6 trends shaping the future of HR in 2017

Mina Pampus · 30 Dec

With the end of 2016 nigh, reflections on the past year are rife.

Join us as we map out what’s awaiting the world of HR in the coming year...

1) An increased focus on Learning and Development

Millennials value personal development and their growing presence in the workplace will mean the workforce will respond accordingly. Technology has facilitated accessible and on-the-go means of training, and apps and video are likely to enter the limelight as training tools in the coming year. Gamification is also on the rise and something to watch out for in 2017.

Why consider it? Training employees can be advantageous to both parties; employees will feel valued and will perform better and employers will benefit from increased productivity, reduced turnover and improved company image.

Millennials prefer learning benefits to cash bonuses (22% vs. 14%)

2) Consideration of an employee’s experience

⅓ of employees in the U.K. are looking to move job. As a result, it has become more important than ever to make workplaces attractive. Millennials have motivations beyond personal financial gain and stress the importance of a good work-life balance, and even work-life integration - creating synergies rather than competition between all areas that define 'life', including work, family time, personal wellbeing and health. We see a bigger focus on the employee experience, as workplaces adapt and employers spend increasing amounts on improving working environments.

83% of HR professionals say that the "employee experience" is either important or very important to their organisation’s success.

In an age of 'Glassdoor' transparency, this is hardly surprising.

Handy hint: Try and improve your candidates’ experience when they come for interview. Word of mouth is incredibly powerful and they are much more likely to recommend your workplace to their peers if their experience is positive.

3) Growing into mobile technology

Millennials are set to comprise 75% of the workforce by 2020 and businesses are thus having to embrace technological advancements in order to meet the expectations of this tech-friendly generation. Despite there being more than seven billion mobile devices in the world (which drives more than 40% of all internet traffic), less than 20% of companies deploy their HR and employee productivity solutions on mobile apps today. With increasing numbers working from home and on-the-go, it is believed that in 2017, the focus of HR will be on mobile technology and multi-device compatible platforms.

Handy hint: Check out our blog post on the best HR tools out there to help you get ahead of the trend and make the first step towards incorporating mobile technology.


4) More regular feedback sessions

A large proportion of the professional workforce of today is comprised of millennials, who are accustomed to instant gratification on social media (likes, follows etc.) and quick and easy access to the wealth of information on the internet. As a result, they tend to expect, and thrive on, instant feedback at work too. Regular, one-to-one reviews are becoming more prevalent and are expected to continue to do so in the coming year.

Example: Adobe last year ditched their formal annual performance review in favour of regular feedback sessions and have since seen a 30% decrease in turnover and a 50% increase in involuntary departures.

People will, we believe, quickly see the advantages and follow suit.

Handy hint: Next year, try to encourage peer-to-peer feedback, rewards and recognition, as well as top down!

Only 8% of companies believe their current performance management process is highly effective in driving business value.

5) An increased focus on wellbeing

There is no denying that the population has become increasingly health conscious and this concern extends to the workplace. The use of wellbeing programmes to attract and retain top talent is growing. Compared to last year, health-related employee benefits have increased by 58% and wellness by 45%, which will continue into 2017.

Why consider it? Investing in a wellbeing programme shows that you are making a conscious investment in your employees and can garner their trust and improve their satisfaction.


6) Organisations start to rely on big data

People analytics are becoming increasingly common and more and more companies are using employee data to shape HR strategy. New tools are emerging that allow HR managers to measure people data and give indications of employee satisfaction. Up until now, many HR experts are “algorithm phobes,” favouring human judgement over data. 2017 is the year to change this!

Why consider it? IBM has used people analytics to predict retention risk for employees in key job roles, and notifies managers so they can prevent them from quitting. The company reports that this has saved them over $130 million dollars.

"Digital transformation is not just shiny, new technology — it’s a new way of organizing, engaging with customers and employees, and how we build networks of expertise and trust – through cooperation and collaboration.” Jeff Welstead

So there it is. Overwhelmed? Don't panic! Try to pick up one or two of these tips and gradually incorporate them into your HR strategy over time. Don't try to make drastic changes in a 'New Year, New HR Vision' hysteria.


HR Dive, ‘4 learning and development trends for HR leaders to watch in 2017’, Nov 2016
Recruitment International, '21% of employees will be looking for a new job in 2016 in search of better pay and career progression, 2016
iRevu, ‘Annual Performance Review Predictions for 2017’, 2017
SHRM Foundation, ‘Employee benefits report’, 2016
CMS Wire, ‘How We Work: 6 more trends shaping the future of HR in 2017’, Dec 2016
Forbes, ’10 Workplace Trends You’ll See in 2017’, Nov 2016
The Huffington Post, 'The Impact of Technology on HR and What's Ahead,' 2016

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