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5 ways HR has evolved in the last decade to put people first

Joel Paul
4th May 2018
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In 2018, HR will be instrumental in preparing the workplace and the workforce for the tsunami of changes ahead.

The world of work has changed drastically over the past 10 years—so it’s no surprise that the role of HR has evolved too. From the 2008 recession to major technological advances, the events over the past decade shape how we work today. A few distinct global HR trends have fundamentally changed how HR practitioners approach strategic implementation of people processes. Society of Human Resource Management (SHRM), leading international HR association, reported that 10 years ago, companies said their top future challenges were succession planning and providing leaders with the skills needed to be successful. A 2017 study reported by Randstad found that HR’s top challenge, in the increasingly competitive market for skilled talent, will be finding and retaining employees.

Let’s take a look at how HR has evolved to put people first, and what it means for those of us in the trenches.

Rise of automation

There is a lot going on in terms of automation for HR and talent acquisition. Increasing advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning have led to smarter job hunting platforms, bolstered by analytics, chatbots and other elements.

As a result, it is necessary for recruiters to keep an eye open for advancements in this space and constantly evaluate their processes.

The rise of people analytics

Our ability to measure people processes has improved exponentially since 2008. Now, we can closely monitor customer sentiment and predict company success through shared industry metrics such as a Net Promoter Score (NPS). In addition, HR tech has begun to provide human management tools that help track and improve productivity, employee satisfaction, hiring and recruiting success, and professional development achievements. The emphasis on workplace culture has changed HR’s role, making it more strategic and collaborative. By now, most successful company leaders understand the impact HR processes can have on the overall success of the organisation.

Rise of remote work

Working remotely increased 16 percent between 2008 and 2012 alone, which some attribute to cost-cutting measures companies took following the recession. A remote workforce can be profitable for companies, especially given the rising cost of office space in some markets. Companies with large numbers of remote workers also save on office perks such as catered lunches, snacks, and other office costs.

Whether employers view remote work as a cost-saving measure, or simply another employee perk, working remotely would not be possible without the technological advancements over the last 10 years that allow workers to communicate and interact easily from a distance. Given the cost savings, employee demand for flexibility, and growing technological advances that keep a remote workforce engaged, remote work is a trend that will continue to grow in the coming years. To stay competitive, companies that have not offered workplace flexibility in the past will need to consider implementing a remote workforce programme. In fact, a PGI survey found that 79 percent of knowledge workers would leave their current job for a full-time remote position, if the pay was equal.

Employee wellness in HR and recruitment

According to a recent report published in Hexagonreserach.com, 55 percent companies will provide flexible working hours, 47 percent companies will enable employees to work from home and 42 percent companies will promote their existing or new wellness programmes. These are perks modern employees are looking for over and above their basic pay package. What matters more to them is the flexibility and freedom a company can offer. Work-from-home options, telecommuting, and flexible work timings are factors today’s recruits take a special liking to. Wellness programmes are initiatives Indian companies have started taking more seriously in the recent past -- and this trend is here to stay.

Advanced and digital technologies will strengthen and augment the HR toolkit. In turn, HR will play a new, enhanced role in this landscape. In 2018, HR will be instrumental in preparing the workplace and the workforce for the tsunami of changes ahead. In doing so, HR professionals will also need to carefully ride the wave of change, rather than be swamped by it.

Active and constant learning

Learning will no longer be a function of what is needed or when it is needed. It will no longer depend on when a specific training programme is available. Career development will depend on what the employee wants to learn and when. Learning will be more of an active, employee-driven process that is constant rather than as per a training calendar.

As we move into 2018, HR leaders will continue to take a holistic, people-first approach with the help of HR tech and personalised, customised services offered by those companies that are helping to revolutionise how we approach the entire employee journey.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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