6 trends that have changed HR over the past decade

The labor market has changed dramatically over the past decade, driven by factors that include a severe recession, technological advances, and a new generation of workers with vastly different ideas about what work should be.

A decade ago, companies surveyed by the SHRM Foundation said their biggest challenges for the future are succession planning and providing leaders with the skills they need to succeed. Today’s employers see the growing competition of skilled workers as their main problem. As a result, modern companies are much more employee-oriented and personalized. This prompts employers to change approaches to personnel management, in particular, provide flexible working hours, provide internship opportunities for newcomers, etc.

“I would say HR is moving from paperwork to developing a sense of employee value to the organization,” says Keith Bischoff, SHRM-SCP, an employment attorney at THRive Law & Consulting. “Work is much more personalized today than ever before.”

“The HR of the next decade needs to be more performance and efficiency oriented. This requires a global shift in thinking, ”says Rusty Lindqvist, vice president of strategy for human capital and intellectual property at human resources company BambooHR.

So, what has changed over the past decade, and how will these trends evolve in the future?

Social networks

Before:  A decade ago, social media was a new phenomenon and worried company leaders and HR professionals. Twitter was only 1 year old, Facebook was considered to be mostly a distraction that could significantly hinder productivity. In 2006, two-thirds of employers used technology to block connections to prohibited websites, of which 3 out of 4 monitored website traffic and more than half monitored employee emails, according to the BambooHR Talent Research Study.

Current :  According to BambooHR, in the past year, only 30% of organizations blocked access to certain sites and even reduced their control over employee emails.

Of course, company leaders understand that social media distracts employees with “cute cat videos.” But they also understand that total control of online users is useless and even counterproductive. Social media has already become a habit and has become not only a way of entertainment, but also a way to maintain and establish contacts. “Severely restricting employees’ access to social media can have the opposite effect – reduced productivity,” says Donatella Verrico, chief human resources officer at law firm Lowenstein Sandler.

What’s next:  In the next decade, companies could move away from email and use social media or other instant messaging as their primary communications program, predicts Sean Kazmore, president of consulting firm Casemore and Co. Inc.

Personal compensation packages

Before:  Health protection and retirement programs were some of the most common benefits provided by employers, and the benefits were relatively limited.

Now:  Employees still value basic guarantees, but they also need more flexible and personalized benefits. Companies took up this challenge and began to personalize programs. For example, Amazon offers hourly workers compensation for training and in-house training. Weird? The company trains employees who are likely to leave for permanent work in another organization.

The Career Choice program, which Amazon is developing, offers up to 95% tuition and fees refunds (up to $ 12,000 over four years) so that employees can be educated in specialties that are in high demand in the regions where they work. For example, they may receive a degree in aeronautical mechanics, machine tool technology, or as a nurse. Almost 10,000 people have already taken part in the program.

Another popular bonus is student loan assistance. “Some time ago, most workers were interested in the pension benefits that this job can provide. Today, most new hires are saddled with the need to pay off training debt. They are interested in the benefits the company can provide in this regard, ”says Skip Spriggs, senior executive vice president and chief human resources officer at TIAA finance company.

What’s next:  More companies will move to a compensation package system aimed at personal cost allocation: workers are given a set amount that they can spend on parts of the package that are fully tailored to their needs. The problem of non-personalization was highlighted in LinkedIn’s situation, when the company announced the introduction of parental leave with generous compensation. Childless workers resented this innovation, calling it unfair. After that, in 2015, the company launched the Perk Up project, which implies compensation of up to $ 500 per quarter, which an employee can spend on massage, personal trainer, etc.


Before:  Companies relied heavily on annual reviews to measure employee performance, as well as other tools that sometimes pitted employees against each other. For example, managers at Microsoft relied on employee rankings or employee ratings to generate a staffing “rank” rating. Employees with the lowest ranks moved to other positions in the company or changed jobs.

