The world is constantly changing, and so is the way we do business. Here are some HR trends you can expect to see in the coming year.
- Business Does Politics
In the past couple of years, politically neutral companies have found themselves forced into taking public positions.
A few examples: Sixty tech CEOs signed a letter condemning President Trump’s travel ban. Nordstrom dumped Ivanka Trump’s clothing line. Other businesses have released statements in support of their immigrant employees.
Expect this trend to continue—and expect the unexpected when it comes to politics and how it affects your workplace.
- HR Is More Important than Ever
Because of the political landscape, HR is now the most important department at the office. This year, you might find yourself assisting your management team with big issues that affect your personnel, and creating new policies to address those issues.
- What are your expectations regarding employees discussing politics on the job?
- What will your company do if a vital employee gets deported?
- If someone traveling for work can’t get back into the country?
- If the public boycotts your business?
HR professionals should be prepared to consult on these (and other) complex problems.
- Security and Safety
Security is always a major issue, and will only become more important as our dependence on technology increases.
Protecting internal communications, preventing social media and website hacks, and maintaining employee privacy are just a few concerns.
What are you doing to keep your team’s information private in this digital world? Are your files and documents safe and secure?
- Millennials Grow Up
Remember all of those thinkpieces about “How to Work with Millennials”? We all seem to have survived that bumpy transition!
But millennials aren’t kids anymore, now ranging in age from about 22 to 37. As they get married and have children, you’ll be faced with new HR challenges. Millennials want maternity and paternity leave, on-site or reimbursed childcare, and flexible work schedules that support their new families.
Your policies should align with these needs if you want to keep your millennial workers to stick around.
- Who the Heck is Generation Z?
As millennials grow up, there’s a new kid on the block: Generation Z.
They’re born after 1995, and some of them are just now starting to graduate from college and enter the workforce. In the next few years, you’ll see more Gen Z folks applying for your jobs and internships.
We’re still waiting to see what their defining characteristics will be, but you can expect these children of Generation X to be more tech-savvy, risk-averse, independent, conservative, frugal and globally-minded.
- No More Dumb Perks
Office perks just don’t carry the weight they used to.
The ping pong table, once a symbol of a chill work environment, has been collecting dust for months now. Free snacks are fine, but it’s harder and harder to accommodate everyone’s dietary needs. And “unlimited” vacation days are great in theory, but not if there’s pressure not to use them.
Because so many workplaces offer similar surface-level perks, job-seekers no longer consider them special. Consider them a thing of the past—a remnant of the 2000s.
- Work-Life Balance Rules
What do employees want instead?
A life, basically.
A flexible schedule, childcare assistance, sick days and vacation days they can actually use without fear of reprisal. And, above all else, a work environment that’s well-managed and fully staffed so they don’t feel guilty going home on time every night.
- All Hail “Digital Disconnect”
One of the ways you’ll see companies encouraging work-life balance is through digital disconnect policies that mandate employees not be on call 24/7.
Expect these to become more common in the next few years, inspired by the French law banning work email after hours. When you give your staff permission to turn off their phones and not check their email, it’s a huge relief for them. It’s one of the ways to prevent burn-out caused by constantly being on the clock.
Do you have a digital disconnect policy in place?
These are just a few of the HR trends happening now. Stay tuned for Part Two, where we’ll talk about eight more HR trends to look out for.