Top 6 HR Trends of 2017

By: Kiara Lawson

As our world continues to change and evolve, so does our workforce. Our current workforce includes a variety of different people with very different backgrounds, needs and interests. With all of that in mind, each year we notice a set of top HR trends that emerge to accommodate for our ever changing world.

Here are a few of the top HR trends of 2017:

  • Engaging Millennials in the Workplace

  • Creating a Great Culture through More Work/Life Balance

  • Focus on Diversity and Inclusion

  • Focus on Ethical Practices

  • Wage Increases and Closing the Gender Pay Gap

  • Increase in Employer-Sponsored Professional Development

Let’s now look at our first HR trend of 2017:

HR Trend 1: Engaging Millennials in the Workplace

Those darn millennials...they’re everywhere now (which makes sense since they are all out of college, and consist of those born from 1981-1997)! There have a been a lot of articles written about the new millennial generation in the workforce. Regardless of how a person may feel about the millennials and their work tactics, one thing is for sure: they are definitely bringing in change! With this new millennial workforce, they definitely have some different goals and priorities when it comes to work. Millennials value topics, such as work-life balance, job satisfaction, culture, social responsibility, growth opportunities and learning and development, to be major factors when choosing a job.

HR Trend 2: Creating a Great Culture through More Work/Life Balance

Considering how much our jobs/careers mean to most people (especially millennials, and considering we spend at least ⅓ of our day working), employees are now stressing the importance of having a friendly culture as well as their need for more work-life balance… and employers are finally hearing them loud and clear. Companies are working hard to not only brand how great their culture is, making recruitment almost like a sales process, and also actually taking the necessary steps to prove it to their employees.

One of those ways of creating a better culture creating a work-life balance, or a work-life inclusion, as it’s increasingly become known as. More companies are now offering flextime options, such as remote jobs, work from home days, and even seasonal (i.e. summertime) schedule options. Check out Fortune’s 50 best flexible work companies.

In addition to work/life balance, another company culture focus for 2017 is:

HR Trend 3: Focus on Diversity and Inclusion

With a variety of different types of people making up our modern workforce, it’s important that companies are more representative of the general population. According to Harvard Business Review, more diverse teams have been found to be more smarter because they focus on the facts, they process the facts more carefully and they are more innovative.

Not only are companies increasingly working to recruit a more diverse workforce, but they are also to working hard to retain them through creating an inclusive culture. In order to foster this inclusive culture, companies can do things such as change some of their policies to include and/or represent the underrepresented groups, creating networking groups specific to a protected class and/or creating a sensitivity training related to race, gender and/or sexual orientation. Another less serious idea to to encourage things like company potluck meals where people bring homemade dishes to share and explain their origins (or label them with an index card)... you could even have a recipe exchange at the end!

Let’s now talk about our fourth HR tread of 2017:

HR Trend 4: Focus on Ethical Practices

Another major HR trend in 2017 has been the need to focus on strict ethical practices. Considering the number of high-level corporate scandals related to unethical business practices, companies are becoming stricter on their ethical requirements and ensuring that their culture depicts that ethical standard that they have set. Not only can unethical business practices directly affect employees, but it can also damage the company brand and lead to huge lawsuits the could require a huge settlement. Ultimately, companies are realizing the ROI on implementing stricter ethical standards is greater than having to pay for all the damages a huge lawsuit can have.  

On a similar note, closing wage gaps and making equal pay more of a priority is our next trend for 2017.

HR Trend 5: Wage Increases and Closing the Gender Pay Gap

With the current economy and changes in minimum wage, a lot of companies have been forced to increase their minimum wages for their employees. Having a higher minimum wage can be great for the employees, but can be somewhat strenuous for some companies to be in compliance. Companies are needing to be more creative in how to increase profits from their workforce to accommodate this, which usually actually results in employee engagement initiatives like daily sales competitions.

In a similar vein, though women are climbing more and more up the corporate ladder, it seems that their paychecks still may not reflect that of their male counterparts, which is troublesome. Therefore, this issue will continue to be an HR trend from 2017 to 2018 to try to ensure that everyone is equally paid regardless of their gender.

Need help assessing your compensation for current employees? Contact us for a free consultation, we can help!

HR Trend 6: Increase in Employer-Sponsored Professional Development

Companies are realizing more and more the value of investing in their employees. It seems that a common theme prevalent among employees now is that they want to work at a place where they can continue to grow and hone their craft and skills. Therefore, companies are providing professional development opportunities, training and even mentorship programs to continue to cultivate an environment of continuous learning. Research shows that continuous learning work environments have been shown to lead to more productivity, more job satisfaction, better performances, desired results and more retention.

The Bottom Line

In our constantly changing society and workforce, the top HR trends of 2017 will continue to change and adapt to meet our employees’ needs as we start to move into 2018. The HR trends mentioned above are only a small portion of the changes being made this year. It will be interesting to see how these trends continue to grow, mold and shape the HR world.

What do you think will be some top HR trends of 2018? Feel free to comment below.