26/12/2014

By Neal Bruce, SVP Product Strategy, Lumesse


In 2014 we’ve seen technology advancements pave the way for industry disruption. Big data, social, mobile and cloud continued to disrupt the traditional enterprise structure and impact the way the HR function plans, acquires and retains talent.

As the year draws to a close, HR practitioners will barely have time to catch breath before they start to gear up for 2015. Here are the workforce trends we predict will cause waves in the HR world next year.

1. 2015 will bring a recruitment power shift in favour of candidates:
We know that some of the big software giants of this world use technically advanced, slick, and even fun recruitment methods to attract talent. These companies use tools such as gamification and video interviewing to take candidates on an interactive and efficient experience that is more likely to identify and appeal to the best of the talent pool. But many companies do not use these techniques, and instead make candidates jump through recruitment ‘hoops’ — be filling out long forms, travelling miles for first round or multiple interviews. As the race for talent intensifies, the best candidates will refuse to accommodate these companies, no matter the brand reputation. Businesses that do not modernise their recruitment strategy will optimise their experience for the desperate - candidates who may move mountains to get the job, but are not necessarily the best of the bunch.

2. Periodic review cycles will change but not necessarily for the best:
There are well documented challenges faced by HR leaders and line managers when it comes to the periodic review. An annual review is often subjective, can be misleading and not frequent enough to take into account an employee’s progress over the entire review period. Some companies will cease periodic reviews all together in 2015 favouring skills tests or social talent management practices in their stead. Some will not replace them at all. This approach would be a mistake. While challenges exist with the periodic review, it does provide a necessary and often reliable structure for compensation or for voicing performance concerns. Where periodic reviews are failing, companies should look instead to taking a blended approach to talent management; making formal reviews more frequent, changing line managers where necessary and including social technologies as part of the mix.


3. Science and data will help put the human back in HR:
Brain science is a relevantly new concept. Fuelled by the developments in MRI scanning, the HR function has, in the last ten years, paid attention to the data that lay behind the human brain. But given the long history and evolution of human kind, this is an incredibly short time span. There is much more to know about how humans react and interact with each other. In 2015, HR leaders will start to pay attention to how humans really work; how they react, feel and think. And this will feed into every component of the HR mix from recruitment, to learning, succession planning. Brain science and theory will be accompanied by data learnt from sophisticated sensors and tests. For example, by testing average candidate responses to certain recruitment questions, or understanding through data which business brand appeals most to the brain, businesses can tailor their recruitment and talent management strategies accordingly.

4. HR will start to plan for talent disruption:
The rise of the citizen or DIY software developer, digital skills, and a new wave of entrepreneurial spirit will permeate the workforce in 2015. As companies seek to develop their workforce’s skillsets, they will not only need to plan for long term structured development but also for encouraging short term disruptive pockets of innovation driven by employees. In doing so, HR will be able to encourage what may initially appear to be disruptive forces but ones that will ultimately lend a hand in great innovation. This is especially important for businesses taking lurching steps towards digitally equipping their service and product portfolio. Equally, HR will refactor itself around three month or six month planning cycles as these disruptive employee and market forces will demand more flexibility and iterative planning.

5. Job roles will be created, broken, created again and called job 3.0:
Ten years ago the social media manager role didn’t exist. It has existed now for about five years and there are strong rumours it will disappear; the people and businesses that the role was created to train and manage are now digitally savvy, rendering it obsolete. In fact, the role has morphed, changing its requirements according to the shifting digital environment. Instead, companies now need data scientists and data privacy officers — the social media manager 3.0. Many other job roles will follow this trend in 2015. This will impact the HR function greatly as they will be tasked with continuously shaping and defining these roles and delivering the right talent to the front line.

2015 will be a busy year for HR leaders. The cornerstone to creating an HR strategy that will work will be to understand the main shifting market forces and plan to flexibly manage their impact on the workforce. The market disruption should not be seen as a threat by HR leaders but an opportunity to harness innovation — especially important in very competitive industries.