As we enter 2018, the next journey promises many changes to the HR landscape: shifting focus on improving the entire employee experience, utilising Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to streamline HR processes or the growing influence of the gig economy on job markets. These are 3 HR trends to watch out for in 2018.
The Employee Experience
Susan Peters, Senior Vice President of HR at General Electric defines the employee experience as “seeing the world through the eyes of our employees, staying connected, and being aware of their major milestones.”
Experts have identified that the employee experience is the foundation for employee engagement. Instead of focusing solely on employee engagement and culture, many leading organisations are putting more effort to build better employee experience. Big companies such as AirBnb, IBM, and Cisco have also identified the significance of the employee experience, and are inclined to make employee experience a priority in 2018.
A study by Deloitte titled “The Active Job Seeker Dilemma” has shown that 83% of HR leaders believed “employee experience” is either important or very important to their organisation’s success, and they are investing more in training (56%), improving their work spaces (51%), and giving more rewards (47%).
There is a growing demand from the employees to have an enjoyable, productive and positive work experience. This trend is largely driven by the emergence of millennials into the workforce. Millennials are the purpose-driven generation. They are constantly pursuing direction, meaning and happiness. If an organisation is incapable of giving them a sense of purpose and map out a clear-cut path towards their future growth, they will find the company less alluring and likely to leave. Such a rising demand for positive employee experience signals companies to build an integrated strategy to meet the trend.
HR departments can leverage on pulse feedback tools, wellness and fitness apps, and integrated employee self-service tools to understand and enhance employee experience. A positive employee experience will translate into a positive customer experience and generate higher sales and revenue.
The Leverage on AI Technology
In 2018, we will expect to see more application of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to streamline and automate some parts of HR functions especially routine and high-volume tasks.
For example, AI can be utilised to transform existing HR tasks such as recruitment by automating the process of screening CVs and communicating with candidates. 52% of Talent Acquisition leaders think that the most difficult part of recruitment is screening applicants from a large pool of candidates.
Talent acquisition software are capable of scanning, reading and assessing candidates and quickly screening out 75 percent of them from selection. This benefits companies by boosting the productivity in shortlisting process and removing unwanted bias in assessing a candidate.
The automation of high-volume tasks allows HR administrators or recruiters to reduce their workload and make use of the time saved on more strategic tasks.
For onboarding process, companies can use AI technology to customise onboarding programmes for every single position. EY is creating a new onboarding mobile app called “Onboarding Buddy”- an AI chat bot that enables a new hire to ask any possible questions which they might hesitate to ask his manager yet still need to find out the answer. For instance, a new hire cannot find his computer on the first day. He would feel embarrassed to ask the boss about how to contact the IT department. With the AI chat bot, he can ask “Who in the IT department do I contact to get my laptop?” When EY introduced the demo of Onboarding Buddy, the chat bot was able to show the IT person to speak to, his details including a photo, email and phone number and also a map to lead the directions to get there.
Machine Learning can be applied to analyse the emotional state of people. “Email sentiment analysis” using Machine Learning can evaluate the emotion of employee to his or her company based on their emails. By predicting who is more likely to leave, organisations can deduce suitable strategy and preventative actions to retain talents.
The ‘Gig Economy’ On The Rise
The ‘Gig Economy’ is defined as “a labor market characterised by the prevalence of short-term contracts or freelance work, as opposed to permanent jobs” by the BCG. In recent years, the number of part-timers and freelancers make up a bigger proportion in the workforce.
The growing gig economy is drawing more and more millennials and young graduates who highly value flexibility and freedom. According to data from Maybank Kim Eng, around 47% of ITE and 35% of polytechnic graduates choose part-time/temporary/freelance jobs in 2016, more than double the percentage from a decade ago. Many Singaporeans also see gigs as a secondary source to add on to their income with Uber, Grab, FoodPanda or Deliveroo being examples of such companies to drive the trend of gig economy.
Technology can act as an enabler for many gig workers because it allows tasks to be delivered at low cost and performed online. Technology also offer companies immediate assessment of freelance employees’ job-matching details.
As more talents enter the gig economy, companies can outsource special projects to freelancers while retaining the full-time talents for long-term projects. This trend enable companies to recruit talents based on their needs and obtain a pool of talents with diverse skill sets to meet new business challenges especially in aspects they have not had expertise in.