How will the role of human resources change or evolve in 2017? Here are the seven trends that we expect will define the next year in HR.
Every year, the role of human resources departments around the globe changes slightly. Thanks to shifts in technology and the very nature of modern careers, HR teams everywhere have to tweak how they manage human talent and help their organizations grow and achieve their goals. With 2017 upon us at last, let’s take a look at a few of the predicted human resources trends for the New Year.
- HR departments will use big data to screen and verify candidates
Whether because big data has finally become affordable and accessible to the average employer or because hiring managers are tired of dealing with resume inaccuracies, there is little doubt that more HR departments will be harnessing big data for candidate screenings in 2017. Already, we’ve seen a growth in background checks for applicants, starting with criminal history checks, expanding to driving checks, credit history checks, civil history checks, and verifications.
Using algorithms and other tools, HR representatives will soon be able to execute almost instantaneous searches for information about candidates. This increased emphasis on data will also make verification checks more commonplace. Rather than taking applicants at their word about education credentials, employment history, or professional licenses, HR departments will be able to use big data algorithms to screen and verify all that information.
- More companies will focus on employee skill development
Ongoing training and professional development have long been essential HR functions. However, as the economy continues to recover and the job market becomes increasingly robust, companies will have more competition for talent. Providing professional skill development for employees is a way for enterprises to make employees feel valued while also preparing personnel for more responsibility and higher-ranking positions. More businesses will start emphasizing this type of employment benefit in 2017, and human resources branches will be responsible for monitoring employees, identifying development opportunities, and arranging training and educational endeavors.
- Employee reviews will become more personal and detailed
Employee reviews could be the biggest area for HR evolution in 2017. In fact, we expect the review process to shift so much in the next year or so that it is awarded two separate points on our list!
First off, employee reviews will become more personal in the coming year. A lot of workers these days hate review time, not because they are afraid of feedback or criticism, but because standard review processes offer nothing valuable. Numerical ratings or letter grades, previously a hallmark of the performance review, are falling out of favor because they don’t provide insight and don’t take employee or job differences into account.
Instead, the future of performance reviews is more personal and more detailed. It’s also less formal. HR departments and managers, instead of being like teachers giving out grades, are going to be members in a conversation with each employee. These discussion-based reviews will not only provide employees with more insight on what they are doing well and how they could improve, but will also help HR representatives identify areas of focus for each worker’s professional development.
- Employee reviews will become more instantaneous
Secondly, it looks as if the annual performance review is on the way out, to be replaced with something more instantaneous. In 2017, expect HR departments to start working on innovative solutions for “rolling” reviews, where employees can get instant gratification or feedback. Daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly reviews are all on the table, depending on the preferences and demands of managers and HR alike.
- HR will be responsible for improving candidate experience
Keeping employees and customers happy are, by definition, the inherent goals of any business. Often, though, the candidate or applicant gets the short end of the stick. From being forced to wait longer than expected for interviews to staying in the dark about the status of their applications, job seekers frequently have poor candidate experiences.
Since everyone has a voice today—candidates can talk about their experience on sites like Glassdoor—failing to offer a satisfying experience for your applicants can damage your brand reputation. It can also cost you future employees. Highly qualified applicants who have a good experience interviewing with your company are more likely to apply for other positions in the future.
As a result, human resources departments in 2017 will need to innovate ways to keep candidates happy during the employee screening process. More precise scheduling of interviews, ways to keep candidates occupied or entertained while they wait, and a better system for notifying people about application statuses should all be on the “to do” list.
- Businesses will have to learn to manage “blended workforces” of employees and freelancers
Today’s “gig economy” has created an environment where most companies are blending their workforces between freelancers, contract workers, full-time employees, and part-time employees. As a result, some HR departments will need to revise or replace older and more traditional models for managing talent.
For instance, what can HR do to make collaboration easier between freelancers and traditional employees? How can HR efficiently manage freelancers and contractors—from assigning projects to answering questions to handling payment? One of the big questions in the gig economy is how the HR infrastructure will or should look. 2017 may well see this question answered.
- HR will be included in business strategy planning
It’s becoming more and more common for human resources departments to be included in strategic planning sessions with executives and managers. Enterprises are recognizing the value of personnel management, employee retention, and talent development. Moreover, companies are seeing that these factors figure directly into their bottom line and into the achievability of their objectives. As a result, when it comes time to plan those objectives or establish strategies to meet them, HR personnel are going to receive meeting invitations.
Ultimately, the core mission of HR—managing a company’s human capital and finding ways to maximize its capability and potential—isn’t going to change in 2017. However, how HR operates, what responsibilities it holds, and how it prioritizes different responsibilities will absolutely continue to evolve in the coming year.
Michael Klazema has been developing products for pre-employment screening and improving online customer experiences in the background screening industry since 2009. He is the lead author and editor for Backgroundchecks.com. He lives in Dallas, TX with his family and enjoys the rich culinary histories of various old and new world countries.