Human resources (HR) is one of the most vital industries on the planet. After all, without HR, companies can’t function because they can’t hire the staff that they need to continue operations. And while HR has been around for a while now, it’s also evolving quickly, especially thanks to the rapid evolution of the internet, AI, blockchain and other new technologies.
With that in mind, we’ve had a look at what the experts are saying and added that to our own understanding of the HR industry to highlight the biggest trends that you’ll need to keep your eyes on. Let’s take a look at the top HR trends to follow in 2018 and beyond.
Evolution of payroll programs
New technologies and platforms are enabling a new generation of payroll programs like Unit4 Business World that make it easier than ever before to manage payrolls and to track employees from hiring through to retirement. Platforms like these make companies much more efficient, ensuring full compliance with local and international law whilst simultaneously providing powerful analytics.
In the future, expect to see more new technologies being brought in to augment payroll software, such as artificial intelligence and machine learning, predictive analytics and more. Some pundits are even expecting a switch to a blockchain-based system which could essentially lead to our employment histories being stored in a public ledger. Time will tell.
Better work/life alignment
As the line between our personal lives and our work lives continues to blur, more and more people will be on the lookout for jobs that suit their personality and their ethos. A job isn’t something you do anymore – it’s something you are. That’s why the smartest HR professionals will surely be those who take the time to understand employees and to make sure they’re in the right place and doing the right job instead of just filling a gap that they’re the wrong size to fit.
The good news is that when people find this alignment, work doesn’t feel like work and they’ll be more willing to put their all into it. It can also help to protect them from burnout, stress and mental health issues that can come along from working in a high-pressure environment in a job that you don’t want to do.
The freelance economy
The freelance economy – known by some as the gig economy – is the new approach to working that’s been created by the rise of the internet and remote working. New tools like Slack, Dropbox and Google Docs, combined with the rise of digital marketing and other related fields that take place entirely online, mean that there’s no real necessity for people to work in any one place. As long as there’s a solid internet connection, they can work.
This also means that more and more companies are choosing to plug smaller gaps using freelancers, buying themselves more time to promote from within or to find the perfect employee. The result is a culture in which it’s normal for companies to run with fewer full-time employees but many more on zero hour contracts. There’s no inherent problem with this, but it’s wise for HR professionals to still take the time to maintain good relationships with any freelancers they work with instead of just finding a new one every time a new job comes up. Sometimes they can benefit from reduced rates or even tempt the freelancer to come and work internally.
The human resources industry is ever-changing, and the only thing we can really be sure of is that software and technology will continue to develop over time. Regardless, though, most of the key concepts will stay the same, and the most important thing is to make sure that you’ve got the basics in place.
That means getting the recruitment processes and payroll software right so that your HR team can help to scale your company sustainably through internal promotions instead of just panicking at the last minute and hiring whoever they can find. HR isn’t just about hiring and firing. Used correctly, your HR department will help you to get more from your single most valuable resource: your people.
And remember that if your company doesn’t get it right, you can be sure that a competitor will. Good luck out there.