This past year has been quite eventful – full of many disruptive events such as Brexit, right wing activism, a trend towards de-globalisation and a higher degree of protectionism. From an HR point of view, 2016 has been a year that has sown the seeds for a number of path-changing developments that will crystallize and bring about major impact in the forthcoming years. Here are some futuristic predictions for 2017 in HR:
On the HR Tech front, one can see a significant move towards usage of Big Data in employee behaviour, performance prediction and governance. Traditionally restricted to automation of payroll, workflow based systems, operations, etc. HR tech has hitherto advanced to social media recruitment, usage of digital and social media in performance recognition and employee engagement.
It has also migrated from server-based systems to largely cloud-based systems and gradually going digital through the mobile channel today. A decade ago, this was not foreseen in HR. Be it benefits administration, social recognition, all of it is moving from the cloud and is going mobile. In 2017 you should be seeing more progress in this area. For example, collaboration tools, workflow processes, benefits administration are all transitioning from desktops to Smartphone and tablets as apps.
The left’s voice is growing louder in terms of demand for parity of pay, especially between genders, employment of fringe groups, women having stronger say in the workplace, etc. Government regulations are becoming tighter and employee-focused. Governments are prohibiting employers from sending emails after work hours and reducing working hours via legislation and other means.
One can see a gradual shift from work-life balance to work-life integration. Higher degree of flexibility is the norm; the workplace is becoming location agnostic and likewise our homes. People socialise outside their workplace during breaks with the plethora of mobile social apps and also do some of their work on mobile during their personal time. All credits to advancements in Smartphone technology that is playing a key role in this integration. Only time can tell, if this is beneficial to mankind or not.
The degree of flexibility that has been afforded to employees so far, is increasing by the year. The rigid rules of workplace are becoming more and more nebulous, if one wants to look at something that is not in their job description. It wouldn’t be frowned at as it was in the past – and this can be attributed to the growth of millennials, becoming a large percentage of today’s workforce.
With organisations becoming more clustered and team-based, performance is evaluated by the team’s success and peer inputs are more relevant in deciding performance assessments, than just the individual’s contributions.
Right now, Agile is a popular concept not only in the IT/tech side, but also in other aspects of business. Agile, in its simplest definition, is time-bound, small teams working towards a goal by rapidly reducing the turnaround times.
With organisational units becoming smaller, more compact and agile, there is a growing trend of team members to have multiple skill sets. This would infer that gradual reduction in the need for super specialists and large centres of excelling.
It also brings focus on organisations enabling their GenX and the older generations to catch up with the rapid advancements in technology. There is a need to train older workforce in newer technologies and tools to keep them relevant.
Finally, freelancing has become an accepted norm. Organisations are willing to appreciate and take the risk of employing contract/contingent highly skilled workforce because of the increasingly team-based employment patterns and project-based environments, even for large, critical projects unlike in the past. The gig economy is becoming permanent.
The degree of uncertainty is becoming increasingly higher, this is yet another trend. The more we try to predict, the more surprising the outcomes turn out to be. Making business decisions, given the degree of rising complexity and unpredictable nature of outcomes, seems to be all the more challenging.
The older generations are finding it even more difficult to cope with this. Unpredictability and higher frequency of big bang disruptors is leaving many disoriented and stressed out. This leads to the possibility that trends for the coming years will peter out or change direction altogether.
Author credit: Dhanabalan RK, Vice President – Human Resources, Maveric Systems
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