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Top 10 HR Trends 2018

The world is changing fast and drastically – challenging Human Resources leaders to respond and shape the future. Discover our top 10 HR trends that impact your company and how you work in 2018. We have captured all of the trends in an infographic at the end of the article.

Over the past view years, Human Resources has been challenged like never before and the disruption is continuing. HR has to change in the way HR works and rethink the way it approaches the whole HR value chain in order to enable the organization to deliver results.

With the new year upon us, we ask ourselves: What will it bring? How are we going to face respond and create better places of work? Here are the some of the trends we are expecting to dominate HR in 2018. They represent the way HR is responding to a world of work that is changing drastically and rapidly.

  1. Redesign of the workplace: Looking at 21st Century workplaces, we realize everything about work – what we expect from our work, how and where we work, what technologies we use and with whom we work – is changing at an accelerated pace. As organizations, but especially as Human Resources (HR), we need to anticipate the future and take action to redesign our workplaces and work arrangements to fit the demands of modern organizations that need to be flexible and nimble, of executives that need to lead work as well as people, and of employees who come with their own set of perceptions and expectations.
  2. Employee experiences to beat the engagement crisis: Employees in general – and digital natives in particular – are no longer only looking for a career: They seek an experience. And for that, one size certainly no longer fits all. Employees want to be included in shaping their workspace and they definitely want a voice – not only when it comes to their own career development, but across the whole HR value chain. For this reason, more and more organizations start to create personalized experiences along the entire employee journey in an effort to address the employee engagement crises (also known as consumerization of HR or TalentSumerization).
  3. Personalized learning and growth opportunities: To be successful in a knowledge-based economy, companies need to learn faster than their competitors. They can no longer afford to differentiate between work and learning: Learning must be embedded into the workflow. In order words: To work is to learn (and teach) and vice versa. This continuous learning necessity aligns with the aspiration of employees of all generations to learn and develop professionally. But expensive and often ineffective classroom training is giving way to a diverse range of learning and knowledge sharing forms from on-demand learning systems to low-tech social learning. The opportunities are limitless, and it is a key challenge for HR to provide impactful learning solutions that will create a learning experience tailored to the individual as well as corporate capabilities and needs.
  4. Small HR teams deliver value through iterative agile approach: People are a competitive differentiator – and HR in forward-thinking organizations is critically assessing and redefining the way HR thinks about itself, how HR is organized and how HR works. More and more organizations are shifting to an iterative agile way of working. They organize HR around value streams and design interdisciplinary teams that co-create and co-deliver value in an iterative way. It is a very employee-centric approach and it is this strong focus on people, that will ensure that they remain competitive in attracting, engaging, and inspiring top talent. This will turn HR from a cost center (fighting to proof their value) to a business driver (and – yes – get them that seat at the table).
  5. Empowerment of employees: Over the past two decades or so, the business world has shifted away from command-and-control micromanagement towards inspiring leadership. Modern leaders must be able to lead work as well as people. A role that has changed immensely – especially with the application of Scrum and other agile ways of working. This empowerment of individuals and teams comes with a power shift, that changes the whole dialogue and dynamic between boss and subordinates. And managers are no longer the sole decision makers and keepers of knowledge and wisdom. To innovate and contribute, people must be allowed to manage themselves with the necessary autonomy and empowerment.
  6. Gamification to improve talent acquisition: Employers continue to face a dwindling talent pool and find it harder to connect with suitable candidates. They realize the need to stand out and make first impressions count. Ever more companies focus on creating a unique hiring experience through gamification. They take the essence of games — attributes such as fun, play, transparency, design, competition and yes, addiction— and apply them to their talent acquisition process. This ranges from Hiring Hackathons to the implementation of augmented and virtual reality into the hiring process.
  7. Talent fluidity & redefined career approach: Career paths are becoming more fluid, multifaceted, and individualized than ever before. And modern careers are more about personal choices and meaningful growth than climbing a (fast disappearing) hierarchical ladder. More and more organizations invest in career coaching in order to connect regularly with employees and help them outline their individual growth profile. This equips the organization with a previously untapped understanding of their talent pipeline. HR no longer depends on a rating from an annual appraisal, because they know their people on a personal, authentic level. And offering multi-directional career not only makes them more attractive as an employer, it also allows them to be more nimble in the way they staff their initiatives and boost talent mobility.
  8. Smart analytics and accountability to boost performance: A few years ago, companies across all industries were ditching employee appraisals. But the first round of euphoria has since died down and disillusionment has taken over. Whereas some organizations were successful in redefining their performance management approach, others are still struggling to make it work. But going back to the old ways in an attempt to fix it is not the solution. Instead, they must rethink their way of working and apply smart analytics that allows teams to commit to and work on the right things and course-correct if and as need be. This allows teams to boost their performance and be accountable for their results.
  9. Transparency becomes the new controlling: In an increasingly connected, competitive, and rapidly changing business environment, it is crucial for employees to have quick access to all relevant information and expertise needed to act upon. This requires organizations to be more open and transparent. And secrecy, bureaucracy, and restrictions are replaced by a system of self-authorization and transparency. Many businesses still struggle with this. Putting all facts on the table requires trust and the willingness for conversations to take place in an open and honest way. But in turns, transparency also creates trusts. It helps to foster better alignment and avoid unnecessary risk taking and problems get solved faster. Furthermore, it enables sharing and collaboration and leads to better relationships with people and higher engagement.
  10. Expansion of talent mining and flexible workforce planning: Sourcing candidates has in a way become easier with the increasing access to human capital data, but at the same time, it has also become more difficult to find the proverbial needle in the haystack. In a world where the success of the organization hinges on its ability to hire people with the right attitude and personality to thrive in a business that is likely to look different tomorrow, it is paramount to look beyond the data and be able to connect with people on a personal level. Something that is increasingly difficult – if not impossible – to do with an automated candidate sourcing solution. Some of the best potential candidates are simply not found through data platforms or may be filtered out despite their cultural fit. The real challenge lies in quickly identifying all of the best people available and in building a strong talent pool that allows the workforce planning team to act swiftly and provide talents where they are needed.

HR leaders will need to respond to these (and other) challenges in one way or another. And even though it is probably not going to be an easy journey and the unprecedented scale and pace of change may certainly seem daunting, the evolution of HR will continue regardless. But being aware of the challenges ahead allows you to respond and shape the future.

Are you ready to face the 2018 challenges?


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View & download our infographic on the Top 10 HR Trends 2018

About JLS - Agile HR Transformation Consulting

JLS is a woman-owned, global transformation consultancy with a passion for building more robust, responsive, and innovative businesses through Agile HR.