Insights: Article

Six HR Trends to Watch For

By Lisa Fitzgerald

November 28, 2017

There are so many things happening in the workplace that business owners need to watch for. One of the things you may not have thought about (but probably should) are the trends emerging in human resources (HR) and how those will affect your business and your employees.

With the political landscape and new generations in the workplace, HR professionals, business owners and management need to stay informed about legal issues and be proactive in planning for these trends.

Not sure what these trends are? Here are a few of the top trends we’ve seen emerge from an HR perspective. 

#1 – Work-Life Balance

When we talk about work-life balance, we’re talking about the daily effort to make time for family, friends, community participation, personal growth, self-care—pretty much everything your employees deal with in addition to the demands of the workplace.

Things to consider as you discuss work-life balance in your organization include:

  • Flexible work schedules
  • Paid time off policies
  • Expectation setting, especially as it relates to communication and use of time while at work
  • Company-sponsored family activities

As you think through what this looks like, remember leadership must set the example. Further, there’s not a one-size fits all model. Rather, think through what works best for your organization, what it will cost you, how it will impact your employees and how it will impact your clients and the work you do.

#2 – Performance Reviews

Also known as a performance appraisal, performance evaluation or development discussion, this is a method by which job performance is documented and evaluated.

Seems pretty straight forward right? Not exactly. Some of the trends we’re seeing include:

  • Giving feedback throughout the year, not just on an annual basis
  • Little to no focus on a rating scale. Rather, the focus should be on development
  • Encouraging goal setting
  • Talking specifically about the employee’s strengths
  • Separating these conversations from pay-increase discussions

#3 – Generations in the Workplace

Currently, as many as five generations could be somehow involved in the workforce. Each is motivated by something different, and companies can no longer assume that high pay, benefits and a 401(k) will attract the top talent.

Some questions to consider as you ponder generations in the workplace include:

  • Does your company brand appeal internally to each of the generations in your workforce?
  • Are you sourcing the next generation of talent where they live? Do you have a social networking strategy for recruitment?
  • Are you preparing leaders for the next generation of employees? Are your leaders prepared to be hyper-connected and able to rate everything and everyone?

#4 – Social Media

Social media has taken over many aspects of our lives and encourages the constant sharing of information, ideas, interests and more.

But before you relegate social media to the marketing department, think twice. Take some time to ponder how social media impacts every facet of your business, including:

  • Recruiting
  • Branding/Marketing
  • Employee access and usage

Once you’ve thought through each of these, make sure you set policies and procedures in place to help manage expectations.

#5 – Wellness Initiatives

Workplace wellness is a coordinated set of initiatives designed to meet the health and safety needs of all employees. Benefits of having a concentrated wellness initiative include: improving the overall health of employees, reducing health care costs and improving productivity.

Even the smallest company can embrace worksite wellness. As we’ve said before, think through what this will look like for your company. Some ideas include:

  • Access to healthy meals and snacks
  • Provide reasonable amounts of sick time
  • Encourage vacation time usage
  • Make it easier for people to exercise

#6 – Culture of Thanks

Now more than ever, it’s important to develop a culture of thanks within your organization. Let your people know they are appreciated for their contributions and expertise. Don’t just do this once a year, but rather on a continual basis. For example, try including appreciation as part of your staff meetings.

Encourage specific feedback that’s personalized. Further, take the time to know how your employees want to be recognized. 

Focus on What’s Important

It’s important to keep a pulse on what’s happening in HR. Not only will it help you set better policies and procedures, but it will also keep you attune to the needs of your employees.

Even the smallest organization can implement changes to help create a good working environment. Just focus on your company, your goals and what success looks like to your employees.

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