In a world that’s focused more on disruption, innovation and ideas, it is sometimes natural to ignore the ideas and trends that are affecting HR departments. After all, it is the folks in the HR department who hire the people who go on to come up with all those disruptive ideas, right?
Let’s take a moment to find out what are the top trends, in no particular order, in HR today.
#1 It’s a job seeker’s market
Hiring is on the rise and certain skill sets in all industries are hot right now. But there are challenges too. Every industry has some problematic jobs, those that are constantly in need of the right employees – in hospitals it’s good doctors, software engineers in IT, and line engineers in utility services.
With no immediate solution to this shortage of talent, it becomes all the more critical for employers to retain their talent by focusing on workforce development. This works two ways – existing employees do not go looking for a change, and potential employees look at the company as a way to better their careers.
#2 Paid time off is precious
It is important to offer paid time off to employees, especially parental leave and sick leave. Many companies globally, including Adobe, Netflix and Nestle, and closer home, Infosys and TCS have made news with their much-needed paid paternal leave policies.
While many companies have these leaves in place, not many employees take them simply because they are not aware of them. Transparency and clear communication with regards to leaves is critical in making more employees aware of their rights.
#3 Wellness and self-funded healthcare plans
Many employers are going out of their way to offer economical health benefits to their employees without compromising on quality. Some of these include wellness programs, onsite health centers and even self-funded health plans. When an employer focuses on employee wellness, it not only makes them feel cared for but also happier. By bringing healthcare into the organisation, employers are helping reduce the cost of healthcare that employees would need to receive.
#4 Goodbye annual raise; hello variable yearly bonus
One trend that is sweeping HR is the drop in yearly fixed salary raise and an increase in variable bonuses. Employees too seem to prefer a yearly bonus – they feel that gives them ‘greater control’ as it is often a reflection of their performance. The shift away from annual raises is also representative of a more holistic approach that companies have taken towards compensation and benefits. Companies that offer a strong healthcare program or have an amazing workplace culture can afford to pay slightly lower salaries. Eventually it is all about what employees want.
#5 The end of annual reviews
Many employees seem to be opting for regular feedback rather than an annual one. This is in part because of app-enabled technology and millennials too. Most next generation employees believe that an annual review system is cumbersome and doesn’t really have a benefit, neither for the employee nor the employer. With everything in their lives immediate and tech-enabled, an annual review is dying a fast death indeed.
It is interesting to note that companies like GE are swapping their ancient, analog systems for supple, mobile-enabled programs. But there’s a challenge – any performance review should continue to remain objective and minimize bias, which means collecting more data and not less.
#6 Managing multiple generations is more important than ever
Let’s accept that millennials are now the majority in any organisation, but that does not mean sidestepping Gen X and Baby Boomers. If anything, employers need to ask themselves how they can make all generations work together while moving forward.
The good news is that the needs of the millennials and Gen X are not too different. Both need instant access to information, so it might make sense to move beyond emails and start using mobile apps and other newer messaging tools. Interestingly, the Baby Boomers generation too is quite open to adopting these new pieces of tech.
Millennials might tend to be more idealistic, but they and Baby Boomers want the same things – an opportunity to work hard and to make the world better. Keep communication lines open and tell all employees that learning is a two-way street.
#7 Gamification of HR
Most HR policies sound great but implementing many of them is quite cumbersome, to tell the truth. HR tech accessibility is the biggest grouse, with some of it for employers only, leaving employee, the real beneficiaries, out of the loop.
More and more HR teams are starting to release the benefits of implementing technology that will help everyone within the organisation.
Accessible apps and gamification of HR is gaining momentum. Apps that can be accessed via computers at work and even the mobile phone are becoming increasingly popular. Corporate learning is one such aspect that has benefited greatly. Quizzes, social media contests and friendly competition can encourage daily interactions too.
Innovation and disruption seems to be a natural expectation of marketing, sales, production, design and other traditional creative departments. However, as people evolve and gravitate towards these newer ways of working, it is imperative that the HR departments play catch up and find innovative and disruptive ways to engage and retain the talent in their organisations.