5 Workplace Trends For 2017 – Talent Acquisition Execs, Are You Ready?

ThinkstockPhotos-466558755With the new year upon us, there comes a time for reflection – and strategic planning for the years ahead. Read on to learn about what we think will be the hot workplace trends in the industry for 2017.

NEW YEAR, NEW TRENDS?

Not necessarily. While there are several emerging trends in the human capital space – which I will address further in this article, we can expect a massive evolution of many of the workplace trends we’ve seen in years past. Millennials in the workplace, for example, has been a trending topic for quite some time. However, the evolution we’re seeing are millennials moving away from entry-level roles and into leadership positions. They are credited with moving toward a more informal work environment and encouraging a work-life blend, rather than balance. By building genuine relationships with their reporting employees, there is a higher frequency of communication among personnel. This has led to agile performance management techniques, which I will discuss in more detail below.

Boomerang workers, or those who have left the company and then get rehired, has lost its stigma – because those that are doing it are reaping the benefits. According to Forbes, a 2015 study conducted by The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated and WorkplaceTrends.com, “48 percent of companies had a policy against hiring boomerang employees in the past, but now 76 percent say they are more accepting of hiring them.” Companies are more open to the idea because employees are familiar with the employer culture decreasing time to onboard, while bringing with them experience and innovative ideas for improvement.

AGILE PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT

The idea here is that organizations can only be successful by improving performance and preparing talent for the company’s future – we don’t get anywhere by simply reviewing past performance. To be set up for success, we must look ahead.

While this is partly due to millennials entering leadership positions and encouraging a less formal working relationship, agile performance management has also emerged out of the evolving business landscape. Companies are expected to respond immediately to consumer needs and therefore expect their employees to push innovations and drive improvements quickly. Waiting until the end of the year to determine how well an employee is contributing to their team and the company could be dangerous to its bottom line. Ongoing conversations around how to improve performance ensure all team members are on the same page and headed in the right direction.

THE POWER OF EMPATHY

Amid global unrest – be it economic, social or political – people want to feel empathy in the workplace and compassion from their employer. While this means different things to different people, Harvard Business Review’s Empathy Index includes these categories in its company ranking: ethics, leadership, organizational culture, brand perception and public messaging through social media. Talent acquisition can assist with cross-collaborative identification of empathy initiatives via candidate and employee surveys.

For talent acquisition leaders’ elements that empathy pairs well with is training. Typical training programs will be set aside for strength-based and individual training paths in 2017. Leadership training, particularly for those millennials gaining ground in management positions, will go far in the new year. But, remember, this generation values genuine relationships at work, so consider mentorship programs to accompany your formal training curriculum.

BLENDED WORKFORCES

Because of the movement toward a work-life blend, blended workforces will be more acceptable in 2017. Just like virtual work has become typical in recent years (according to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com, 50 percent of the US workforce holds a job that is compatible with at least partial telework and 80 to 90 percent of the US workforce says they would like to telework at least part time.), a workforce that combines full-time employees, part-time employees, temporary workers, contractors and freelancers will be commonplace.

This will be embraced by companies because they can use these different employment contracts to their advantage. Maybe a small firm doesn’t need a full-time copywriter on staff but could leverage a freelancer’s skills, or maybe a sales staff that works part-time ensures the team doesn’t burn out. These employment options showcase your flexibility to current and potential employees as well as allow you to be more strategic in your labor allocation.

TECHNOLOGY, IT’S EVER-EVOLVING

If there’s anything certain in technology, it’s that it will be in a different state at any point in the future. So many technological advances have become mainstream this year: Specifically, virtual reality, augmented reality, artificial intelligence and wearable technology have entered the business function, even talent acquisition. These technologies can provide candidates a real day-in-the-life look at their potential job, allowing them and you to make more informed employment decisions, or take training to the next level, giving employees on-the-job training before actually being on the job.

Now, let’s be realistic for a moment. Is it possible to predict every technology that will emerge in 2017, that will also make a significant impact on the talent acquisition landscape? Probably not. But what we do know is that we should have strong strategic workforce planning practices in place to anticipate the effect.

So, as we leave another year in the dust and prepare for what might come at us in 2017, approach it with an open mind. You’ll get more out of your employees with empathy and flexibility. Empower them to be the best versions of themselves. And embrace whatever technological innovations that emerge that also makes sense for your business. Your employees and your company will be better for it.

Matthew McGregor
Matthew McGregor is vice president of client solutions at WilsonHCG.


Matthew McGregor is vice president of client solutions at WilsonHCG.

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