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5 Workplace Trends to Watch Out For in 2017

Recruiting Tools & Technology Recruiting Strategy

In 2017, a new series of workplace trends will emerge. These trends will impact the decisions that HR professionals make, and they will largely influence how HR departments function.

By learning about these emerging trends and preparing for them, you can increase your chances of success in 2017. You can evaluate which goals your HR department should pursue, how to best accomplish these goals, and what investments are most worthwhile.

To help you with this process, we’ve conducted extensive research to determine which workplace trends you can expect to see in 2017. We also included some recommendations for how you can start benefiting from these trends.

So, without further ado, here are the top five workplace trends to prepare for in 2017:

Evolving Employment Brands

Pew Research shows that millennials will soon make up half of the workforce, and the oldest group of Generation Z-ers (those born between 1996 and 2010) are now looking for jobs. Because these job seekers have different wants and needs from previous generations, employers are searching for ways to adapt and stay competitive in 2017. In hopes of accomplishing this, research from Brandon Hall Group shows that 60 percent of organizations are making it a priority to strengthen their employment brands.

Most organizations will enhance their employment brands by ensuring that their employee value proposition aligns with what today’s candidates want most. For example, research from Accenture shows that recent college graduates care more about workplace culture than compensation, which means more companies will make changes to improve and promote their company culture in 2017. A national study from Well Fargo also reveals that thirty-nine percent of employers will offer more health and wellness benefits in 2017. According to SWBC, we can expect to see a rise in voluntary benefits like financial counseling services and pet insurance too.

How to Get Started: If you want to take your employment brand to the next level in 2017, first identify which of your current offerings are most appealing to your job seekers. You can accomplish this by asking candidates personally during interviews, reviewing online studies, or investing in analytical tools. Once you understand what makes your organization a great place to work for them, emphasize it in your job ads, career site and in your communication with candidates. This will help you increase your employment brand’s appeal so that you can recruit great talent in 2017.

An Improved Candidate Experience

According to Google Trends, the candidate experience is becoming a more popular topic every year. Employers are increasingly beginning to recognize the importance of the candidate experience. They understand that a poor candidate experience drives consequences such as fewer job applicants, increased turnover costs, and even reduced revenue–according to TLNT. Because employers are eager to avoid these outcomes, Mercer reports that most of them plan to invest more resources into improving the candidate experience.

To make the recruiting process more enjoyable for candidates in 2017, most employers will invest in tools like user-friendly career sites and candidate relationship management software.  We can also expect to see a rise in employment videos and microsites as employers search for ways to scale personalized communication with candidates. When implemented effectively, these investments will help employers capture more applicants, compete for talent more effectively, and improve their quality of hire in 2017.

How to Get Started: To successfully improve your candidate experience in 2017, ask your employees and interviewees for feedback on your recruitment process. Find out what they liked most and what they think you could have done better so that you can pinpoint which improvements will benefit your candidate experience most. Once you have this information, create a step-by-step plan for how you will implement these improvements.

Greater Adoption of HR Tech

The era of digital disruption has finally hit HR, which means HR departments will leverage more technology in 2017 than ever before. More specifically, Broadbean explains that HR will adopt more integrative apps to seamlessly bring together various systems like onboarding, training and performance management. Bersin by Deloitte reports that if organizations use these apps strategically and successfully, they can improve employee engagement and productivity.

HR departments will also use more recruiting technology to promote their employment brands and open jobs in 2017. For example, they will incorporate employment videos into both their career sites and job postings to further engage job seekers. According to a survey from Universum, 70 percent of employer respondents also plan to increase their use of social media to market their employment brand. Deloitte also explains that analytical tools will become more popular as HR professionals remain eager to measure and improve their ROI.

How to Get Started: To find out which HR technology you should adopt in 2017, first analyze and define your recruiting needs. Then find the technology that can best meet those needs, and thoroughly research your brand options. Talk to current customers, examine case studies and find out what ROI the technology will generate for you. Once you have a solid case for why your organization should invest in the technology, present your case to key stakeholders and/or move forward with confidence.

More Workplace Upgrades

Over the years, various studies have shown that certain workplace features can boost employee engagement, morale and productivity. For example, Gensler’s 2016 Workplace Survey found that employees who have the option to work in a variety of settings are more innovative. Now that employers have substantial insight into how the work environment affects their employees, design thinking is emerging as a new major trend in HR.

Because more HR leaders are considering how they can improve their work environments, Fuze predicts that workplaces will become more flexible and future-proof in 2017. This means features like versatile work areas, modular desks, and furniture with multimedia capabilities will become more prevalent in the workplace. Summerlin Roberts also explains that as employers aim to promote employee health and wellness, we can also expect to see more things like standing workstations and stress management programs in the workplace.

How to Get Started: Rather than trying to convince key stakeholders to redesign your entire workplace, start by proposing a specific, evidence-based design update that will push your current business goals forward. For example, if you’re focused on improving collaboration, create shared spaces for greater interaction. If your focus is employee productivity, explain that adding certain colors to the workplace can make your employees more productive. Once your stakeholders agree to make the design update, measure its impact on your team’s productivity so that you can build a case for initiating more workplace design changes.

A Growing Gig Economy

Recently, sources like McKinsey & Company revealed that independent jobs and gig opportunities are becoming increasingly popular. The gig economy–or shared economy–nearly doubled in the past year, and this rapid growth is expected to continue in 2017. In fact, an Intuit study predicts that gig workers will make up more than 40 percent of the workforce in the next few years.

Many employers will take advantage of this emerging trend because it offers several benefits. First of all, the gig economy gives employers the opportunity to hire experts for services that aren’t needed on a regular basis. Additionally, when HR professionals hire gig workers instead of full-time workers, they can reduce the costs associated with providing long-term employee benefits. Finally, the gig economy allows companies to quickly scale their workforce up and down to meet changing business demands.

How to Get Started: To determine whether or not your company can benefit from the gig economy, examine your current workforce and identify any gaps that need to be filled. Are there any skills that your team is currently lacking, or any that you will need temporarily in the future? Or maybe your team has some tedious work tasks that can be turned into an easy side gig, such as writing a whitepaper or designing an infographic. If you find opportunities that would be suitable for contingent workers, consider advertising the position.

Although we can’t foresee everything that will happen in 2017, we can confidently say that these five trends will be apparent throughout the year. If you keep them top of mind during your workforce planning, your HR department will have an advantage and can be more successful.

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