What are your HR priorities for 2018? Do they match our predictions for the people issues that may be topping the to do list for many businesses?
1. AI. Many businesses have taken significant steps in engaging technology to attract and retain their best people in recent years, particularly in recruitment, and we predict that AI will continue to spread to other aspects of HR. HR people can no longer afford to bury their heads in the sand when it comes to technology (we’re not known for being particularly technically savvy!) and it’s important that we understand just what other businesses are doing and how it is helping them.
Is it time to invest in an HR systems specialist if you haven’t already done so, or to look at L&D providers who are embracing technology to enable more mobile, ‘any-time’ training solutions? In the longer term, we will need to re-think roles across the business, including in HR, as work becomes more automated – but importantly remember to use this technology to help our businesses become more customer focussed, rather than less so.
2. Productivity. As businesses embrace technology and Brexit analysis shines a light on how low UK productivity is compared to the rest of the G7, the pressure to overhaul slow and old fashioned working practices is growing. Organisations will need to update to more innovative working practices, policies and approaches to ensure that they remain competitive. This involves HR from both a functional perspective and facilitating change across the organisation. We have already seen a trend in big organisations trying to ‘de-corporatise’ so that their business thinks and behaves more like an agile small business – ie reducing bureaucracy & decision making barriers, empowering employees to think creatively and encouraging an entrepreneurial approach to business development. Leadership will need to be more agile and digitally understanding.
We predict that as one of the first steps in all of this from an HR perspective, the demise of traditional performance management processes and appraisals will speed up, to be replaced with more efficient approaches more closely aligned to business strategy. Continuous, on demand and mobile learning will be required to reflect our society’s obsession with smart technology and social media. Of course, on top of all of this, strategies to deal with the Brexit fall-out will be increasingly urgently required.
3. Well-being. Fitness, well-being (especially mental health) and corporate social responsibility (the generation of socially conscious millennials are now leading many businesses and so the social, ethical and environmental impact of the way we do business will be a core part of many business approaches) will continue to grow and become embedded. Linked to this is the greater regulation of the Gig economy to ensure all workers are treated fairly – a big HR issue in itself for many businesses in 2018.
4. Weinstein fallout. Thanks to the media’s response to the Weinstein allegations and the high profile #MeToo campaign, diversity and inclusion are now very much a CEO issue. It is clear that traditional diversity training over the last 20 years (and equal opportunities training before that) has sadly not made much impact. Business leaders will be looking to HR for more meaningful solutions in 2018. Might this include more positive discrimination, fast tracking of minority talent and more flexible working for all levels of staff? As has been seen with a few progressive businesses in 2017, we hope we will see more policies that enable men to genuinely share caring responsibilities, and for both sexes to take up these opportunities without detriment to their career progression. We will certainly see a more robust approach towards dealing with harassment and bullying across all industries.
5. Developing best practice employment approaches in Jersey. Jersey will finally catch up with the UK when we see the enactment in 2018 of its first Disability Discrimination Law, prohibiting acts of disability discrimination in all areas of employment. This follows the introduction of Race, Sex and Age Discrimination laws since 2014. As such, if they haven’t done so already, progressive, best practice HR teams should be urgently updating their employment practices in all of these areas – and going further than an arguably flawed and limited set of discrimination laws dictate. With States elections in 2018, it will be interesting to see the moves towards better practice being mooted by our politicians (a dramatic improvement in maternity provision is just one recent headline grabber).
6. GDPR readiness. More of a hotspot than a trend, but none the less a real imperative for HR and other support functions this year if the business wishes to avoid hefty fines for non compliance! GDPR comes in to force on 25th May 2018 and will effect all aspects of data management. Specifically from an HR perspective, this may well mean far reaching changes in how your business collects and processes employee and recruitment candidate data. A good opportunity to see perhaps how AI might be able to help you…
Wishing you a prosperous and innovative year with all of your HR ventures. We look forward to helping all of our clients lead the way in 2018!