It’s not too early to start thinking about your workforce management strategy for 2017.
In 2016, organisations realised the importance of organisational efficiency, employee well-being and workplace wellness as well as engagement, flexibility, career growth and planning. You can expect those trends to only accelerate in 2017.
ARN sister publication, CIO, asked three experts — a chief product officer, a senior technical recruiter, and a partner at a workforce management consulting firm — to share their thoughts on what lies ahead for in workforce management.
Here is their take on workforce management trends to watch in 2017.
1 - Technology in the driver’s seat
Across the board, technology will continue to impact workforce management and HR in incredible ways.
“Especially around the area of data analytics, technology is helping to drive the conversation around employee sentiment, happiness, engagement and organisational performance,” Halogen Software chief product officer Karen Williams observed.
“It’s all about making sure CIOs and other C-level executives understand how to leverage data to be more effective.”
For Williams, this is important because HR, as a general rule, has been slow to adopt technology that improves its capability to find, screen and hire talent.
That has been changing in recent years, and 2017 will see the further adoption of new tech, Williams added.
“Some of it stems from HR not being willing to move out of its comfort zone, some of it is because of organisations not being willing to invest in new technology for their HR and recruiting departments,” Williams explained.
“But now, as talent is recognised as critical, technology is seen as a way to enable things like better and faster hiring, retention, and once people are on board, performance management.”
Look for a resurgence in areas such as SEO/ SEM marketing, too, said Zachary Avalos, senior technical recruiter for IT recruiting and staffing firm Mondo, as HR and recruiting professionals leverage platforms like Marketo and Eloqua to help better target and segment their potential “customers”.
“This is going to be everywhere in 2017,” Avalos predicted. “As more organisations start to see their potential talent pool as ‘customers,’ and begin using marketing methods to reach them, to make sure they’re putting relevant job-related content in front of potential c2andidates at the right time, in the right place.”
2 - Focus on team intelligence
Until recently, individual performance and growth have been the focus for gauging talent within organisations, said Jeanne Meister, founding partner of Future Workplace, a HR and recruiting consultancy and research firm.
But now, Meister said many companies are realising that teams are the heart of increased performance, efficiency and effectiveness; that’s driving many mergers and acquisitions as larger companies poach whole teams from competitors.
“We’ve now realised that it takes high-performing teams to produce the kinds of results organisations want,” Meister added.
“So, future-focused companies will look at what makes a great team? How they communicate, how to reward and recognise them, how to push intact teams through growth and development.
“This is a pretty major mindset shift for many organisations, so expect the emphasis on teams to continue through 2017 and beyond.”
3 - User experience in the workplace
For Meister, user experience has become an important metric for judging products, but look for user experience to become a major part of how companies are gauging their workplaces, too.
“CMOs were once the only ones concerned with the experience of users,” Meister said. “Heads of HR are leveraging marketing tools and approaches like design thinking and sentiment analysis to create a compelling employee experience.”
That includes new positions such as chief employee experience officer, a role that Meister said encompasses areas as diverse as real estate, technology and marketing to make sure that employees are as engaged, motivated and productive on the job as possible.
Furthermore, Meister said part of the emphasis on user experience includes using technology tools both for hiring and screening of candidates and for enabling remote work and flexibility.
“A major client of ours is using mobile in their recruitment and hiring processes, and they’ve saved something like US$330,000 annually on paying for job postings and been able to boost their number of hires by 35 per cent,” Meister explained.
“And video is fast becoming the de facto way people are going to be screened, interviewed and hired; many organisations already require that you send a video cover letter when you apply.”
4 - The gig economy heats up
The gig economy continues to play a significant role in the workforce, especially in IT, Avalos added.
“It’s a great way for companies to scale their workforce based on demand, but also for workers who want to quickly add new skills to their resume by taking on short-term projects,” Avalos said.
But according to Meister, some companies also are developing their own, internal pool of contingent labour, which is a new twist on the trend.
“For example, PricewaterhouseCooper’s Talent Exchange allows freelancers and independent professionals to sign up for available projects with the firm, and it benefits both sides,” Meister said.
“For the company, there might not be enough ROI to hire a full-time employee, and maybe for independent contractors, they want the flexibility and freedom to be able to work for themselves.”