As we close out another year, we don’t have much time to kick up our feet before we have to get hard to work on our 2018 goals. We’ve put together a list of 10 HR Trends for 2018 to keep your eye on.
1. Artificial Intelligence
AI is making its way into our organizations’ day-to-day operations, and that means your HR department, too. AI is already invisibly working for your department (think of something as small as the spam filter on your email), and 2018 is going to be its year to come to the forefront of your strategy. Before you close your screen and run off scared, make it a priority to understand artificial intelligence and how it enhances work versus threatening human jobs. For example how often do you log on to a site to look up how to fix something or shop for a gift online and a chat screen pops up? If you’ve ever used the chat feature, you know it works and it makes sense. HR provides a lot of customer service support, so why not automate some of it via some AI?
2. Harassment Training
This one should go without saying, but anti-sexual harassment trainings are going to be pervasive on the calendar. This training doesn’t necessarily have to come from your in-house HR team, but HR is going to be heavily involved in saturating their organizations with the right training and policies to make sure everyone knows how to keep their hands and their comments to themselves.
3. Diversity and Exclusion?
HR 2018 is going to be faced with a focus on how inclusion may cause exclusion. We need to understand and anticipate how this can happen. For example, if your organization starts a young professionals’ group, do the parameters of that group exclude another group of people? What are our inclusion efforts doing to exclude and how can we mitigate risk by addressing this question head on?
4. Micro Education as a Real Qualification
Technology changes fast, and simply having a 4-year degree doesn’t mean an employee is keeping up with those changes. Several organizations still require a traditional education, but as more and more credible micro-education options become available, more workplaces are going to accept these short, online courses as a viable source of learning. Many organizations are using micro-education as a continuing education option, as the times, they are a-changing! If your organization is skeptical of micro-education, consider doing some skills testing to verify that candidates can demonstrate what they say they know how to do! HR is going to be tasked with exploring micro-education and integrating it into their talent acquisition, compensation and performance management strategy.
5. Millennial Executives
Millennials are moving up to roles at the top level of your company. This means a couple of things for HR in 2018: HR is going to spend some time backfilling these vacated positions and providing management coaching. This coaching is not “because they are millennials,” but because millennials are new to higher level management positions and need to be equipped with the right resources.
6. Conversations Using HR Analytics
Big data and HR analytics are nothing new, but HR will take the work we’ve been doing in this area for the last few years and really put it into motion in 2018 outside the HR department. We will continue to use HR analytics to share valuable insights with top-level executives and the rest of the company. However, as more HR departments work towards transparency, more HR professionals need not only to understand how our analytics impact our organization but also how to share what we know in plain language everyone can understand when we discuss HR’s data-driven solutions for helping our organization reach its business objectives.
7. Employee Wellness
HR has been trying to get employee wellness right for years. With healthcare changes and costs rising, HR departments have taken responsibility for encouraging and educating employees, and, after some trial and error, many HR departments have finally found the sweet spot when it comes to offering useful resources and respecting employees’ privacy. For example, we started out by trying to get everyone to meet a step goal every day or by rewarding employees who quit smoking, but we now look at the specific needs of our employee population and cater our wellness initiatives to real risks that we want to help our people avoid. A smoking cessation plan is a great idea, but if you don’t have a lot of smokers in your employee population, then you’ll be wasting your time putting together a resource that doesn’t help the needs of those within your organization.
8. The Fight for Talent
Unemployment rates are lower than they’ve been in years, and that means we aren’t just fighting for the best of the best experienced employees, we are also fighting for solid entry-level candidates too. This is a good opportunity for HR to take a deep dive into their organization’s talent needs and learn how to screen candidates quickly and get them on the job before they lose interest. Using skills testing as part of your screening process will help your organization identify what candidates are capable of and, if you find they have a skills gap, determine if you have the resources for training. Talent acquisition during a period with a 4% unemployment rate will require creativity, so HR will to need to use its resources wisely!
9. Compensation Overhaul
Compensation has many moving factors, and organizations that lack a solid compensation strategy will find themselves in the weeds in 2018. HR has a lot of work to do to make sure we educate interviewers and hiring managers on the new don’ts of salary-related questions: New laws in several states have banned prospective employers from asking questions about a candidate’s previous salary. The reality is, we are all going to have to adopt the rule that we can’t ask about previous compensation, so now is the time to drop any compensation discussion strategy you may have used in the past and find a new and improved approach that satisfies everyone’s needs. To do this, HR must focus on determining fair pay for skills, experience, and education across the organization as we trend towards compensating for the role, not the person.
10. Performance Management
HR professionals have been trying to pinpoint the best performance management system for years, and forecasts for 2018 show that organizations are turning traditional performance management on its side by giving employees more responsibility. HR will still use its tools and provide training, but, with every other article telling HR which generation wants what in the ways of feedback, some organizations are giving employees the responsibility to ensure a truly individualized approach.
One example is 360-degree feedback in which an employee requests anonymous feedback from the people with whom he or she works directly (supervisors, coworkers, people who report to you, customers, etc.). The employee receives the feedback results directly, noting strengths, weaknesses, and areas where professional development is needed. He or she may choose to discuss the results with a supervisor, or not. This creates an opportunity for your organization to offer employees individualized skills testing to sharpen their skills and gives your employees the chance to explore areas they’ve identified as a strength or interest.
2018 will be a year of pulling in all the great data and information we’ve gathered from the last few years and using it to build a strategy that fits the organizations we serve instead of trying to apply a one-size-fits-all solution. What does your HR department has planned to tackle in the upcoming year?
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Kristina Minyard is currently the Director of Ignite Education in Huntsville, AL. She has over 11 years experience in HR, Recruiting, and Business Development. She utilizes her skills and experience in HR Consulting, Technical Recruiting, HR Policies, Staffing Services, and Labor Relations to create content on her blog hrpockets.com and other platforms.