Anyone who works in HR knows the field is a lot more dynamic than many realize. The nature of HR professionals’ responsibilities, and how they meet them, is constantly changing.
That’s why it’s important to consider how future trends — in the economy, the HR field, your company, and your industry — may impact your work. Your goal is to anticipate the challenges you may encounter and plan accordingly. You can’t foresee everything, but when you have at least a general idea of the problems you may need to address in the coming months and years, you’ll be better-equipped to face them.
The following issues are particularly worthy of your attention. If you work in HR, be prepared to handle:
More Ambitious Employees
Employee attitudes toward work have been changing in recent years. To some degree, these changes are beneficial to companies.
Today’s young workers are ambitious. They are not content to accept a decent-paying job that involves completing the same basic tasks for years on end with little possibility for growth or change. Instead, they want roles where they know they’ll have opportunities to build their skills and climb the ladder.
On the one hand, that means HR professionals are working during a period when recruiting dedicated, engaged team members is arguably easier than ever. On the other hand, these engaged and ambitious employees are much less patient than workers from previous generations. They’re inclined to seek employment elsewhere the moment they get the sense that their current job isn’t allowing them to reach their full potential. When you interview these individuals, they’re assessing you just as much as you’re assessing them.
Rather than see this new reality as a problem, recognize the opportunity it presents. Coordinate with managers and other decision-makers at your company to ensure all employees have legitimate chances to further their careers and are aware of these opportunities. Make sure the paths to promotions are clearly explained, and regularly offer optional training sessions and professional development classes to let your workforce know your company will provide them with chances to grow.
Taking steps to optimize retention is obviously important. That said, you can’t hold onto all employees forever. Some will move on to work for other companies no matter how engaged they are; sometimes people take new jobs simply because they’re moving. On top of that, senior employees will retire eventually.
You need to ensure that when employees do leave, the interruption doesn’t significantly impact your company’s ability to operate smoothly. To do so, work with managers to identify employees who can be groomed to take on new roles should others leave. While it will sometimes be necessary to fill those roles with new hires, there are going to be instances when you could fill them much more efficiently by promoting your current team members. Promoting from within is also an excellent way to attract talent and improve retention. It shows that you invest in your employees and their careers, and it can be a major selling point during recruitment.
Recruiting the strongest possible candidates you can find is one of your top responsibilities. Of course, this can be one of the more competitive aspects of your job. Other companies are vying for the same candidates as you.
They may also start leveraging technology to a greater degree in the near future. Thanks to innovations in artificial intelligence, big data, and basic mobile tech, HR professionals can recruit employees far more efficiently than they may have in the recent past.
Again, this isn’t a challenge you should fear — just a reality you need to prepare for. Take the time now to review your recruitment processes, focusing specifically on how you take advantage of technology. When you identify areas where you can boost your efficiency and effectiveness with a new tool, discuss its usage with the relevant decision-makers at your company. They may be happy to provide you with new technologies and resources if you can illustrate the value they will yield.
Younger employees don’t simply have different goals when compared to older generations of workers. They also have different expectations.
Again, this generation of employees is ambitious. Today’s young workers are hard workers. They’ll put in long hours if they believe that doing so will help them get ahead.
However, they expect a trade-off in return. Because they work so hard, they want flexibility. That can come in the form of remote work policies, flexible scheduling arrangements, and similar changes to the typical nine-to-five format. Offering such policies is key to attracting the best candidates.
Once more, none of this is meant to discourage an HR professional. On the contrary, reviewing these points now helps you prepare sooner rather than later. That’s how you ensure your company continues to succeed.