Top Trends for HR and Senior Leaders to Watch for in 2017

As 2016 draws to a close, businesses are finalizing their year-end review processes and beginning their 2017 goals setting and projection plans. With the start of a new year, employees and employers alike are ready to make the most of the fresh start, expanding business and taking their brand to the next level.

Today’s business environment changes daily, and with the help of new human resources technology, what was “in” today, is almost obsolete 6 months from now. However, here are some of the top trends for HR and Senior Leaders to watch for in 2017:

  1. Recruiting

The bloodline for any business is the people who make things happen. According to ManpowerGroup’s recent Talent Shortage Survey, 40 percent of employers say they struggled to find talented candidates to fill jobs in 2016. Hardest jobs to fill around the globe referenced in the survey include: sales representatives, engineers, technicians, drivers, accounting and finance professionals, machine operators, secretaries and receptionists.

While recruiting seems like a resounding “duh” in regards to trends, there is substantial movement toward a major disruption in the hiring and overall human resources process, with the advancing technologies of artificial intelligence. The best of A.I. predictions include:

  • An actual increase in the humanization of the hiring process. With vetting tools and language programs like word2vec, A.I. has the potential to vet applicants at a faster rate than humans, while beginning human-like conversations with potential hires. This will bring a face-to-face more quickly, helping both candidates and HR personnel fulfill their needs. It also has the potential to politely respond to declined candidates, decreasing the ever growing frustration of candidates who never hear back from companies to which they apply. It stands to reason that such a communication is certainly a more humane approach to the hiring process.
  • A real look at data. Quite simply, A.I. will help human resources get real about their data. In order for the tools and processes to be maximized and actually benefit the hiring process, analytics will need to be measured and consistently adjusted. With all the analytics and information in the cloud available today, a well-honed process can powerfully impact the future of the company.
  • Increased inclusion. A recent study shows that we’re still hiring people who are similar to ourselves. When it comes down to it, our hiring practices are not just biased, they are actually detrimental to the development of our culture and company. For example, hiring someone based on where they went to school, instead of your understanding of how well they work with others is a bias that can turn into disaster. A.I. will be able to remove those types of bias out of the screening process when looking for the most qualified candidates.

2. Onboarding

It is predicted that 2017 will be a record year for onboarding solution buys. In fact, according to Sierra-Cedar’s HR Systems Survey, organizations have onboarding as a top initiative for 2017, second only to…you got it, recruiting. With research showing that organizations with a standard onboarding process experience 54% greater new hire productivity, along with 50% greater new hire retention, it’s no wonder companies are committed to top-notch onboarding processes.

Specifically, organizations are looking for more effective Cloud/SaaS HR solutions. Cloud-based/SaaS onboarding platforms that provide streamlined processes and are easily scalable and repeatable, allow organizations to strategically spend resources, and maximize the time and talents on parts of the business that require the human touch. Additionally, these solutions meet the demands of a highly mobile workforce, allowing communication and hiring tasks to be met from anywhere on any connected device.

3. Changing Role of HR

Mikko Koskinen, HR and recruitment manager at Smarp, says, “There is no more traditional HR function, but more of a company culture operations. The goal of culture operations should also be to make your employees succeed in what they do rather than just making new processes to follow.”

HR is still often perceived as “policy makers.” However, more companies are realizing the dynamic opportunity of integrating HR into the overall cultural thought process. “Only recently have companies begun to think of HR as a thought leadership partner,” says David Razon, director of employee experience at Instacart.

And yet, more and more, HR is being asked to lead the development of the company’s overall culture that includes: hiring, new employee onboarding, employee experience, continued education for staff, coordination of communication for a mobile workforce, more inclusive workspaces, coordination with remote workers, and more. What was once perceived as a position whose main purpose was to set-up processes, is now trending toward a more dynamic and integrated function into the entire make-up of the company, affecting company culture, employee engagement and retention, and the overall profitability of the business.

With a continued shift in the role of HR for 2017, it promises to be a time of empowerment and opportunity for cutting-edge HR personnel, while likely proving difficult for HR leaders who are comfortable in more traditional views of the position.

As The World Turns

We know things never end up exactly as we thought they would, and it seems that the greatest times in life and business come from things we never expected. That’s just the way the world turns. But for all the trends, predictions, and planning, one thing is certain for 2017: It will turn out the way it does!

Here’s to a peaceful, prosperous, and exciting 2017!