customer base, particularly concerning diverging and segmented affinities that require a high degree of personalization in their messaging. The same thought should be applied to engaging potential talent, distributing a tailored message across the most appropriate channels to create emotional bonds that attract recruits and allow an organization to stand out from the competition.
Working hand-in-hand with recruitment messaging, employer branding not only distinguishes an organization during recruiting but, just as importantly, establishes a sense of stability and satisfaction for an existing workforce, creating a cascading effect on nearly all aspects of the enterprise. Given the highly intertwined, overarching nature of social influence in modern society, an organization's brand and reputation should be protected and fostered like the rare commodity it is.
The concept of employer branding is widespread and encompasses many facets of an HR department’s numerous responsibilities. It starts with an organization's culture which, of course, is a key determinant in the levels of satisfaction and productivity throughout a workforce. A healthy culture that is both engaging and motivating is any enterprise's first defense against the corrosive qualities of excessive, ongoing attrition. It not only makes the average employee appreciate their position and want to excel, but it also attracts new talent to the fold, feeding on itself and providing the constant influx of talent so important to effectively compete in a crowded, unforgiving marketplace.
Technology will continue to be a vital component of effective employer branding in 2019, providing efficient but effective solutions through, for instance, the transformation of people analytics to actionable insight that informs and guides culture and messaging. Continually gathering and analyzing feedback are the roots of such efforts, the only way an organization can collect real-time, authentic data to inform a strategy that directly impacts their brand and, thus, their culture and the entire spectrum of the employee experience. Simply put, word quickly spreads when an enterprise places its people at the center of its decision making, inevitably attracting top talent to join the ranks and further extending the power of its brand.
We’ve mentioned feedback and people analytics in previous entries but, given its growing importance in every organization, no matter its size or the industry it serves, it warrants its own attention. From an HR perspective, feedback and the people analytics it reveals plays an essential role in every stage of the employee experience, from recruiting and onboarding to employment and the alumni stage. To that point, the anticipated integration rate of people analytics tools has risen from the historical average of 10-15% to nearly 70% in 2017.
Of course, not all feedback is created equally and needs to adhere to the evolving demands of the modern workplace. Suffice it to say, the antiquated notion of the annual review and occasional conversations with supervisors are wildly insufficient in providing employers the agility needed to flex and pivot around relevant, authentic, real-time information gathered directly from the workforce.
Using Hyphen’s technology-driven feedback solution as an example, organizations can utilize specifically designed, meticulously worded pulse polls and surveys at key stages and events throughout an employee’s tenure with an enterprise. Once HR collects the feedback, it can then be analyzed and transformed into actionable insight, using it to steer nearly every facet of HR operations and providing critical guidance for strategies that impact culture, efficiency, attrition, productivity, and job satisfaction. When properly leveraged, feedback forms bridges between a workforce and management, decision-makers with strategy that positively impacts every level of an enterprise.
Again referencing Hyphen’s feedback solutions, such tools will continue to develop throughout 2019, molding themselves to the specific needs and expectations of an individual organization. In other words, the most useful feedback tools bend around the particular demands of an employer, never forcing the enterprise itself to contort itself to fit within the narrow functionality of a feedback platform. If anonymous surveys and polls would create a needed level of authenticity to responses by providing comfort and safety for employees, then the feedback tool should give employers that flexibility.
Likewise, if an organization already uses a popular communication platform like Slack or any number of comparable systems, the feedback tools should integrate into those existing systems. Such utility can vastly improve participation rates in surveys and polls, lending greater accuracy and insights to the process. In terms of ongoing data tracking, people analytics will also continue to be utilized through individual KPIs to gauge individual performance relative to both personal and organizational goals which, together with feedback insights, give employers the necessary tools to quantify and analyze nearly every component of a worker’s employment with an organization. In the era of big data and predictive analytics, such tools give enterprises the same quantitative insights into their workforce they already use for everything from R&D and production to logistics and marketing.
HR is finally receiving its just do as key contributors to strategies that shape the future viability of organizations. With these six trends to implement in 2019, HR will continue to take their rightful place amongst the other decision-makers within an enterprise, creating and defining policies and procedures that maximize the benefits derived from an organization’s talent base. With Hyphen as a critical partner in providing feedback solutions that propel those key strategies, 2019 promises to be yet another pivotal step in HR’s incremental rise in an employer’s strategy building process.