Business ManAs the end of 2014 approaches and employers begin to revise their strategies and reset their budgets, it’s a good time for HR practitioners to look forward to 2015 — to get a grasp on the key trends that will impact the HR profession in the coming year. In this modern, complex, volatile, and rapidly changing business environment, HR practitioners can no longer afford to sit in their bunkers, buried in day-to-day HR problems. The true strategic HR professional needs to peer out of the window on a regular basis to see key trends, opportunities, and threats, so that they might develop more informed and forward-looking HR plans.

So, why not get yourself a coffee, pull down the blinds, and take a few moments to mull over some of the key HR trends for 2015?

1. Wearable Tech

In truth, this has pretty much come out of nowhere. It seems like just yesterday we were reading about smart glasses, smartwatches, and smart health monitors being developed in labs; now, reports suggest there could be 100 million smart-glass users within 4 years. This means that smartwatches and smart glasses will give employees the ability to covertly and overtly record daily workplace interactions. This will stretch your BYOD, privacy, confidentiality, whistleblowing, and harassment policies to the absolute limit — turning your office into surveillance nation and opening it up to issues of entrapment, spying, stalking, etc.

Now is the time to get a firm grasp on the implications of wearable technology in the workplace and to develop your HR policies accordingly.

2.G rowing Discontent with Wages

Pay freezes and pay cuts became the norm during the recession, but pay raises have failed to pick up as one might expect, even though the recession is over and top executives are receiving large raises and around 120 times more pay than the average worker, according to some reports. Expect serious upward pay-pressure from candidates and current employees, especially if your organization is still freezing wages or offering below-inflation increases. Now is really the time for organizations to review their compensation strategies for a post-recessionary era.

3. Changing Attitudes Toward Talent Shortages

Talent shortages will continue to be a problem, especially in STEM areas, increasing the time-to-fill for many positions, but I believe there is also increasing awareness of the fact that over-restrictive and unrealistic skill expectations may be exacerbating the problem. Expect forward-thinking employers to look for ways to soften job requirements, eliminate age discrimination, and increase diversity in hiring to gain access to a greater segment of the talent pool. If you are suffering talent shortages, it may be time to take a look inwards to see if overly restrictive selection criteria are exacerbating — or even causing — the problem in your organization.

4. Employees Valuing Honesty above All Else

 In the post-recession climate, employees can still feel the economic scars of the recession — in particular, the loss of trust. Employees and job seekers now value honesty above all else in current and new employers, according to the Randstad Employer Branding study. Because employers have been slow to reinstate pre-recession pay rates or compensate for pay cuts during the recession, the process of rebuilding trust will be slow.

I think that employees will continue to place a premium on honesty and transparency. Employers need to continue to work to build transparent and fair management processes to help repair the damage to the psychological contract that occurred during the recession.

If you found these HR trends and action points for 2015 useful, please look out for part two of this article, which will contain four more trends and action points.

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