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5 Trends Shaping the Future of HR

8 minute read

Looking for a quick overview of the most notable HR trends today? We’ve searched the net, listened to influencers, looked at tons of statistics, and made a selection.

Here are 5 trends that are shaping the future of HR at this very moment, and some tips on how to follow them:Employee Recognition - Blog image

1. Working from home will become a choice rather than a necessity.

2020, what a year it has been so far! Have we ever seen a crisis that had such a sudden and profound impact on the job market as Covid-19? Millions and millions of people have been laid off or furloughed. Workplaces are emptied, as employees who kept their jobs started working from home. 

The thing is that even after the promised vaccine becomes available, people will continue to work from home. Not because they have to, but because they like it that way. And so do their employers.

Mark Zuckerberg predicts that 50% of Facebook’s employees will be working from home within the next five to ten years.

Why’s that?

During a livestream, Zuckerberg argued that “… this decision should help the company improve its employee retention, and will allow Facebook to hire from talent pools that previously wouldn’t consider moving to big cities to work for the company. Additionally, this decision will allow Facebook to improve the diversity of its workforce and spread economic opportunity across more places.”

We can all agree on the solid benefits working from home would have for employers: companies will save money on office facilities, and at the same time, they access a way larger talent pool across the world. And from a broader environmental perspective, less commuting contributes to the reduction of CO2 emissions.

However, with remote work, new issues arise for employers, such as monitoring individual performance, keeping the company culture alive, and maintaining a sense of belonging, engagement, and human contact.

It will take some trial and error to get it right. 

But given the possible benefits, it’s worthwhile to put your best efforts into the new ways of working together. In the rise of the remote workforce, the lockdown may have brought us a blessing in disguise.

2. AI knocks at the door.

Smart, self-learning computers are thinking, planning, and acting on our behalf across industries and working sectors. 

In HR, Artificial Intelligence is taking over repetitive and time-consuming tasks. Tasks that AI can perform faster, more efficiently, and, yes, better than humans. 

In this article, Randstad defines 4 ways HR can use Artificial Intelligence

Here's a summary:

  • Candidate screening. Testing candidates using an AI tool can help to assess them in the most effective and unbiased way.
  • Candidate engagement. Artificial intelligence automates a candidate engagement process that goes beyond standard automated emails.
  • Onboarding. AI can help new employees adapt to day-to-day routines as well as corporate culture.
  • Employee engagement and development. AI offers the ability to scale a career development program or company coaching for every employee.

3. Employer branding is on the rise

To hire stars, you need to have a stellar reputation. More and more companies realize that they shouldn’t only invest in their product brand, but also their employer brand. 

Employer branding can help to be perceived as an employer of choice, both by job seekers and employees,” is one of the conclusions of Employer Branding: How and Where To Build an Attractive Image in the Job Market.

If you haven’t gotten around to promoting your brand as an employer yet, the best way to start is by conducting an internal audit. Are you fully aware of your company's reputation among your employees? If not, ask them. Their feedback may be surprising, perhaps even a bit shocking, but employer branding starts at home. In the age of social media, your employees can make or break your reputation as an employer.

As we explain in the previously mentioned article, employee feedback provides indispensable data for the next step: creating an “Employer Value Proposition”. Simply put, this is the marketing message that answers the question: 

“Why should I want to work for this company?”

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4. Communication tools replace face-to-face communication.

Covid-19 has sped up a trend that was already emerging: communication via devices instead of face-to-face. Online platforms such as Zoom, Google Meets, Microsoft Teams, etc. are widely used these days. And, a growing number of organizations discover the possibilities of an employee communication app to reinforce employer-employee relationships.

The trick in this regard is to make communication simpler and not overwhelm your workforce with platforms, channels and what more. Sure, investing in new technologies does improve communications. But in some cases, our advice would be to scale back and prioritize the channels that people actually like to use.

5. Diversity in the workplace will be widely embraced.

“Statistics on workplace diversity suggest that companies with a more diverse workplace outperform their competitors and achieve greater profits.”

‘More profit’ is one of the five statistically substantiated benefits of a diverse workforce that you can find in Diversity in the Workplace, a Work in Progress.

A diversity program doesn’t work when executed just “because we have to.” Diversity should be one of the building blocks of your company culture. As everyone who works in HR knows, the culture of a company is one of the most important factors for employee well-being and attracting and retaining talent. 

Another benefit of a diverse workforce is how it attracts Millennials. A study by Weber Shandwick, one of the world’s leading PR firms, found that 47% of Millennials actively look for inclusion and diversity when sizing up potential employers.

To wrap it up

We live in challenging times, and the future seems uncertain. The only thing we know for sure is that the way people and employees communicate is rapidly changing and companies need to catch up fast. Luckily, new technologies are emerging to help HR managers attract, engage, and motivate employees across industries and functions.

Like Steve Jobs said:

“You cannot mandate productivity; you must provide the tools to let people become their best.”

Interested to know how to improve employee loyalty and relationships? Download our research study here!

Rob is a content writer, copywriter and novelist. His work for Apple, WWF, Mercedes-Benz and many other brands has been awarded with prestigious creative awards.

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