Now that 2016 has come to a close, employers are looking to the future and creating or adjusting workforce management strategies for the year ahead. Here are some trends that experts predict will play a role in workforce management in 2017:
1. Human Resources departments will transform. Technology has been greatly changing the face of human resources for some time, but now more than ever, technology and the rise of big data will have a huge impact on the way that human resources departments function. Organizations will begin to collect more data from employees and customers, and use that data to drive decision making for increased efficiency and success. The rise of technology and big data will play an especially big role in recruiting, hiring, and engagement. Because of this trend, organizations will begin to seek out HR professionals with specific technology-driven talents and skills, such as digital marketing and analytic capabilities.
2. Nontraditional benefits will become less common. While many companies have begun to offer alternative benefits such as tuition assistance, gym memberships, and other perks, research by Glassdoor reveals that these offerings don’t actually do much to raise employee satisfaction and retention. Health insurance, paid vacation time, and a 401k plan continue to be increasingly important to employees, and companies will start to pay more attention to offering these benefits as they realize how integral they are in ensuring employee satisfaction.
3. Companies will invest more in developing good managers. Employees, especially younger employees, prefer less to be “managed” and more to be coached, mentored, and inspired by their managers. The role of the manager plays such an instrumental part in how the employee feels about his or her work experience, and more workers today are vocalizing the desire for open and encouraging relationships with their managers that focus on professional and personal development. Thus, companies will likely begin to invest more in management training, with a focus on leadership.
4. Employers will provide more assistance in navigating the healthcare system. The cost and complexity of benefits continue to increase. As a result, employers are beginning to put more effort into helping workers better understand their options. It will become more commonplace for companies to work with healthcare consultants and even engage enrollment professionals to provide employees with the guidance needed to ensure employees get the most from their employer-sponsored benefits.
5. Cloud-based payroll services will continue to expand. Many companies have begun to move their payroll administration to cloud-based services, meaning they can be accessed on any Internet connection. Doing so provides several benefits for both employers and employees, including simplified data entry, easy access, and data backup.
6. More jobs will be automated. While there has been a lot of discussion about the effects that automation will have on the workforce, mass layoffs are unlikely. Still, more jobs will be automated in the coming year, putting some workers at risk. The jobs that are most threatened are those that involve operating machinery, data collection and processing, and administrative functions. As automation begins to displace workers, there will be an increased need for skills that are complementary to technology and require creative thinking.
7. Annual reviews will diminish in favor of more continuous feedback processes. Young people especially place great value on feedback and workplaces where feedback is given on a more continuous basis. Many larger companies have begun to move away from annual performance reviews to more regular reviews- sometimes even daily or weekly reviews. In addition, reviews will be more participatory, with managers giving feedback to employees, while also receiving feedback from those employees, such as in a 360 degree feedback system.
In conclusion, employers and employees alike can expect to face many changes in the coming year. With a new President in office, a continued rise in technology, and shifting preferences of employees, employers will have to consider what strategies should be altered or created to approach the new year in a way that ensures success. Having some knowledge of the predicted workforce trends for 2017 is a great way for employers to start the year off on a good foot!
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Tom DiSilva has been providing professional human resource services for over 30 years. As the CEO of Navigate PEO, he actively partners with organizations of all sizes in the Greater New England area and across the country to help their businesses grow. He has expertise in HR and Labor Management, offering guidance and support for key areas of business such as negotiations, operations management, employee coaching, and employee benefits design.