The defining HR trends of 2018

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It seems HR professionals are in for yet another high-paced and challenging year after leading industry figures predicted the various defining trends of 2018.

Board members of the Workforce Institute at Kronos identified the key issues which are set to dominate the profession over the next 12 months with topics ranging from artificial intelligence to employee engagement.

Joyce Maroney, executive director, synthesized these predictions into five key themes:

Employee engagement, with focus on the employee experience, as a financial strategy
HR has always been about engaging employees, but despite the huge investments on engagement, corporate leaders still question the effects of culture-driven investments on the bottom line. “HR must change their vernacular to better connect engagement with business challenges while using operational data to show how engagement is financially driven.”

In attracting and retaining the best talent, employers must also weigh the various currencies – pay, benefits, flexibility, learning and development, work environment, connections – accepted by today’s workers.

Increased employee appetite for accessible, applicable workplace data
Because employees have grown accustomed to fast and easy access to information in their personal lives – about restaurants and television shows, for instance – they would expect information at the workplace to be just as accessible. This knowledge would help make them smarter, more responsive workers.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning for HR and operations
Advancements in technology have simplified tasks and helped solve real business problems.  “AI can dramatically speed up time-consuming, everyday tasks while proactively identifying potential compliance risks and employee burnout concerns before they become a problem. Machine learning algorithms deliver better forecasting while enabling technology to act as a digital consultant,” said Maroney.

As such, managers and employees must be trained to use this ability to mine information. And because their daily responsibilities have been lightened, they would now have the time and energy to accomplish strategic tasks.

The human side of leadership
Because automation now takes care of the menial, time-consuming tasks in an organization, employees expect to see and hear more of their bosses. Managers now have more time to deal with their colleagues, and employees expect the interaction to be meaningful. There is now an opportunity for managers to “forge relationships, develop their people, and build the courage it takes to be a great leader,” said Maroney in her blog post.

Boomers retire
Thousands of baby boomers retire each day, but it’s not a matter of working one day and not working the next. Instead, baby boomers ease into retirement by working part-time hours or taking on an entirely new, lower-paying job with more meaning.

This trend will “challenge organizations to test their succession planning, deliver meaningful roles to employees sun-setting their careers, and maintain productivity and engagement of employees who are continuing to work because they can’t afford to retire.”
 

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