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HR Trends, Predictions & Concerns for 2017

The top 7 things HR will be focused on next year.

In G&A Partners’ most recent #HRTailgate, we discussed trends and predictions for workplace wellness in 2017. But what about the wider human resources industry? In the spirit of the approaching new year, Bonnie Scherry, G&A Partners’ director of Corporate HR, offered her insights on what concerns HR professionals have going into next year, as well as some predictions for what big issues HR will face in 2017.

Top Trends, Predictions & Concerns for HR in 2017

  1. First and foremost: Let’s address the elephant in the room.

    It’s clear the Trump administration has very different priorities than the ones held by the Obama administration, but how those priorities will be translated into policy remains to be seen. There’s at least one Trump policy goal HR professionals are well aware of, however:

    “Trump has made his intentions to repeal Obamacare abundantly clear, but what’s unclear is how that process would work or what his replacement health care law might look like,” Scherry said. “From a business perspective, this has many HR professionals and employers on their toes as they wait to see how any attempts to repeal or replace existing health care legislation will impact benefits and the costs of health insurance. From an employee management perspective, HR professionals are likely trying to answer employee questions and concerns about how that might affect their own benefits.”

  2. Similarly uncertain: The future of federal overtime regulations.

    Overtime has been on the radar of employers and HR professionals for more than year now, and is going to have stay top-of-mind going into 2017 thanks to the recent activity surrounding the Department of Labor’s new overtime regulations.

    “Everyone got all geared up for the December 1 change (the original effective date of the pending overtime rule), and for now it’s all on hold,” Scherry said. “There’s going to continue to be a lot of unknowns and uncertainty about overtime until the future of the new regulations is decided by the courts.”

    While the U.S. Court of Appeals announced it would fast-track the Department of Labor’s appeal of the temporary injunction, it’s unclear how quickly the issue will move through the judicial system, or what might happen if a ruling isn’t issued before the new President is sworn in.

  3. Moving away from politics: The demand for more actionable data and metrics.

    “Measure what is measurable, and make measurable what is not so.” This quote, attributed to Galileo, perfectly sums up the challenge business owners are giving their HR teams.

    “Generally speaking, HR people aren’t really ‘numbers’ people, but business owners and leaders are,” Scherry said. “Numbers and metrics are how executives measure success, so it makes sense that that’s what they want their HR people to be able to bring to the table to justify budgets or talk about outcomes.”

    Even more so in 2017, HR professionals are going to need to find ways to provide management with meaningful data and metrics that demonstrate the value of the strategic HR function, whether by investing in additional HR technology or flexing their Excel skills.

  4. Speaking of technology: Growing concerns over privacy and data security.

    There’s an app for virtually every aspect of a person’s life, and the workplace is no exception. Employees can use smartphone apps to clock in and out, participate in wellness programs, communicate with benefit carriers and even consult with doctors participating in telemedicine programs. Employers are also taking advantage of online platforms and apps to approve payroll, communicate with and engage employees, recruit new candidates, conduct virtual meetings – the list literally goes on and on.

    Convenience isn’t the only thing these apps bring to workplace, however – they also bring increased risks for security breaches, for both employers and employees.

    “Employees using apps have to worry about with whom and how they’re sharing their personal data, and employers have to be equally as vigilant to ensure all the vendors they’re trusting with their organization’s and employees’ data are securing that data the way they say they are,” Scherry said.

  5. Let’s talk about people: Balancing employee needs across multiple generations.

    With the number of Baby Boomers in the workplace rapidly dwindling, younger generations (Generation X, Millennials and Generation Z) now outnumber their older counterparts. Although employers and HR professionals have had several years to prepare for this change in the makeup of the workforce population, dealing with the effects of this dramatic generational shift is proving to be very challenging.

    “This radical generational shift means HR professionals are now having to create engagement programs that appeal to workforces with a potential 50 to 60-year age gap between the youngest and most senior employees,” Scherry said.

    Moving forward into 2017, HR professionals will be tasked with either ensuring employee initiatives are broad enough to appeal to employees of all generations, or finding ways to tailor initiatives to fit the preferences of each group represented in their multigenerational workforces.

  6. Bring on the Boomers: Capturing the knowledge of retiring employees.

    Catering to generational preferences isn’t the only problem the impending generational shift presents: An estimated 10,000 employees becoming eligible for retirement every day, and every retirement party represents years (sometimes decades) of institutional knowledge and experience walking out the door.

    This idea of organizational “brain drain” is incredibly distressing from an HR perspective, because recruiting or training someone to take that employee’s place can be a lengthy and expensive process.

    “With another 3.65 million workers reaching retirement age in 2017, finding a way to capture and document departing employees’ knowledge, as well as adapting and modernizing that information to be applicable to current business needs, will be a big priority for HR going forward,” Scherry said.

  7. Last but not least: The death of the performance appraisal.

    It’s been a long, slow march, but the death of the performance appraisal seems to have finally arrived.

    “With more and more employers recognizing that traditional annual performance review process offer more faults than merits, they are instead looking for alternatives to the performance appraisal that offer more effective ways to provide more feedback, more often with an employee-centric focus,” Scherry said.

    The final prediction for 2017? HR will likely be tasked with identifying more efficient options for any organizations looking to modernize their performance management process. While many HR professionals would love opportunity to contribute in a strategic way to their company’s success, overhauling an existing performance management process is a tall task, especially alongside all the transactional tasks they’re doing every day, like processing payroll, administering benefits and hiring new employees.

If you’re an HR professional starting to get overwhelmed by how long your to-do list is getting for next year, don’t worry – you don’t have to do this all on your own. Check out this two-minute video to see how outsourcing tedious administrative and HR tasks helped Mary, a senior HR professional, focus on more strategic HR functions.

Related Content  4 Ways Your Employees Benefit from Outsourced HR

7 responses to “HR Trends, Predictions & Concerns for 2017”

  1. Tammy F says:

    Great article!

  2. Grossman Jon says:

    Excellent 5 points. Managements appreciates the new incoming administration and believes things will be better come Jan 21, 2017

  3. Kathy Walters says:

    A lot of good information!

  4. Dian Whaley says:

    I like the death of the performance appraisal. Most companies fail use them properly anyway.
    When it comes to our new President Elect: I prefer to wait and watch. It is our duty to give the process a chance to work. Give our system a chance to work.
    I think it is exciting to see multiple generations working together. They all learn from each other.

  5. Robin Joseph says:

    Out of all the great points you mentioned I liked the 4th point very much. Talking and implementing new technology is always a great thing. Recruiters can use AI for driving candidates details and other information.

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