Hot Trends in HR for 2016 and 2017

As we prepare to say goodbye to 2016 I met up with Tom Haak from the HR Trend Institute in Amsterdam to explore the hot topics shaping the world of work and the role of HR.

 
 

What Did We See in 2016?

Firstly, I asked Tom to look back at 2016 and offer his perspective on which trends had the biggest impact. Tom focused in on 3 key changes in the workplace from his more detailed 2016 list.

HR must be proactive rather than wait for these trends to impact the workplace and simply react. Start now and strategically explore what these changes means for you, your people, and your organisation. Only then can you shape these trends to your advantage.

1 Individualisation

It’s no longer one size fits all. Like our customers, our people expect to be treated as individuals, rather than a pre-determined group or segment. Tom notes however, how HR is struggling to meet this demand due to a legacy of standardisation in policy and process.

2 Agile

The hot topic discussed at every conference Tom attended this year! Driven by the business and a need to digitalise, 2016 saw a whole range of companies, from big banks to small consulting firms, embark on an Agile transformation. HR now needs to find out what this means for their own teams, a key focus area Tom predicts for 2017.

3 People Analytics

The impact of data analytics on the workplace is revolutionary and with it, HR takes a crucial step towards becoming more evidence-based. However, Tom also suggests HR is still grappling with how best to use people analytics and more importantly, trust. Tom uses the term ‘algorithm aversion’ to describe how many people still favour gut instinct over data reported by a machine.

What Will Be Shaking in 2017?

Next, I asked Tom what trends will make the biggest impact on the HR profession and world of work in 2017. Of his top 10, Tom zeroed in on 3.

1 Consumerisation

Leading on from individualisation, Tom predicts a growing need to develop workplaces based on the employee (i.e. customer) experience in 2017. Greatly influenced by the impact of social media, people now expect everything, from office design to employee benefits, to match their personal preferences and tastes.

2 Performance Consulting

2016 saw a rush to transform performance management practices and remove traditional processes like performance ratings and scheduled appraisals. In 2017 Tom asks, "now what?" Simply removing ratings failed to deliver the feedback culture organisations hoped for. Instead, there is still much need to build a healthy performance alternative that helps good people get even better through concrete and actionable feedback. Tom feels it’s vital for HR to play a leading role in moving this agenda forward.

 
Agile - the hot topic discussed at every conference Tom attended this year! Driven by the business and a need to digitalise, 2016 saw a whole range of companies, from big banks to small consulting firms, embark on an Agile transformation. HR now needs to find out what this means for their own teams, a key focus area Tom predicts for HR in 2017.
 

3 Man (person!) and Machine Collaboration

Yes, AI and machine automation will result in the loss of some jobs. Yet, Tom is also passionate about the huge opportunity the machine brings to the world of work. If embraced as people with machine, rather than people versus machine, huge gains in performance and innovation can be achieved. HR’s role is again crucial in helping navigate the complex ethical dilemmas that arise as we begin to work alongside our robot friends.

What Should HR Do About It?

Finally, I asked Tom what advice he would offer people in HR, willing to not only meet the challenges posed but embrace the opportunity offered with each trend.

Tom urges HR to be proactive rather than wait for these trends to impact the workplace and simply react. Start now and strategically explore what these changes mean for you, your people, and your organisation. Only then can you shape these trends to your advantage.

Sounds like good advice to me!

Heard about AgileHR yet unsure what it means or how to get started? Check out my previous blogs including 'What is AgileHR? - Part One' and Part Two.