We all know that 2016 wasn’t a great one for predictions. Events that we thought we had pegged turned out completely differently to how we expected and, if we’re being honest, 2016 has knocked most of us for six.
If the Trump election and Brexit have shown us anything, it’s that predictions and polls don’t always get it right but, none the less, it’s useful to look at emerging trends within our industry and take an educated guess at where the next year will lead us.
So, as the prediction defying year that was 2016 draws to a close, these are our top 5 predictions of what HR – and business landscape as a whole – will look like in the next 12 months…
1. Employee wellbeing
As we enter 2017, the commercial landscape is an unfamiliar one. Instability in the market resulting from factors like concerns over Brexit are compounding daily challenges for businesses with many expected to stretch resources, work harder and achieve more with less.
With such demands on budgets, keeping valued employees happy is no longer a nice by-product but, by necessity, the focus of many HR departments.
Turnover can cost a business up to 20% in annual staff salary costs (this rises to more than 200% for executive positions) so keeping hold of employees, through an increased focus on employee wellbeing, is key next year.
For HR departments, the challenge here is keeping abreast of the mood of the workplace and identifying areas where dissatisfaction is creeping in.
The right software can help identify potential areas where employees feel undervalued and encourage feedback to open up a two way dialogue where employees feel heard as a way of reducing attrition and raising morale.
Making sure employees are aware of, and feel in control of their remuneration and benefits will also benefit employee satisfaction. Software that allows your employees to instantly view their rewards package and provides a degree of control over their own benefits will contribute towards increasing employee wellbeing.
2. Mobile adaptability
2017 will see the launch of the iPhone 8 and, according to those in the know, create a big shake up in the smart phone industry. As rumours about the launch are rife, one thing we know for certain is that employees and HR professionals will be accessing work on their mobile phones more than ever before.
Zenith predict that 75% of internet usage will be on a mobile in 2017, which means more employees will use mobile devices to manage their time, check their benefits, manage their training, communicate with HR and clock in.
HR departments that embrace this change and adapt their software provision to better fit the needs of their users, will be the ones who capitalise on these changes in the next 12 months.
As technology changes, so too should HR platforms and the experiences they deliver.
The development of cloud and mobile technologies will offer an opportunity for HR departments to rethink their processes and more fully engage the hearts and minds of employees.
3. Efficiency within HR
The same budget constraints that will lead to an emphasis on keeping employees happy will also impact on HR departments themselves and see a streamlining of the industry, with more processes automated and an increasing demand for SaaS as a way of simplifying processes, increasing efficiency and reducing the costs of IT infrastructure.
2017 will see a much greater emphasis on employee empowerment within the whole work environment, which means many companies will need to evaluate the robustness of the software used to facilitate engagement and cultural fit.
HR technology will play a large role in this, accelerating this philosophical shift and bringing together sophisticated people analytics, whenever/wherever self-servicing, and greater social connection are required.
Any software or technology that helps HR departments work more efficiently will be a key focus over the next 12 months.
4. Next Generation Performance Management
If the statistics are to be believed, one of the key trends in HR in 2017 is going to be a focus on next generation performance management.
Annual reviews are fast becoming outdated with employees asking for more regular feedback and a shift from performance review (where focus is on recent projects) to performance coaching (where long-term goal development is key and employees’ skills are developed with career objectives in mind).
78% of employees say they would stay with their employer if they knew their career path within the business, and HR managers are going to be key in implementing this shift in performance management to facilitate that growth.
Frequent feedback is becoming a necessity in performance management programs as nearly 60% of employees say they would like to receive feedback on a daily, or weekly basis and HR will need to evolve in 2017 to accommodate this need.
Next generation HR software offers performance feedback, ongoing growth conversations that supplement annual reviews, and more streamlined and effective succession planning. HR technology will focus on rethinking the way we measure performance and manage careers in 2017 to enable individual learning paths to be implemented and put systems in place to provide feedback and measure engagement.
5. Cloud Based Technology
There has been a marked increase in businesses using cloud based technology in the last few years and this will accelerate in 2017 as more companies realise the need for the flexibility, agility and scalability that cloud based HR technology offers.
The amount of data companies process, and need to access quickly and easily, is growing, so cloud storage makes sense.
As more employees embrace flexible working, the need for individuals to be able to log on and access data anywhere in the world is growing so the rigidity of older HR processes is too limiting for this new workplace landscape.
Using cloud based HR provides universal access for employees and HR departments, while also reducing hardware costs and therefore business expenditure overall.
In a year where employee satisfaction and tight budgets combine, 2017 will undoubtedly see an increase in cloud based HR.
So, as we put down the mince pies and prepare to usher in a New Year with all the challenges and opportunities a fresh 12 months brings, we believe we’ll see a definite shift next year away from stagnant HR practices to more mobile, flexible, dynamic HR directives that make good use of mobile technological developments and cloud based software.
2017 will see improved employee engagement, streamlined and efficient HR processes, ever evolving technology and, above all, businesses working hard and striving for efficiency in an uncertain business landscape.