The Here-To-Stay Workplace Trends HR Shouldn’t Fear

There are plenty of articles circulating about 2018 human resources trends. But I don’t view these trends as prognostications. They’re already here. What we will see in the coming years is more of an upswell.

For all of these trends, HR professionals need to be the ones to say, “How can I make this work in my organization? How do I sell it to top management? How do I break down the walls of ‘We’ve always done it this way?’”

The concepts below are all cutting-edge thoughts and ideas happening in the workplace. But they don’t have to be found just in companies like Apple, Amazon or Google. You can implement these concepts in any type of business because they’re about people management, not a specific industry.

Here are three areas HR can embrace to make their companies better.

1. The gig economy and remote work.

Smart companies are already embracing the positive side of the gig economy. HR needs to get past the idea that acquiring the right talent means hiring employees.

Who cares if that person sits at a desk under your roof or if they’re three time zones away? Who cares if that person doesn’t work 9 to 5? The right person is the right person. Who brings the right skillset for the job you need done?

HR struggles with this concept because they worry about the control factor of it. They worry about what happens if a person doesn’t deliver on time and how they will hold that person accountable.

But a contractor-company relationship is actually simpler than a standard employee-employer relationship. There is no 30- or 60-day improvement plan, no focus on training to make them better. If a contractor doesn’t deliver, find another one who will.

We already know that the younger generations are tech-savvy and much more independent. If HR can harness those two things and allow them to use technology to work remotely while doing great work for the company, that’s a game changer.

Smart companies are already doing this. The only thing keeping remote work from catching fire is HR’s unwillingness to embrace it.

Remember, you pay someone to do a job for you, and that means getting results — not punching the clock or sitting in a seat.

With very few exceptions, I think this work comes down to HR’s willingness to look at other types of business models. Remote work and flex work are already here, so let’s embrace them to make our companies better.

2. Upskilling employees.

This is a new term I’m starting to see everywhere. It’s the idea of getting your existing people the skills they need to contribute to the good of the organization.

There are thousands of articles online of people lamenting that they can’t find talented workers. But don’t you have some good people working for you now? Why not retrain them to get them moving up the ladder? Why wouldn’t you invest in the people you have to get them the skills they (and you) need?

The challenge for HR is that HR has traditionally viewed talent management and learning as classroom training. Classroom training has a place in some regards, but it really is becoming a thing of the past.

Individualized talent management is the focus. What does Angela need? What skills does she need to meet her goals and benefit the company? How can we personalize a learning and development program so we all achieve our goals?

Why isn’t HR adopting this? Well, it’s certainly more work. The average HR person would much rather throw an entire work group into a meeting for an hour and check a training box. But as fast as business is changing today, that kind of training doesn’t really work anymore.

There are a few exceptions, of course. Tomorrow, I’ll be spending all day doing sexual harassment training with a client. That’s not individualized, so it’s fine for everyone to do together. But career development? For it to be effective, you have to know what employees want out of their career and tailor a program for them to get the skills they want and the company needs.

3. Power to the people.

We’re starting to see more of people driving brands and company cultures. Smart companies have started using online collaboration tools so employees can do different things on their own time. Companies can design individual career development plans, but that doesn’t have to mean they deliver all of the content. Maybe employees use some of their own time at work or at home to take online classes and do webinars.

Technology today allows for that level of collaboration. There are so many great tools that allow people to work on different projects and from different time zones.

The idea that everyone has to sit face-to-face is really becoming a thing of the past. On the heels of that is a concept that progressive companies are using called gamification, making business results into a game.

Think about when you go to a grocery store. What’s the first thing they ask you at checkout? Do you have a bonus card?

If you do, you use that card to get savings and cash back. That’s great for the consumer. But why does the company do it when it costs them money?

They’re monitoring buying habits. They learn what products and quantities you buy. The big data they get can be huge for the HR world if we’re willing to embrace it.

How can we bring the gaming culture the younger workforce is used to into our companies and use it to solve real-world business problems? Building that kind of culture and brand would mean bringing the best and brightest into your workforce.

What are your thoughts about these concepts? Is your workplace implementing any of these ideas?

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