Now:  Companies are taking a less formal and more flexible approach. After Microsoft ditched its staffing rankings in 2013, managers began using a process called Connects, in which workers receive real-time feedback without structured reviews. “Instead of numbered ratings, it’s about employee engagement over the past two to three months, their future engagement, what they’ve learned from different sources, and how they are developing professionally,” says Chuck Edward, head of talent at Microsoft, which operates 110,000 people worldwide. And instead of fostering competition among colleagues, the system promotes collaboration. Employees are assessed in terms of how they have performed in their teams and contributed to the success of others based on data provided by employee attendance software.

This approach is welcomed by employees, especially the millennial generation. Nearly 6 out of 10 people said they get frustrated after receiving performance reviews and prefer to receive ongoing feedback on their performance, according to a study by HR outsourcing company TriNet.

What’s next:  No one really knows for sure. Some experts believe that moving from periodic performance reviews to continuous feedback is a step in the right direction, but how much benefit it will bring to employees and the company remains unknown. “Ten years ago, I said that if I could find a good grading system, I would become rich,” says Pamela Harding, SHRM-SCP, CEO of Enumclaw (runs the Linked: HR group at LinkedIn). “It’s been ten years, and this system still doesn’t exist.”

Remote work

Before:  Many people started using digital technology to work remotely and during non-standard working hours. But employers offering teleworking options are still the exception, not the rule.

Now:  A study by the Society for Human Resource Management found that three times as many companies offered telecommuting last year than in 1996. This opens up new opportunities for both employees and employers who can significantly expand their list of candidates. “You don’t have to be tied to a specific area. Companies can attract candidates from anywhere in the world, ”says Pamela Harding.

Flexible work arrangements and schedules have also led to a different way of evaluating work. For some companies, long hours in the office were one of the main prerequisites for a “good” job. Now the point is not so much how long a person works, but how much he does. “Work in this case is judged by the result, not by the time spent,” says Harding.

What’s Next:  The problem with this century of new technologies is that the human component is often lost. In the next decade, HR managers will be forced to teach workers how to communicate in real. “We will have to teach people how to shake hands, how to work without a computer,” says Donatella Verrico.

Agile career development

Before:  In 2005, about 10% of workers in the United States were hired by a temporary aid agency as an independent contractor or to work on demand, according to a study by Harvard and Princeton University.

Now:  Goodbye, Company Career Ladder. Hello giant economy. In the United States, just over 1 in 4 workers worked according to the principles of a giant economy in 2016, according to the McKinsey Global Institute, and that number continues to grow as people seek more independence and opportunity. An increasing number of millennials in the working-age population are focused on new experiences rather than paycheck time in one organization, and HR managers are adapting.

Additional opportunities are emerging for enterprising independent contractors who work for a specific project and are not employees of any one company.

What’s Next:  “The dynamics of the giant economy, fueled by the recession of 2008-2009, as well as the influx of millennials into the workforce, will add challenges to HR in the next decade, including how to provide benefits to employee contractors and manage intellectual property rights. when a person has several different employers, ”says Vador. But ultimately, workers and companies will benefit from this trend. “If we are more flexible with the workforce and listen to their choices, we can create more flexibility and save money,” she says.

Slow development of HR data analysis

Before:  Some HR managers experimented with using metrics to measure the costs and impact of work programs and HR initiatives, but few HR professionals had data mining experience.

Now:  Despite the growing recognition of the need for HR professionals with data expertise, the number of organizations actually using workforce data is still relatively small. According to a 2015 Deloitte report, less than 9% of respondents said their organizations have a strong team that can analyze data within HR. 32% of companies say they are ready to start using intelligent analytics.

What’s next:  While HR analytics is slowly evolving, leveraging this data will be the biggest trend in HR. Nearly a third of companies say they are ready to leverage predictive analytics to the fullest, according to a Deloitte study. “We’re going to see this trend blow up the market over the next few years,” says Bischoff.

Predictive analytics will take metrics to the next level, making it possible to compare the characteristics of candidates for a job with the qualities of the most effective people in the organization. The data will also be used to improve health outcomes by identifying behaviors that lead to higher rates of illness, or by determining which departments in the company have the best and worst accident rates.

“Artificial intelligence, following analytics, will become more and more advanced,” says Edward. But “the human element needs to discern what is important and why.”