A great human resources department is of utmost value to any company. These are the individuals responsible for fielding job applicants, bringing in the most qualified ones and retaining talent once they're hired.
The tactics HR departments use to recruit and retain employees is always changing, and there seem to be new trends every year. By measuring and managing the employee experience, organizations can track the effectiveness of their HR initiatives, helping them understand if the resources and energy to follow these trends are well spent, said Rachel Barker, employee experience manager at Qualtrics.
Barker and Elaine Varelas, managing partner at Keystone Partners, shared four big HR trends for the coming year, and what changes companies can make to keep up.
1. The focus will change from frequent feedback to the right feedback at the right time.
For years, the HR world has heard about the need for more frequent feedback, said Barker. While that approach is necessary, it's not sufficient by itself. The real key to driving great employee experience is collecting and delivering the right feedback at the right time. If organizations can build ongoing programs to collect and distribute feedback at critical touchpoints of the employee journey, business leaders will have the data they need to impact real change, Barker said.
2. Employer branding will be critical.
Candidates have access to more data than ever with platforms like Glassdoor, LinkedIn and Monster, said Barker. This not only means that candidates are really the ones "interviewing" the organizations, but that organizations have to up their game when it comes to talent acquisition.
Barker noted that candidate reaction surveys and ongoing employee feedback can help HR understand how to build an exceptional employee brand and attract, hire and retain top performers. However, they also have to find ways to market and brand that experience to a wide external audience to ensure they're building their talent pipeline and attracting the right people to their organization.
3. Top-down transparency will become even more important.
While the media has been covering problematic cultures that have caused some companies to crash and burn, other companies have been showcasing their leadership as they discuss the cultures that allowed them to outpace the competition, said Varelas.
"A recognition of the importance of transparency combined with the speed of information sharing – both good and bad – via social media platform has led to HR's ability to influence the C-suite to take a highly visible role in setting culture, redirecting culture and championing the culture to drive organizational success," she told Business News Daily.
4. Millennials will move into the C-suite, and generational management will mix more than ever.
As many millennials reach their early or mid-30s, they are moving into the C-suite in greater numbers, bringing their unique outlook, values and business style with them, according to Varelas, not to mention that over the course of their careers, they've worked with Gen Xers, boomers and traditionalists.
"Millennials recognize that their finance, legal and HR teams, as well as line leadership, will come from any generation with the expertise needed," Varelas said. "As the number of millennials in the workforce continues to expand, and the aging workforce needs and/or wants to work longer, we will see a migration of boomers and traditionalists to project and consultative contractor roles."
Bringing your HR department into the future
Barker advised not to transform your organization overnight. Start with the basics of measuring and acting on feedback, increasing communication with employees about their progress. From there, she said, you can collect more data and build employee profiles that will guide strategic HR and decision-making.
"As you capture this feedback, architect a team and a plan that will create long-term employee experience program infrastructure," Barker said. "Employees today now live in a technology- and data-driven world, and when employers don't offer workplaces and experiences that reflect that world, they will turn elsewhere for employment and career progression."
Additional reporting by Nicole Fallon. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.