7 Human Resource Functions & Trends for 2016

December 16, 2015
Robin Dominik Havre
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We know how you’re feeling right now because we’re there with you.

Each passing year brings a marked increase in how much you’re dreading the hangover from the New Year’s Eve party; it’s all part of getting old. So, with 2016 just around the corner, let’s abate that dread by talking about some interesting, research-backed HR topics. What human resource functions and trends can HR managers and departments expect to change in the coming year? Let’s find out.

1. Some 3.6m “baby boomers” to retire

You may know that last year a US politician reported that 10,000 people from the baby boomer generation now retire every day. And that’s just in the States. That means, this year, around 3.6 million are expected to retire, leaving a huge leadership gap to fill. Even if your country doesn’t have such a big population, the phenomenon will likely be similar.

With such a huge gap to fill and a workforce comprised significantly of millennials (who aspire to leadership positions but also lack the experience), we can expect to see a flattening of corporate hierarchies to accommodate the change.

2. Millennial’s marching in

So about these millennials, one study published by market research group, PWC, showed that they’ll make up 50% of the workforce by 2020, and 2016 will be a step towards that era. Tech savvy employees that speak the language of modern computing fluently expect both onboarding and recruiting through social platforms and with mobile software products.

If you’re behind in either of these areas, it’s time to get with the times. This will be an important part of your recruitment strategy for next year, and we’ll see more people taking advantage of excellent recruitment software like Giggster and HROnboard.

3. Greater time flexibility…finally

By this point, there are simply too many studies to ignore; autonomy and schedule flexibility in the workplace boosts results beyond anything anyone considered feasible.

We discussed several of the studies is here on the blog and they’ve been popping up around the web In abundance for the past year or two now. With 2016 approaching, many HR strategists are predicting that this will be the year when businesses start changing the rules en masse. Greater autonomy is a controversial and counterintuitive move that’s been slow on the uptake, but the time for change is finally here.

4. Office design taken seriously

It’s a similar story with office design, too. When the so-called “Google Office” first came about, it was a trendy topic with accompanying buzzword that few had the courage to try out. Studies using solid scientific methodology such as this one published by Researchgate and simpler, easier to implement examples of how LED lighting improves people’s moods and output are clearly solid investment plans.

With the painfully slow economic recovery starting to resemble “back to normal”, companies will have more money to invest next year and we can expect to see some new-school office design on the budget. When you’re trying to recruit top talent, having the kind of space that blows applicants away when they set foot in the door gives you a serious edge over the competition.

If you’d like some inspiration for design, you can check out this article showing the company’s new London headquarters.

5. Big data: from buzzword to actual thing

Similar to the two points above is the need for solid analytics. “Big data” was another buzzword jumped on by one and all, but only really utilised by particularly tech-savvy companies and large corporations. According to a survey published by HR SaaS, CareerBuilder, 90% of CEOs agreed that it’s important for HR managers to become proficient at this type of analysis, with a further 35% saying it’s now “absolutely essential”.

6. Greater transparency

The transparency effect has been put to good use by a number of organisations, one great example of which is Buffer. The company provides full disclosure on everything from:

However, caution is necessary when implementing transparency-based strategies. If you’d like a good example of how to do things right, check out this great article from Harvard Business Review.

7. More immediate feedback

Finally comes the feedback issue. It’s long been recognised in the science of learning and psychology that immediate feedback is an important trigger to get people thinking and acting more productively.

The days of annual report meetings are now gone and regular feedback is not only recognised as being essential but is made easier with faster and more affordable mobile technology and better software products to facilitate the process.

Over to you…

Think we’ll see big changes next year? Is it finally time to embrace some of these important and consistently proven human resource functions that were slow to catch on? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Robin Dominik Havre

Robin is the CEO of New Intranet. He's helped many companies deploy successful mobile intranets that are easy to use and specially designed for employees not working in front of a computer. The goal of this blog is to provide research-backed intranet and internal communications advice for more successful HR strategies.

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