March 21, 2013

4 Key HR Trends and 4 Crucial HR Responses for 2013

Male hand drawing a graphWith only three months into the new year, now is a very good time to be looking forward to see what HR trends will be shaping the next few months ahead; and, to see if there is a need for us to tweak, modify or even transform our HR strategies to make sure our HR function can remain competitive throughout the remainder of the year.

One of the best ways to look forward is to look back and observe the most prominent HR trends of 2012 and then extrapolate forward to give us a view of the likely HR climate for the rest of 2013.

In terms of 2012 then, I feel there have been few surprises, however, I have noticed four key trends that have been shaping the HR and talent environment, which I think will have further impact this year. I have outlined these below, along with four crucial tactical responses that HR should make to keep up with the pace in 2013.

1. Surge in temporary working: Between 2010 and 2012, the use of contingency workers in the U.S. rose from 1.47 percent of the workforce to 1.88 percent, which means that 625,000 workers moved from permanent to contingent during this time. Another 58 percent of companies plan to increase their use of temporary workers over the next five years.

In response to this, I believe HR teams should be developing more flexible HR policies that enable them to engage with and more effectively manage contingent labor. This could include things like the adoption of new HR technologies that allow for the more efficient tracking of contracts; termination dates and renewal dates; as well as developing new incentive schemes to encourage contractors to see out the term of their contract; and finding new ways and approaches to attract the cream of contingent labor talent.

2. Surge in remote working: We all know that telecommuting is set to surge. While today we find that 34 million American’s telecommute daily, this figure will rise to 62 million by 2016, according to Forrester research. But, there is a story within this story, because while the generally held belief is that telecommuting equals working at home, research actually shows that while out of workplace working is rising, working from home is actually declining. So, where all these employees working? Of course, most are working at home, but a significant proportion of them are now working in the car, in hotels and on the client site. The workforce in 2013 will be more mobile than it has ever been.

In response HR teams should be proactively developing mobile working policies, which enable employees to effectively engage with the business via the cloud, mobile and social networks. Also, performance management systems should become increasingly results focused, not effort focused, as remote employee are less visible and less able to visually demonstrate their positive attitude and efforts they are making.

3. Candidates more mobile

Job candidates will be more mobile than ever, on every level. That is, more people than ever will be using smartphones in more places then they have ever done before. For example, smartphone usage in the U.S. is set to rise from 37 percent of the population to 43 percent in 2013 – and for the first time candidates will be able to use their smartphones (and connect to the web), while on Boeing planes. Against this backdrop, PC sales are declining.

Response? HR teams should be looking to mobile optimize their hiring processes using hiring technologies that leverage the collaborative power and potential of smartphones. This will enable their business to fully engage with the mobile candidate marketplace. Companies should turn their own mobile employees into a mobile recruitment force by introducing an employee referral scheme and equipping them with mobile-based employee referral  technology.

4. More social technologies at work

The Mckinsey white paper; The Social Economy: Unlocking value and productivity through social technologies, has revealed that 80 percent of online users interact with social networks regularly and 70 percent of companies use social technologies in the workplace, and we can expect both these figures to rise in 2013.

In response, HR needs to get in the game by lobbying to introduce social technologies like Yammer, Jibe, etc., that can improve collaboration, communication and more efficiently match talent to tasks. Millennials in particular are especially motivated by engaging, collaborating, performing and learning via social media – and, as millennials become increasingly more vital to your talent, so is the need for social engagement technology in your business.

Read more in Job Trends

Kazim Ladimeji is a Chartered Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, and has been a practicing HR professional for 14 years. Kazim is the Director of The Career Cafe: a resource for start-ups, small business and job seekers.