2017 HR Trends

We asked a handful of thought leaders what they learned in the last year. Then we asked a larger group of HR influencers and leaders what they’ll be focusing on, and what talent-focused organizations should be watching, in the next year. Here’s what they said. Stay tuned for our next post where we asked other questions, including what HR Hot Topics leaders need to know for 2017.

Q: What were the top take-aways in Talent Management from 2016?

“Everyone wants a magic app that combines predictive analytics and consumer-like UX for mobile devices that will enable them to improve ‘engagement,’ reduce turnover, and create meaning for Millennials. (Written with my tongue firmly planted in my cheek.)” –China Gorman, Board Member, Advisor, Speaker, Author of Data Point Tuesday

“Learning is seeping into every aspect of talent management. Learning is the feedback loop that makes an organization agile. Leading companies are using incremental learning to continually raise the bar on their performance.” –John Sumser, Principal at HRExaminer

“There was a lot of noise in so many areas of talent management in the last year – recruitment, performance management, engagement, big data to name a few – and while a lot of it was interesting, there was a lack of practical application for mid-size organizations.” –Guy Ellis, Manager and Director at Courageous Workplaces

“Employee Engagement. Towards the end of the year it had transcended into an inside joke in HR. Everywhere you looked you saw the words ’employee engagement’ almost invariably followed by totally different definitions.” –Justin Keller, Senior Marketing Director at Whil Concepts, Inc.

Q: What are the Hot Topics in HR for 2017 for developing a talent-focused organization? What will you be watching in this space?

“It appears that 2017 might be the year when the concept of ‘employee experience design’ enters into the business vernacular. This will be a step towards bringing the mindsets from experience design for customers into the realm of workplace and culture. This will represent a long overdue application of design principles and behavioral economics to the work of human resources. It will require designing work for the employee through the lens of user experience (UX) with the goal being to help the employees feel better and more natural about their work as a pathway to better productivity.”  –Jason Lauritsen, Employee Engagement and Workplace Culture Expert, Keynote Speaker, Author, and Advisor at Advisor at JasonLauritsen.com

“A team is a group of talented people who work together to accomplish something beyond their individual self-interests. In order to work together they need to have an environment that allows them to thrive. This environment is built through leaders who understand how to communicate the vision of the company in a way that engages and encourages everyone to work towards that goal.

As the millennial generation keeps entering the workforce, their native behavior to do research and have instant access to information has increased the standards of what someone expects in a working environment. Leaders who are effective communicators, develop a sense of community, and show authentic transparency will be able to build high performing and engaging teams of talented people.” –Andy Cabistan, Co-Founder at Watson Works

“Employee engagement continues to be key. Listen to what drives each individual employee. Create stretch goals and training opportunities that meet your employees where they are, with both personal and professional commitments. Allow out of office experiences to drive engagement and reinforce learning. Go beyond training classes and look for peer-to-peer opportunities and looks for ways to engage while driving corporate social responsibility forward. Communication is key both up and down the organization.” -Lori Kleiman, HR and Business Speaker and Consultant and Managing Facilitator at HR Topics

“It’s critical to hire people who can do the job, and whose personal values align with the company’s values. If you merely hire for skills, the employee may never feel an emotional connection to your company, therefore they will give less discretionary effort, which is the secret sauce to extraordinary business results.’ Jill Christensen, Employee Engagement Expert, Best-Selling Author, Keynote Speaker

“I’ll be watching for leaders to understand that now is the time to treat all stakeholders (especially employees) like human beings. Instead of creating programs and processes separately for each segment of the workforce – by generation, by sex or orientation, by function or geography, or any other delimiter – we should be creating inclusive, holistic approaches for our humans with a focus on creating real, personal relationships.” –China Gorman, Board Member, Advisor, Speaker, Author of Data Point Tuesday

“I expect to see significant emphasis on building agile workforces. As technology disrupts older industries, their management is going to try to get the current team up to speed in the changed environment. I expect to see a lot of attention paid to tools that help identify skills and paths to new skills.” –John Sumser, Principal at HRExaminer

“A movement towards the essence of talent management – ensuring employees understand the greater purpose of their role, have a chance to develop personally and contribute towards something meaningful. The role of managers continues to be understated in achieving this.” –Guy Ellis, Manager and Director at Courageous Workplaces

“HR leaders that win are going to be thinking about their organization holistically, as an organism, with ‘engagement’ showing up as the result of well integrated employee experiences. For that to happen, talented HR leaders need to move several pieces on the board forward: Employee wellness programs are going to have to evolve into highly personalized employee well-being programs. Employee performance and engagement assessments will have to move beyond surveying and start to intelligently incorporate employee data from multiple sources. And finally, rewards and recognition are going to have be to fully woven into not only well-being and performance, but nothing less than the fabric of a company’s culture.

I expect a few HR leaders to manage to execute on all of these things with flying colors, and they will be the catalyst for this major shift in employee engagement.” –Justin Keller, Senior Marketing Director at Whil Concepts, Inc.

“The world of performance management is changing. Everyone’s throwing up their arms and going ‘the old way doesn’t work!’ And it’s true, it’s a lousy system. But no-one’s quite sure what the new way looks like yet. I’d be watching to see what emerges as the best way to balance the need for structure and guidance with a lightness and lack of bureaucracy. (All I know for sure is having your managers be better coaches is part of the solution.)” –Michael Bungay Stanier, Senior Partner & Founder at Box of Crayons and WSJ-bestselling author

“There is a great French saying, ‘plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose.’ Sometimes things change and other things don’t. What is not changing for HR is the inevitable and enduring question to “add value.” In the last few years, we have expanded the scope of HR added value for exclusively employees to organizations (shape and deliver strategy) to customers to investors (Leadership Capital Index) and to communities. Now we are seeing how HR adds value. Your question is about talent and adding value through people.  Our research (Victory through Organization) shows convincingly that organization (e.g., capabilities, culture, systems, processes) has 4 times the impact on business performance than individual competencies!!!  4 times!!! So, the trend is to focus LESS on individual talent and more on organization capabilities.” –Dave Ulrich, Speaker, Author, Professor, HR & Leadership Guru

“The most effective HR leaders will become students of Big Data thinking. Because data on employees is more limited and less quantitative than that of, say, customer response to direct marketing, it’s easy to think about hiring and developing people in only traditional ways — ways that have rarely been tested and deliver no immediate feedback. By becoming students of Big Data thinking, HR leaders can build their instincts on how to look for and create opportunities to evaluate what works, test different approaches, and elevate HR from generic sourcing and tracking to delivering competitive advantage.” –Ken Rosen, Managing Partner at Performance Works

Focusing on Improving the Employee Experience in 2017

Stop guessing and start knowing the best actions to take to improve the employee experience.

Talmetrix is more than just software. We work with talent-focused companies to capture insights, analyze data, take action, and achieve organizational growth. Contact us today to set up your Free Employee Feedback Consultation with one of our Expert Advisors.

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