Seven Workforce Management Trends to Keep an Eye on in 2018

Posted: 6th June 2018 08:35

HR or Human Resources is now officially a thing of the past. HCM or human capital management is the new buzzword for workforce management, but this is far from the biggest shift in Human Resources. Here are 7 workforce management trends to watch in 2018. We’ll discuss the issues driving these changes in Human Resources and the benefits companies reap when they get onboard with these trends.

The Focus on Middle Management

Many businesses focus on their top talent. They invest in leadership training for their top leaders. They spend some time and money engaging employees at the bottom. But they ignore middle management, the people who on a daily basis take the vision and orders of those at the top and relay it to those who do the work, often selling them on the vision and helping them implement it. This is why it is middle managers who have the greatest impact on overall performance of the organization.

Businesses are starting to target middle managers for training in employee engagement and leadership development. And with the advent of online management training, companies are using continuing education to form better managers at all level.  If you want to learn more about online management training, you can find training options here.

Less Customer Experience, More Employee Experience

While a business can and should look at the customer’s overall experience with the brand, 2018 is the year businesses invest massively in training employees with that goal in mind. Businesses are realizing that their employees are the face of the company, and their behavior can engage the customer or repel them. Investing in training in how to deal with the public ensures that employees respond in what the employer considers the right way. This type of training makes things easier for employees, as well.

Businesses are looking at ways to improve the employees’ experience, too. They’re looking at technologies, training and improved work processes that improve performance without causing burnout. They’re researching performance evaluation processes and modifying it so that employees get real-time feedback and constructive advice instead of a surprise lecture at the end of the year.

Engaging the Employee

Customer engagement has known benefits. Customers become more loyal to the brand. They’re now more likely to stay with the brand and spend more on its products so you don’t have to spend as much money trying to recruit new customers.

They’re also more likely to refer their friends to the brand, which can be an incredibly valuable marketing tool. Businesses are beginning to invest in employee engagement for similar reasons. Investing in employee engagement is a cost-effective HR strategy, since it reduces the need to recruit new employees and then bring them up to speed. It prevents business disruptions due to the departures of key personnel.

Big Data and Human Resources

The term Big Data refers to the collection and data mining of the masses of information being gathered on every front. By 2020, the IDC predicts that 1.7 megabytes of new data will be generated per second for every person alive. Big Data refers to the analysis of these huge swaths of data and trying to make sense of it all. For businesses to make sense of it all, first they have to decide what is important to measure. There’s no point in tracking metrics that don’t matter. Otherwise, you have more data than you need to sort through, and it is already a firehose of data streaming in.

In Human Resources, some of the most important data to track and analyze includes time worked, attendance, wellness data, and productivity data. But before you start analyzing the data, think about your end goal. What are you trying to learn? What knowledge do you want to glean from summarizing and reporting this information? Once you know the overall goal, then you can build a strategy to support it.

For example, you could use data about staffing, attendance and engagement by manager to determine if any managers should be targeted for review and possible training to improve performance. You could review the same data by worksite and compare issues to transit schedules and data. You could also look at data about retention, turnover and engagement by demographic segment.

The growth of Big Data in HR is resulting in relatively new key performance indicators aside from number of people hired, promoted and fired. For example, employee engagement and productivity are starting to be built into data analysis packages because employers want to know these numbers.

HR and IT

IT has impacted Human Resources, though it may not seem like it since HR leaders still spend more than a third of their time on manual work. Their limited insight into the overall business and constant stream of basic requests makes IT seem like it has passed them by.

However, Human Resources Information Systems or HRIS is bringing extensive tool suites to HR personnel. They’re able to use technology to streamline processes for recruiting, onboarding, retention, talent management, and collaboration. HR IT systems are also moving a lot of the little but critical requests from employees to self-service interfaces.

HRIS systems have moved to the cloud, allowing small organizations as well as large ones to use the same systems. HR software is often available via mobile devices, so employees can log their time worked or view their paycheck via mobile devices. This removes the little requests that take up so much of HR personnel time, allowing them to focus on the larger problems that people cannot resolve themselves.

Automation is creeping into Human Resources as well. For example, Human Resources systems are simplifying administrative tasks and speeding up the process of getting them done.

Hiring for Fit, Training for Skill

Given the challenge of finding people with skills in high demand, more companies are taking the opposite track. They are instead hiring for cultural fit and then training them with the skills the company needs. This allows businesses to fill the skills gap in areas like manufacturing. This has the side benefit of cultivating employee loyalty and overall morale.

Some firms are more willing to do this than others, since it requires actually hiring people who have nothing to offer except motivation and an ability to learn quickly. The hiring of people for cultural fit or having the right personality does alter how HR handles them, since it requires some flexibility in compensation or benefits.

The Next Level of the Employee Schedule

Standardized schedules are no longer quite so standard. For example, many businesses cannot run on a standard 9-5 schedule; healthcare stands out as the classic example. HR software platforms that have been rolled out with the ability to schedule the most productive and top performers during periods of peak demand. And these tools take some of the guesswork out of scheduling, since it can automatically keep schedules compliant with local and regional labor laws.

These same tools are enabling more flexibility in work schedules for employees. These can be great recruiting tools, since Generation Y and Z are apparently less interested in shift work than anyone who came before them. With the right software tools supporting HR and management, you can truly offer employees a good work-life balance. A clear benefit for the company is improved employee loyalty. The only question is whether or not scheduling will be mostly centralized or decentralized in the future.

Workplace management is evolving to keep up with the demands of the workforce, the needs of the business and regulatory requirements. Human Resources departments are changing as technology improves and HR starts to be seen as part of the business’s overall strategic vision.