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3 Key Human Resource Trends to Watch in 2017

By vts | January 1, 2017
3 Key Human Resource Trends to Watch in 2017

Alexander Graham Bell knew a thing or two about revolutionary success. The inventor of the telephone said, “Before anything else, preparation is the key.” As your company transitions from one year to the next, what human resource trends should you watch for to prepare for success?

2016 saw plenty of change. Companies like yours had to rethink the traditional workspace, synthesize the most useful tech advances, and adapt for an ever-changing and diverse workforce. Businesses got bigger and smaller—at the same time—through expanding globalization and inter-connected, worldwide teams.

The year also brought plenty of surprises. No matter the New Year predictions, nothing ever unfolds exactly as planned. In spite of technical advances, qualified and equipped people will ultimately determine your company’s ability to respond to the challenges that lie ahead.

As you prepare your teams for another year of growth, here are 3 key human resource trends to keep an eye on in 2017:

1. Pursuing Employee Satisfaction

HR personnel nationwide are seeing a growing emphasis on the overall satisfaction of employees. As leaders and influencers in an organization, you won’t be simply selling product to consumers, you’ll be selling your company on an ongoing basis to potential and current employees.

Consumerization: The world your employees go home to after work is constantly adapting to their lifestyles. Personalized Netflix recommendations, custom Internet surfing experiences, personality-matching dating profiles—people are coming to expect a certain level of customization as consumers. Employees are looking for the same customization, interaction, and individual experiences they find outside the workplace, in the workplace.

Culture: Corporate culture will continue to be front-and-center in 2017, because employee satisfaction depends on it. Your ability to get and keep the best employees will be greatly influenced by the heath of your company culture.

Millennials: It’s no secret that the millennial generation has arrived. By 2020, over half of the workforce will be made of those born after 1980. Your company’s recruiting must harness the unique strengths and motivations of these employees and leverage their differing goals and responses to leadership styles.

2. Embracing Organic Learning

If employees’ mindsets are changing, it makes sense that the leadership approach needed to guide and develop that changing workforce must adapt. We’re seeing trends towards more organic, open learning environments, where leaders work with their employees instead of simply above them.

Performance Reviews: Grading or rating employees is on the way out as organizations switch to an emphasis on “performance consulting.” Instead of labeling or rating team members, help your employees improve by coaching their potential in concrete ways. Advances in real-time feedback and use of analytics will facilitate better communication amongst Human Resource heads, other C-suite leaders, and the rest of the organization.

Structure: Organizational design is changing. Your workplace doesn’t have to hold on to a static hierarchy. Leaders are seeing positive results as they reinventing their traditional structure into a more fluid, highly communicative network of teams. Smaller teams can adapt more flexibly, share useful information rapidly, and make powerful progress quickly.

Hierarchical to Relational: A lot of upper management leaders are continuing the shift from traditional, top-down delegation to a more engaged, relational approach. The leaders reaping rewards are those who value their employees as people and develop their potential as leaders instead of treating them as replaceable parts.

3. Using Digital Resources

As technology advances, businesses are entering a new age of digital resources. Those companies who prepare their teams to use the tech will experience a more successful synthesis in 2017. Of course, HR departments are often the slowest to adopt new technology options. Doing so can give your organization a cutting edge competitive advantage.

Technology Fears: Predictive/prescriptive algorithms and other performance management tools have been on the rise for HR in recent years. We’re seeing both exciting new advances and signs of pushback from uncertain employees and leaders. HR leaders will need to figure out how to overcome aversion to algorithm intelligence and other technology changes in the workplace. Avoiding it will only put your company behind the curve.

Data Ownership: With greater technology and analytics in play, organizations like yours will need to keep an eye on data ownership issues and circumvent potential problems before they develop. This trend connects back to employee satisfaction. People are open to sharing information with apps, websites, and products because they experience a reward. If they share their data with their employers, they will expect to experience similar positive benefits.

We’re looking forward to keeping you informed about best practices for these and other trends in 2017. We hope that by understanding these trends, your leaders and managers will gain the confidence to meet the challenge of the new year. But we also understand that every business is different. Change often comes slower than expected. And innovation is unpredictable by nature. What will happen this year for sure? Nobody knows.

What we do know for sure is that one thing never changes: the key to growth is people development. Your people are the ones your company will call onto respond to change, execute your plans, and apply the latest technology or workplace theories. Our founder John C. Maxwell says, “People knowledge is more important than product knowledge.” And that has never been truer than in today’s workplace where how we apply information is so critical to success.

The human element matters more than ever. Bottom line: no matter the changes and challenges that arise, your people will continue to be your greatest asset in 2017.

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