Over time, there are small, subtle changes in workplaces that affect both the employer and the employee. Some of these are specific to certain employers, while others (think telecommuting privileges) affect the workforce as a whole.
As 2019 unfolds and the job market remains tight, some additional workforce-wide trends are emerging. Employers are making efforts to make the office environment more productive, improve career development, and better address staff needs.
Here are the current HR trends that employers should be following and engaging in.
Engagement to Experience: The Shift in Workplace Views
The majority-millennial workforce has demanded a higher level of transparency than seen in previous years. This shifts employer strategy away from employee engagement and towards employee experience. While employee engagement primarily measures an employee’s commitment level to their workplace, employee experience looks at an employee’s total interactions with the organization.
Employee experience encompasses the facets of employee engagement, while also looking at other dimensions, like company culture, employee performance, and feedback. To make the most of this shift, employers can develop an “employee journey” map, like a customer journey map they may use for customers. Here, they can leverage continuous two-way feedback, wellness apps, and digital communication tools to understand, rate, and improve employee experience.
Playing Catch-up: Taking HR Digital
Think of how employees communicate, collaborate, and complete work--it’s all digital. So how come it has taken so long for many HR processes to follow suit? Adopting digital solutions not only frees up HR resources, but can give employers insights they never thought were possible.
There are two ways for HR professionals to truly go digital. The first is adopting technology that makes onboarding, benefits administration, compliance, and reporting simpler than ever before. The second is adopting Artificial Intelligence tools that can help employers recruit more accurately and collect the data necessary to make better decisions.
The Workplace Redefined: Incorporating the Gig Economy
The general workforce has started shifting from permanent jobs to short-term and freelance work. This allows employers to lower costs associated with hiring full-time employees, but it can also create a challenge for potential employees seeking full-time work.
Employers can leverage this trend to their advantage if they adapt successfully. HR professionals need to make speed and agility a priority in hiring, so they can quickly identify what roles are needed and source top talent for the necessary skills before they take another opportunity. By allowing for freelance and remote work, employers can boost productivity. The GALLUP State of the American Workplace report shows that the volume of employees who have telecommuted is up to 44%, the highest it’s ever been. Allowing for this type of flexible work arrangement expands the talent pool significantly.
Health is No Longer Just Physical: Mental Health in the Workplace
Traditionally, employers were responsible for providing benefits and resources that were limited to physical health. The National Institute of Mental Health reports that 1 in 5 American adults is living with a mental illness. Depending on the size of a given workforce, it’s likely that at least 1 employee is affected.
HR professionals are starting to understand the impact of mental health on employee experience. Most employees are willing to get help or treatment for their issues but are hesitant because of the cost and stigma associated. Employers can ease these concerns by providing coverage for mental health treatment or offering discreet, onsite services.
In combination, these trends demonstrate the way the workforce is changing as a whole. When deciding what changes to incorporate into your individual workforce, be sure to consider the employee experience and make each decision with the goal of improving it.