7 Workforce & HR Trends to Look Out For in 2018

by | 9 Jan, 2018

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Now that 2017 has come to a close, employers are looking to the future and creating or adjusting workforce management strategies for the year ahead. Here are some trends and changes that experts predict will play a role in workforce management and human resources in 2018:

An Eye for Analytics: We are now entering a time where HR analytics are no longer considered a niche part of Human Resources, but rather an established and key business function. HR analytics refers to applying analytic processes to HR practices to glean insights and uncover the ROI of various tactics. According to the High Impact People Analytics Study from Deloitte,  69% of companies are taking steps to build a people analytics database, compared to only 10-15% before. Now, HR analytics have evolved from being simply about ROI. They can now be used for “measuring diversity, gender pay equity, skills gaps, labor utilization, retention rates, real-time feedback, and even organizational network analysis,” according to Forbes.

Increased Adoption of HR Software: The incorporation of employee analytics is just one piece of the puzzle when it comes to the ever-increasing digitalization of the entire HR realm, and the workplace itself. 2018 will see a large uptick in the adoption of HR software into HR processes, especially recruitment, employee retention, and attrition. In particular, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) will reshape the way certain processes are carried out. There are already a number of companies, such as Arya, offering an AI recruiting platform that “ identifies what makes a high-quality candidate through machine learning, big data, and behavioral pattern recognition”, and brings them into the candidate pipeline.

Gig Economy Redefining the Workplace: The “gig economy” is a term used to describe the shift towards temporary, short-term jobs, with many companies opting to hire contractors or freelancers as opposed to long-term employees. An example of the gig economy in action that we all know is Uber, where drivers are hired not as actual employees of Uber, but as short-term contractors, and thus receive no benefits. In 2018, more employers may be tempted to move towards this model, but must also consider the potential repercussions.

Continuous Feedback and Learning: In recent years, employee interest in performance reviews has been trending down. Many employees today are uninterested in having performance reviews at a specific time, such as annually, and instead prefer to receive continuous, constructive feedback. 2018 will usher in an era of continuous feedback and learning in the workplace, with the help of new tools such as learning management software (LMS).

The Rise of Telecommuting: Research tells us that the volume of employees that have telecommuted or “worked remotely”, has risen to 44%, up from 39% in 2012. With the internet being such a crucial component in the work of so many employees, there is more freedom for people to work wherever they have access to it. In addition, younger employees in particular place a high value on flexibility in the workplace, so more employers will begin to offer the ability to telecommute in order to attract and retain talent.

Changing Political Regulations: This may not be a new trend, but it is something that will continue to be important to pay careful attention to in 2018.The Trump administration is consistently in the headlines regarding policy changes that could greatly impact employers and the workforce such as changes and reductions in regulations surrounding healthcare, pay equity, immigration, paid time off, and more. Employers must be proactive in monitoring these changes and knowing how it will impact their business, and the steps they must take to accommodate the changes.

Generational Breadth: We are at a very interesting and complicated time, with four generations now making up the workforce. That being said, research continues to show that many businesses are failing to understand and take steps to meet the unique needs of each generation. For example, the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) reports that only 36 percent of businesses have actually taken a look at internal policies and practices in place to address older employees in the workforce. Each generation has unique desires and needs, and sometimes they can conflict with the desires of needs of other generations. Employers must be aware of the general characteristics of each generation that makes up their workforce, and what their unique preferences and working styles are. Furthermore, employers must be prepared to take action to address these unique needs, such as developing a plan to help the oldest generation of the workforce prepare for retirement.

With all of these changes taking shape in 2018, it is critical for business owners to invest time and resources to prepare for them. Doing so, however, can detract from the other functions of the business that help it to grow. Luckily, business owners do not need to become bogged down the burden of keeping up with HR and workforce trends. By partnering with Navigate, business owners can instead remain focused on the other day-to-day functions of the business that generate revenue and create growth. If you are interested in learning more specifically about how Navigate can help your small business in 2018, contact us today to request a free HR consultation.

Leah Bury
Leah Bury was former Marketing Manager at Navigate PEO, and holds a BS from Northeastern University. She contributed pieces and HR tips and created The Compass, our monthly newsletter!

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Disclaimer: this article does not represent expert advice and is provided for informational purposes. Please get in touch if you would like expert HR advice.