ThinkWith the new year upon us and annual strategy and budget meetings getting underway, we thought it would be a good time to set out some key HR trends and action points for 2015. This should serve to provide HR executives with some of the material required to be able to stand their ground, engage in strategic debate, influence the annual planning process, and operate more like strategic business partners. The first four trends identified in part 1 of this article definitely showed an emphasis on the post-recessionary issues:

  1. The rise of wearable tech and how to respond.
  2. Increasing discontent with post-recessionary wage depression and what to do.
  3. Increasing talent shortages and the need for change in the sourcing mindset.
  4. The need for honesty above all else in a post-recessionary environment.

You can find the next four HR trends and action points below:

1. A Widening Gap Between Data-Rich and Data-Poor HR Teams

CEOs and senior management increasingly demand big-data backed HR decision-making. In fact, research shows that data-engaged HR teams are four times more likely to be respected and listened to by their peers and senior leaders. Yet, most (56 percent) HR practitioners are technological laggards, still doing basic, reactive reporting. Next year, the data-rich HR teams could get richer as they grow more accustomed to the technology; the data-poor HR teams could find themselves falling further behind. The gap between data-rich HR and data-poor HR teams will only widen, and now is the time for all HR teams to develop a strategy for implementing data-backed decision-making over the next 1-2 years.

2. Intergenerational Tension 

We have four generations working alongside each other in the workplace. This brings together a range of conflicting attitudes, outlooks, and work styles, which can lead to intergenerational tension. According to Entrepreneur, a third of workers waste 12 percent of their week on conflicts caused by intergenerational tensions.

I think this intergenerational conflict will get worse before it gets better, because we will soon move to five generations in the workplace as generation Z enters the workforce in the next few years and older employees work further past retirement.

There’s no quick fix to this, but at the very least, employers should expand diversity policies to combat stereotypes, encourage more open outlooks on age-related differences, and value the unique qualities that each generation brings. A healthy dose of intergenerational PR may be needed.

3. Employee Disengagement Levels Will Continue to Flatline

Gallup tells us that 87 percent of workers are disengaged or actively disengaged in their work. While I am sure that employers have a lot to answer for, I am reaching the point where I no longer believe that it’s all the employers’ fault. I think that the societal outlook is changing, in that workers have higher personal and financial expectations, are more entrepreneurial, and are prepared to go it alone — particularly the millennials. This is turning the traditional, more rigid work structure somewhat obsolete.

I think there needs to be a rebalancing, with employers moving towards a more flexible, sel -determining employee model and/or the more self -defining employees taking the leap into an entrepreneurial, self-employed lifestyle. Employers should be doing what they can to support this two-way change.

4. Inclusion — Not Just Diversity

While it is vital that companies continue to encourage diversity of race, gender, age, and other protected characteristics, the diversity agenda is also expanding beyond simple demographics to include welcoming workers with different outlooks, viewpoints, and experiences. In an increasingly multinational, multigenerational, and multicultural workplace, the requirement for inclusion and diversity has never been stronger.

If you haven’t done so already, start upgrading your diversity policies to contain inclusiveness.

Good luck in in 2015!

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