Today’s post is a guest post written by Megan R. Nichols who is a technical writer and science blogger.
The human resources industry is one that’s been around for nearly as long as there have been employees, but the world is changing, and HR needs to change with it. What are some of the most prominent trends impacting the HR industry, and what will human resources professionals need to do to cope with these changes?
1. HR Becoming Part of Company Brand
Until recently, businesses considered the human resources industry separate from most of their daily operations. HR is and has always been integral to running a company, but it wasn’t necessarily vital to building the brand — until now.
Today, brand recognition is about more than whether consumers recognize your product or could pick your logo out of a lineup. Modern consumers want to know how you treat your employees, which plays an essential role in where they’re willing to spend their money.
Including HR as part of your company brand can also help make it easier to attract talented new employees who are less likely to leave. Studies show higher employee engagement improves productivity and reduces both absenteeism and employee turnover.
2. Emphasis on Work/Life Balance
The age of the 9-to-5 workday and the five-day workweek is coming to an end. Millennials and members of Generation Z care more about their physical and mental health and finding a healthy work/life balance than they do about building a career. Industry experts have found more than one-quarter of employees are planning to leave their job within the next two years if their employer doesn’t support a healthy work/life balance.
HR professionals need to reconsider their stance on flexible hours and work/life balances, especially as younger employees begin to dominate the workforce.
3. The Largest Working Generation
The millennial generation, born between 1983 and 1996, became the majority generation in the U.S. labor force in 2016. Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2030, leaving the HR industry a little more than a decade to change their ways. The oldest members of Gen Z are in their early 20s and are slowly making their way into the workforce as well. The needs and wants of baby boomers, many of whom will be reaching retirement age in the next decade, are vastly different than millennials and zennials.
The millennial generation, more than any other, has spent their time mastering creativity and self-expression. Though many of them are better-read than the generations that came before them, they may not have the degrees some companies are looking for during their hiring process. The oldest of this generation were in their late 20s when the recession hit in 2008, making it difficult for them to seek out education or lasting careers.
4. The Rise of AI in HR
As much as media headlines have demonized artificial intelligence, or AI, as a threat to the average working person, it is here to stay, and beginning to change the human resources industry for the better. Instead of stealing jobs, these programs are helping HR professionals shift their attitude toward recruitment. More than half of HR professionals say the hardest part of their job is finding viable candidates within a large pool of applicants. AI is beginning to give them the tools to automate part of their workflow, automatically screening candidates based on pre-programmed criteria.
The technology is still in its infancy, but it is quickly becoming one of the most useful assets in an HR professional’s arsenal.
5. Diversity in the Workplace
Diversity isn’t just an industry buzzword — it’s beginning to play an enormous role in the human resources industry as a whole. More than a third of industry experts believe changes in demographics and improved diversity across the workplace will have one of the most significant impacts on the industry between now and 2025, but only 34% of employees think their managers are ready to lead them into a more diverse future.
Diversity will be a hurdle HR managers must learn to navigate in the coming years. In addition to having to manage race, religion, sexual orientation, and gender identity, HR professionals will have the challenge of having five distinctly different generations in the workplace.
Preparing for the Future
The HR industry has always changed with the times, but the next five years will be the most interesting in recent history. Artificial intelligence will start making more appearances in recruiting, and managers will need to learn to be more flexible if they want to retain a skilled workforce of millennial and zennial employees. Millennials already make up the largest percentage of the workforce, and their numbers will continue to grow through 2025, but with more people delaying retirement to work through their golden years, recruiters will need to manage five separate generations in the same office.
The future of the HR industry is exciting, and current HR professionals have a limited amount of time to adapt before the industry starts to change without them.
Megan R. Nichols is a technical writer and science blogger. She’s been published in HR and business publications such as Training Magazine, Boss Magazine and Interesting Engineering. She also publishes articles on her personal blog, Schooled By Science. Keep up with Megan by following her on Twitter.