Top 5 HR Trends for 2018

By Elena Tinaglia

The workplace is rapidly changing, more so now than ever with the continuous inclusion of cutting edge technologies. The past year HR departments all over the country were prioritizing the well-being of their employees in several different realms. Executives, in conjunction with HR departments, began to invest more time in their employees by creating a better workplace environment.  Company culture and employee engagement were huge in 2017. In 2018 we will see a continuation of these priorities (with some tweaks) as well as many others, most of which are technology centered.

Let’s talk about:

  • Move Over Employee Engagement, Employee Experience Is Here

  • Making Friends with AI

  • Microlearning For Employees

  • Gamification

  • The Shift from Wellness to Well-being

Read on for  more about HR in 2018!

1) Move Over Employee Engagement, Employee Experience Is Here

With millennials being such a large part of the workforce and the increased transparency brought about by the inclusion of cutting edge technology, employees are expecting a more engaging and life-affirming work experience. Gone are the days of head down, nose to the grindstone work ethics. Employees today are expecting a lot more from their employers.

Employee Experience” is defined as the sum of the various perceptions employees have about their interactions with the organization in which they work. It is the totality of an employee’s experiences, so it encompasses all of the narrower aspects of how an employee perceives his everyday life at the office, both good and bad.

The employee experience ecosystem combines three core aspects: engagement, culture, and performance management. The main idea behind employee experience is to optimize every touchpoint that an employee comes in contact with, to create a unified experience that feels holistic throughout every stage, both of which involve treating the employee with the same degree of care that you would treat your customers.

2) Making Friends With AI

Employees today want to develop their skill sets and fulfill personal value-based goals; they expect their employers to provide them with the opportunity to do so. The modern-day workforce will forego the highest possible salary to instead worth an organization whose culture matches with their fundamental values. The opportunity to learn and obtain regular feedback are things they crave.

Learning and Development (L&D) programs from employers are more important than ever to establish the new employee’s reality.  Employers are utilizing AI (Artificial Intelligence) to provide personalized programs for each employee that are tailored to their unique needs, career goals and learning styles.

AI is also increasingly being used to streamline HR practices such as recruiting, hiring, and training. AI in HR offers a great opportunity to automate many of the busy, repetitive tasks HR practitioners have to deal with HR professionals can spend that time on the core business of HR: people. Specifically, the recruitment and acquisition of great new people and the retention of current staff members. When it comes to finding those great new people, AI can help recruiters and hiring managers on another level by cutting human bias out of the process as well as predict a candidate’s suitability for the job.

3) Microlearning For Employees

Millennials will make up 75 percent of the global workforce by 2025 and the human attention span is getting smaller on average. Microlearning offers a chance to educate employees by providing learning content in very specific yet small bursts. The reason microlearning is becoming more popular is due to the increased flexibility it gives to the learners. The learners have control over time management while learning because the learning program is organized into a number of short courses. Employees can use this approach to learn a concept specific to a job and utilize their new found knowledge right away.

Microlearning helps employers save on both time and cost, especially on expensive training consultants if you contrast it with other traditional methods of training like day-long seminars. HR professionals leading or administering the more traditional employee trainings can be freed up to turn their attention to more pressing HR work.

4) Gamification

Gamification is the usage of game-thinking and game mechanics in non-game scenarios such as business environment and processes, specifically in recruitment, training and development, and motivation; in order to engage users and solve problems. Today you can see examples of it everywhere: receiving stamps for cups of coffee, gaining new features in running apps, even military training utilizes gaming features.

Gamification has been known to increase productivity by providing employees with independence and choice. Employees responded with higher job satisfaction, job performance, innovation, and workplace satisfaction than those who did not have any choice. Independence and personal preference within gamification can all help promote autonomy within roles. When we accomplish something or reach a goal, our brain releases dopamine, making us feel euphoric while reinforcing the behavior that released that dopamine. Gamification utilizes the chemical reward process in the brain.

Finally, gaining new features or reaching new levels in gamification provides measurable results, reinforcing the idea that the employee is learning and growing. Employee engagement is beneficial to productivity and profitability; the promise of individual growth will ensure that engagement.

5) The Shift from Wellness to Well-being

Well-being expands the view of wellness to cover more than the physical body. It encompassing an employee’s mental and emotional state as well as their productivity and ability to perform at the peak of their capabilities. Well-being initiatives are moving away from being centered primarily around getting in shape and eating healthily, increasingly mental and financial wellness are also earning attention from forward-thinking employers.

Some common ways HR departments and employers are increasing the focus on well-being are providing on-site yoga, fitness, and meditation classes by a certified instructor, providing gym discounts, allow for flexible working hours, promote the use of productivity boosting devices like the Headspace app, incorporating team activities, and financial advising.  

In the End

While no one can know for sure what HR trends 2018 will deliver, it is evident that the increased use of technology in HR and the continued implementation of employee experience techniques will be hot topics in 2018.