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Every year, businesses are faced with new challenges that will impact the bottom line.  Some of those challenges come from the area of staffing and strategic HR. 

In 2015, we saw a big focus on Employee Engagement, and the importance of understanding the best ways to engage employees.  With a younger workforce emerging it makes sense that employee engagement has become a challenge for many companies, as they have had to figure out how to engage multiple generations of employees, all with vastly different understandings of the workplace and of expectations.

As we close out the year and look to 2016, we know that the new year will bring about new ideas and new understandings as to where the focus of HR needs to be, and how the strategic approach of HR in certain areas will require some innovative thought and creative practices in order to keep companies moving forward with the best talent possible.

For starters, the definition of talent continues to evolve, and the type of employees companies are looking for is becoming more complex.  Companies that are adopting a wider definition of talent, recognizing that a diverse work force can go a long way, are finding more success in creating balanced teams than those with a narrow idea of what talent is needed.  Another area we might see some changes in is the use of scientific data in hiring decisions to determine what the greatest needs are within an organization, not just going on gut feel. 

One trending area in 2015 that will certainly gain momentum in 2016 is the creation of transparency in an organization.  This will become a challenge for HR, but will also more clearly help define expectations and identify those individuals that are truly committed to an organization.

Here are some thoughts from HR executives about what they anticipate will be the biggest trends in HR for 2016.

“We firmly believe that Innermetrix testing and employee profiling will become more important than ever in 2016. The continued emphasis on healthy work relationships and employee compatibility has led to a more in-depth interview process beyond relevant skills and impressive CVs, and profiling will continue to be at the centre of this interview process.” – Sam Williamson, HR Services Scotland

“The 2016 buzzword will be talent strategy because without one, companies will fail to innovate and grow.” – Nancy S. Ahlrichs, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, Flashpoint

“The consumerization of HR technology, through such software as mobile productivity apps and engagement surveys, is moving HR away from management and toward the employee as the user. The technology is making HR decisions more open and collaborative: employees are becoming more empowered to change their work environment, and management have the resources to be able to gauge and influence employee sentiment in real-time. In 2016, knowing how to engage and motivate employees will also no longer just be an intuitive exercise, but will become much more analytical and data-driven.” – David Godden, VP of Marketing, Thymometrics

“We have seen a significant increase in the number of organizations conducting HR audits, what is included in those audits, and who conducts the audits. These changes will continue to occur in 2016 with more emphasis on the strategic aspects of HR management.” – Ronald Adler, President-CEO, Laurdan Associates, Inc.

“In 2016, job-seekers over the age of 45 must continue to embrace technology especially when they are competing directly against tech-savvy millennials for jobs. One additional trend that is likely to increase in popularity will be for candidates to use video technology to present themselves to employers who are seeking top talent.” – Sean Kogan, Co-Founder/Managing Partner, Recruiting in Motion

“We are expecting Work-Life balance to be a growing trend in 2016. To that end we have updated our policies and benefits to create an increased work-life balance, especially for our workers with families (family leave for births and adoptions, one of the most competitive/low cost health packages available) and/or long commutes (telecommuting capabilities).” – Andrea Fitzpatrick, Public Relations Manager, Frontline Technologies

“Branding the employer culture from the start is the best way to keep the company culture alive and recruit and retain top talent in a competitive global landscape.” – Margaret Menotti, Director of Public Relations, Spreadshirt