2017 was all about rewriting the talent approach for the digital age. The buzzwords that made an impact on the workplace could be broadly categorized into two areas: technology-centric and people-centric. On the HR technology front, areas like artificial intelligence and talent analytics made a difference in the ways of working. On the people-side, initiatives were centered on the employee experience, candidate experience, productivity, etc. As these emerging concepts and technologies get further ingrained in the work norms, we expect 2018 to be full of exciting opportunities for the HR arena. 2018 is expected to be more about “Ring out the old, enhance the New”, rather than “Ring out the old, ring in the new”.
Here is what to expect in talent terms, in the coming year.
1. High productivity-focus
With competition and a high optimization focus, productivity will continue to be a primary organizational agenda. “Doing more with less” will take on new meaning as companies strive to maximize returns from investments in both people and processes. We can expect new technological tools being adopted to automate the mundane and cut the clutter. People will then be able to focus on strategic agendas that will help make a real difference to performance. This may mean more investments in HR technology going ahead. Of course, it helps that organizations are offering smarter and affordable productivity suites, like BizMerlin’s enterprise application.
2. More people-empowerment
2017 was the beginning of people being placed at the center of organizational processes in terms of ownership and autonomy. For example, we have seen performance management going this way, with employee-driven check-ins. 2018 will see this trend sweep across all HR functions. Organizations will start becoming mere enablers for learning and development, career progression, rewards, HRIS, etc. Employees will be given the tools to seek information, update information, and learn and perform. The onus of advancement will sit with the employee, and therein create an empowered workforce. This means that HR must design, develop and deploy the right tools and interventions to achieve the right balance between empowerment and control.
3. The rise of the gig workforce
We are already seeing this trend become big, but 2018 is expected to be a hallmark in the rise of the gig economy. A diverse workforce (millennials, returnees, contractors, etc.) will demand constructs such as flexibility, agility, and autonomy to the point of crafting their own jobs. HR must be prepared on all fronts- legal, hiring, learning, workforce planning, rewards management, communication, etc. to tackle this very different workforce. This will call for new enterprise tools, thereby creating an HR tech opportunity for comprehensive HR ERPs for varied workforce types.
4. Learning will take on new forms
Upskilling and retraining will become a dire need as companies look to leverage existing employees to deliver the business objectives. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, currently 6.2 million job openings in America that are unfilled, which is up from 5.6 million during the same time in 2016. To bridge this gap organizations will need to create a “learning pull” rather than the current push strategy. This is possible if organizations offer innovative learning impetus like gamification, social learning, microlearning, just-in-time learning, etc which is in line with learners’ needs. We can expect higher investments in these areas of L&D.
5. AI will make it big
Artificial intelligence made ripples in 2017, in 2018 it is expected to make bigger waves. The World Economic Forum “Global Shapers Study” asked millennials what the next big technology trend was globally, almost a third said AI. For example, HR chatbots are expected to change the way employee queries are addressed, or break down communication barriers across silos.
6. The need to future-proof
We will see an increasing focus on future-proofing the organization, with talent interventions becoming more futuristic rather than “here and now”. This will call for better people analytics capabilities such as forecasting skill requirements for tomorrow. Organizations will need to bridge this gap by investing in the future, and not just focusing on immediate returns.
Many of these trends are already happening in a fledgling manner. 2018 will see them growing. Organizations have realized that uncertainty will continue to rule the roost, and they want to equip themselves with the right tools and techniques early-on to manage this uncertainty. 2018 will be a year of balancing the technological bent with the people-touch so as to attract, engage and retain talent. This means solution providers like BizMerlin will offer solution enhancements across HR domains. Now is the time for HR leaders to look out for such need-based HR solutions and leverage them to extract the best from their human capital.