The profession of HR has seen a number of changes in the last several years. Some of these changes have moved from the realm of a “trend” that some departments were trying out to a “best practice” that is accepted as the way to do business. Here are five such trends that are, or are in the process of becoming, best practices.
Though far from being universally accepted, the use of social media has reached the point where most HR departments acknowledge its importance in their day-to-day operations. Used most heavily as a recruiting tool, social media has made its way into the background check process and as a communication tool. Using Facebook or Twitter to communicate to employees and candidates has become a normal process in many companies. The use of texting is also taking on greater importance when dealing with Millennial employees, many companies are finding.
The monitoring of social media has also become important in many companies, although this can be an area fraught with difficulty and requiring knowledgeable action by HR. HR needs to learn to not run afoul of the various legal issues surrounding privacy and labor violations.
There are hundreds of software solutions available to HR departments today. It would be inconceivable for a large HR department to operate without the use of an integrated HRIS and applicant tracking system (ATS). Smaller HR departments have been slower on the uptake, but more and more solutions are being designed with the small company in mind to make it more cost-effective and useful. One might argue that such a system might even be more important for a resource stressed small HR department than it might be for a big one, though my experience has been that many HR departments are resource stressed regardless of size. With the advent of “cloud systems” and the increasing integration of a number of solutions, more and more companies are moving to automate HR.
Increasingly important in the selection of candidates is finding better ways to distinguish one candidate from another and making the determination about which is the better candidate. More and more companies are turning to skills tests and behavioral profiles. We all know that candidates are inclined to embellish their abilities on a resume. Those who are practiced in the interviewing process have often honed their embellishment to fine art and can persuade an interviewer of how capable they are, only to be found out after they have been hired. As a result, more companies are turning to skills testing and behavioral testing to help them distinguish the “wannabe” candidates from the ones who truly possess the needed skills.
According to a 2014 article in SHRM by Mark Feffer, HR is increasingly embracing the concept of predictive analytics. Larger companies are increasingly compiling data from diverse sources and making predictions on who makes the best candidate, who is more likely to leave the company, who is more likely to be attracted to a benefit plan, who is likely to be the attendance problem, and more. According to Rishi Agarwal, national leader for workforce analytics at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Saratoga, the challenge for HR will be in collecting the data from diverse sources. Agarwal feels that in the next several years we will see solutions to deal with that problem. Hopefully, they will also be working on a way to scale that to smaller organizations where the data is not quite as robust.
Regardless of the size of the organization, more and more emphasis is being put on the importance of data, data collection, data analysis, and prediction from that analysis. It will continue to be a growing area of importance for all HR professionals.
The idea of HR being a business partner has been around for quite a while. The idea is being taught in every HR class and certification process out there. But it has not been embraced by all companies. In many, HR is still compliance or administrative process. However, increasingly, HR is bringing to the game the skill sets discussed above to play a larger role in helping determine strategic direction. As companies move to business models where the primary product or service is people and the decisions they make, HR is in an ideal situation to become that valued business partner.
With these trends turned best practices we will see an increasing role for HR despite the many calls for the death of HR. It is too important to not have in today’s complex world. What’s your take on this?
International HR Director for OSF Global Services, Andreea is a veteran recruiter who has seen them all. She developed HR recruiting strategies and retention programs that guarantees the success of the company. She is a people person and she handles very easy new relationships with new employees, but her most interesting challenge is to find the middle way between company’s best interests and employee’s needs. To learn more about Andreea contact her on LinkedIn.