Early Adoption Of Strategic HR Solutions In 2016

Robert Cordray

HR departments often bear the brunt of unfair criticism during difficult economic times. However, as businesses  stabilize, business leaders once again realize the benefits of strategic HR solutions. Industry leaders are seeing the need to implement new HR strategies at each level of growth. In 2016, technology advances and improved solutions for HR departments will drive their disruptive involvement into the overall business growth strategy.

Economic importance of HR

Industry experts note that when the economy performs well, executives begin to appreciate and invest in HR strategies in order to find and retain the best employees. When companies struggle with impassable labor issues, the HR department is suddenly valued as a strategic business partner. However, when the economy starts to slow down or when labor relations are fine, company executives immediately turn their attention to operations and finances. In 2016, a movement has started to reevaluate the benefits and usefulness of HR departments.

Whenever the economy or certain industries begin to stabilize after a temporary crash, businesses tend to procrastinate prioritizing HR oversight. However, more and more companies are trying to get ahead of market shifts by involving HR decision-makers at the very beginning. In this way, HR professionals will guide their companies through upcoming market changes while also strategically planning for future scenarios. In order to accomplish this, more and more HR professionals are assertively providing fact-based opinions and comprehensive risk assessments.

Changing dynamics

HR professionals have made great strides in becoming more involved in certain business activities. For example, at least 25 percent of all layoffs still occur without any HR involvement. This surprising lack of participation may result in serious legal and staffing ramifications. For example, a production line that suddenly loses a few employees will be unable to function properly and stay on schedule. Instead of suddenly expecting HR professionals to hire new staff, many managers are holding supervisors accountable to follow HR procedures. Because HR professionals have the highest levels of expertise in this area, supervisors receive valuable one-on-one training and HR experience.

As HR professionals cultivate positive relationships with supervisors, they better understand departmental and operational needs. As a result, they are able to identify and recruit better candidates based on the supervisor’s needs and preferences. As HR professionals become more involved in the recruitment process, turnover rates and litigation risks will naturally decrease. Because HR professionals have more influence with employee management, they are able to promote positive practices such as flexible work arrangements, which increases employee satisfaction and engagement levels. HR professionals also contribute to effective performance management through coaching and mentoring supervisors.

Culture management

In 2016, millennials will be the driving force of improving transparency and employee feedback. Already, companies like Tiny Pulse are pushing the envelope of timely and open feedback between all levels of employees and executive. Gone are the days of quarterly or annual satisfaction surveys. Companies now are taking action on a daily basis to improve employee retention and engagement.

HR technology

63% of HR functions agree that using technology on a daily basis to recognize and evaluate employees would be a valuable business tool. In 2016, we will see an increase in technology integrating HR systems and their involvement in the overall decision-making processes. For example, Big Data has made excellent contributions to HR functions. Companies are using the power of Big Data to analyze workforce data to answer specific questions related to productivity, learning programs, and employee and supervisor performance outcomes. A lot of this data can be mined from common HR software programs.

For example, companies that have a workforce of thousands of employees continually face serious talent shortage risks if they fail to comprehensively plan for retirement. Big Data allows HR professionals to identify key talent areas and create manageable timelines for getting new employees cross trained. Specifically, workforce analytics allow HR professionals to calculate how many employees will retire per year, the types of employees needed to replace them, and where the new hires will most likely come from.

As a result of increased direction and support from HR professionals, many companies have enjoyed lower turnover and higher employee satisfaction rates. Through the power of technology, HR professionals use HR software to extract actionable business intelligence for strategic planning. As business intelligence drives HR analytics in 2016, gamification will continue to find its way into HR platforms. Most notably, gamification will take over recruiting platforms in order to track applicants and improve talent management with the new career force.

In 2016, employee performance management will improve as mobile applications speed up data insights, communication, and feedback. More millennials in the workforce will also push the majority of recruiting tools to be mobile-optimized. Already 43% of job-seekers have used their smartphone or tablet to look for or apply to jobs. In 2016, more companies are taking action to improve their HR strategy in each stage of growth.

A recent study still shows 42 percent of business leaders believe their HR teams are under-performing or just getting by. With the lack of trust in HR teams, many businesses put off developing early strategies for growth in these departments. As HR strategy becomes a priority in each area of growth in a company, the effects downstream will be exponentially positive.

The key to making a difference and building a case around change is to incorporate new and innovative ways of improving all HR functions. In 2016 these trends are a great start to improving your business.

For more on HR tech, see 5 Ways Technology Is Changing The Face Of HR.