The Future of HR: Top Trends to Watch For in 2017

December 9, 2016 Rosemary Haefner and Eric Presley

As an HR professional, you need to have a pulse on the latest trends in the labor market so you can advise your leadership on talent needs to meet their business objectives. Google “HR trends” and you will find yourself scrolling through hundreds, if not thousands, of search results that tell the same old story year after year. That’s why we wanted to shake things up and do something different: Offer up the HR trends you’re going to see over the next year from the perspective of the C-suite.

As the chief human resources officer and chief technology officer at CareerBuilder, we have the opportunity to think about trends from a unique perspective — one that will help you understand your own leadership’s asks and objectives better. So let’s dive right in.

We’ve narrowed it down to five key HR trends we believe will shape the space in 2017.

1. Treating the candidate experience and hiring manager experience as consumer experience.

Candidate experience continues to be a significant factor. In certain markets and industries, job seekers can be selective about where they apply. That means any barriers we place between job seekers and employers will only drive job seekers to your competitors. Think about how you can treat candidates the same way you would cater to consumers. Candidates are increasingly adopting a consumer mentality and expect to “shop for” jobs. For instance, they want to be able to sort, filter and save jobs that they can circle back to at a time that’s convenient for them—just like a consumer using a shopping cart online.

There will also be an increased focus on enhancing the hiring manager experience and treating hiring managers as customers.

Recruiters are the key facilitators between candidates and hiring managers, and need to improve this experience for both sides. Why has the communication loop disintegrated among these two parties? It’s time to expand or reopen the lines of communication with both candidates as well as hiring managers to ensure a seamless talent acquisition process.

2. Bringing a sense of purpose and consistency to data across the board.

Collecting data is not new, but you need to ensure you are gathering and analyzing the correct data points. Take a step back and evaluate whether you are paying attention to metrics that matter. Instead of focusing on big data, focus on rich data — or data that is used to predict behavior. Ensure that you are measuring your identified KPIs across all areas of the business so there is some consistency. And once you have integrated data and analytics into your processes, don’t be afraid to run A/B tests and use the data to keep improving your processes.

3. Adopting a hybrid approach when it comes to HR structure.

HR structure tends to be cyclical. HR teams have moved from being centralized about a decade ago to being decentralized as of about five years ago, and back to being centralized in the present day. The right fit may be somewhere in the middle. A hybrid approach facilitates better partnerships between HR business partners, talent acquisitions teams and the business units they support. The result is a holistic view of the target talent needed, the most successful approaches to engage and retain top talent, and the ability to leverage internal talent across an organization well into the future.

4. Personalizing automated technology.

Ensuring you have effective touchpoints at every stage of the recruitment process will be key, as candidates are now aware that most communication is automated. Also, this trend of increased usage of automation for recruiting interactions is here to stay. According to CareerBuilder’s recent Automation Tech in Talent Acquisition and Management survey, more than two-thirds of organizations (69 percent) using technology-led recruitment automation say its use has increased in the past year. That same survey found 72 percent of professionals responsible for talent acquisition and management expect it to increase even more within the next year.

If you want to take it one step further and differentiate your company by giving candidates what they are looking for, consider including contact information for a real person. According to CareerBuilder’s 2016 Candidate Behavior Study, 81 percent of job seekers would like the contact information of the person who posted the job before applying, while 7 in 10 (72 percent) said they want to talk to a recruiter or hiring manager.

Candidates feel that the entire process is becoming increasingly impersonal, and want you to bring the human touch back to recruiting. So start thinking like a marketer.

Do more with your social recruitment channels and figure out how to bring the value of your product — whether it’s working at your company, your culture, your benefits, etc. — to life for candidates. Don’t just use stock photos on your career site — give candidates a glimpse of what your real-life employees are like. Take a cue from Sweden’s tourism board, which publicizes a telephone number that’s answered daily by Swedes themselves who take turns as ambassadors of the country and offer callers advice on where to go and stay. Stop and think about that for a minute: You can just call Sweden whenever you want and talk to an actual resident.

5. A renewed focus on retaining top talent through engagement, career development and flexible working models.

Workers are constantly seeking ways to move ahead — in terms of title, compensation as well as acquiring a broader skillset — but it doesn’t always mean they want to leave their current organization in order to find new opportunities. Successful companies will make note of the eager candidate pipeline within their own organizations and better leverage that for healthy growth of the business and increased employee engagement.

Additionally, employees are seeking more flexibility in their work life, and employers will need to become increasingly creative in their staffing models to attract and retain the talent they need. A workforce that comprises full-time and part-time workers, flexible work schedules and venues, as well as incorporates aspects of the growing gig economy will be key to having a robust and productive employee base to set them up for long-term success.

 

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