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The Latest Trends in Human Resources

By: Ronda Payne

Published On: November 1, 2018

Every occupation goes through change, but most often people think about IT or operations as encountering the most significant changes. There isn’t often a lot of consideration for the changes on the human side of things, but serious changes ARE afoot in human resources. In fact, the fast pace of life and technology combined with changing attitudes makes human resource management one of the most quickly evolving fields.

For human resources officers, human resources specialists, human resources managers and pretty much any human resources job, there are new trends to be watching that will make recruitment, training and development (not to mention managing) a workforce easier.

Working Remotely – Even for HR Professionals

As the movement to work from home or the local coffee shop has been evolving, there is recognition that some jobs can function out of the office (sales, marketing, legal, etc.) and others can’t (retail clerk, order picking, etc.) and HR has often fallen into a grey area in the middle. While many of the jobs in the HR arena can be done remotely (planning a training program, checking employee reviews, establishing benefits) others have, for the most part, been seen as in-house only. For example, a face-to-face interview.

Advancements in technology have changed that. Now, with the growth of VPN technology, not only can email and other company information be accessed safely remotely, but video conferencing and other tools allow for interviewing from literally anywhere in the world. Candidates need not come into the office for a face-to-face meeting or document signing. They can do everything from onboarding to their job and subsequent reviews from anywhere they have internet access and the HR professional working with them may also be working remotely.

Many companies have remote teams and can interact from various locations around the world using a number of project management tools and technological assets. It is no longer a requirement to hold meetings in a room in an office in order to see one another, collaborate and do great things.

When it comes to HR strategies, this means not only can HR professionals take their work on the road, they can also expand their net when it comes to finding the right employees.

Not Every Employee is Looking

Another advancement made possible through technology and the adoption of it is the ability to recruit those who aren’t actively looking for a new job more precisely. You’ve likely heard someone say “it was an offer I couldn’t refuse,” or “I wasn’t looking, but it’s my dream job, I had to take it,” and these types of things generally happen through what’s known as passive recruiting or head hunting.

Because of the high-volume of use of social media and tools like LinkedIn, it has become easier for HR teams and HR business partners to find employees with the right background and skills and to get in touch with them. These potential employees are generally already working in the field, so HR professionals are making use of online professional and special interest groups, hashtags and other methods to identify the person or people they want to connect with.

Going Blind

There have always been concerns about bias in the hiring process. Male vs female, age, ethnicity and more have been at the root of many questions over who was called for an interview and who ultimately got hired. With electronic resume screening and recruiting software, the ability to remove bias factors has grown easier.

Things like age (or year of graduation which can be an age indicator), name, address and even educational institution can all influence the selection process. Removing these potential sources of unintentional bias allows recruiters to select the right candidates for the second stage of the process by assessing them on experience, abilities and accomplishments first and foremost.

Play to Human Strengths and Motivate Through Interests

All this talk of technological advancements can lead to the question of job security. Artificial Intelligence is making many jobs obsolete from the factory floor to cleaning bathrooms. It’s not just the hands-on jobs that may be at risk in the future either, some roles within management are being replaced by predictive analytic tools and other analysis-savvy options that can help with decision making, processing of information and other tasks.

When companies take the time to consider the value of their workforce, they will be able to create roles that are somewhat insulated from replacement by technology. Nothing is guaranteed, but focusing on what the human mind can do (critical thinking and problem-solving, trouble-shooting, building functional teams and managing them) will allow the creation of jobs that take advantage of that human workforce.

By shifting towards future-thinking jobs, employees gain a sense of security and companies know that as technology advances they will be making the best of both worlds.

While ensuring employees feel secure in the future of their jobs is a subtle source of motivation (due to loyalty and pride), there are other ways to incent employees that feed their inner desires. Many companies have scrapped the archaic incentive programs of 5 year, 10 year and 20 year pins, clocks and other paraphernalia in favour of programs that create enthusiasm that’s much more immediate and stimulating. Millennials aren’t likely to care about a 5 year pin anyway, they aren’t looking that far into the future with a company. What they, and others in the workforce, care about is the here and now.

Find out what motivates your teams. Some may see clocking off an hour early to pick up their child from daycare as the best option while others want to be on teams for special projects normally outside of their job description and then there are those who would like to host a movie event for their coworkers. The point is, incentives can’t be static. People expect personalization.

Larger organizations are even taking advantage of the addictive qualities of online gaming to learn about their employees and reward them. Apps can be built that track and reward progress, provide training or learn about employees skills. Gaming like this can even be used in the hiring process to determine critical thinking skills, decision-making ability and other people analytics not seen in the hiring process before.

Change happens in all fields, but keeping an eye on the advancements in HR will allow employers to hire better employees, prepare them for the future and keep them motivated as time passes.


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