Human Resources (HR) is an ever-evolving field. Every year there are technological advances, economic factors, and other forces that affect an organization’s ability to hire and retain the people needed to keep businesses running smoothly. As HR Consultants, we get to see a lot. Here are some of the top trends in HR that we are finding today: HR process automation, increased need for recruiting support, a new hybrid workforce, and outsourcing of HR functions.
With the increases in technology, a lot of the paper-pushing days of HR are past. Now we have tools for everything from online benefit enrollment, automated on-boarding of employees, Applicant Tracking Systems, timekeeping via apps, and more. Automated processes improve efficiency and reduce errors for the company and provide a more seamless experience for the employee. Studies have shown that one key to retaining great employees is to provide a smooth onboarding experience, so many organizations prioritize making it as quick and easy as possible for new hires to join their teams.
One challenge with today’s economy is the worker shortage. The talent market has significantly shrunk after the COVID-19 pandemic. When we go out to eat or visit a service establishment, the workers who used to do those jobs seem to have vanished. Many of these people simply didn’t return after business returned to normal. Some may be taking place in the new “gig” economy, but not in enough numbers to explain the mass exodus from the workforce. While a small percentage of the employees who left their jobs during the Great Resignation did return (aka Boomerang employees), many did not.
This has led to our second HR trend; a huge demand for Recruiters. It used to be that only larger organizations had a dedicated recruiter, but we are now seeing a need for recruiting support, even on a part-time or outsourced basis, for much smaller establishments. Increasingly expensive tools are also needed to get in front of the best candidates and employers need to be even quicker to hire than ever before due to stiff competition. It is definitely a job seekers’ market right now.
Another by-product of the COVID pandemic is the new hybrid workplace. Many employees enjoyed the relative freedom of working from home and setting their own work hours. However, employers realized that over time, their organizations weren’t as productive, employee communication suffered, and many workers suffered from isolation. Trying to find the right work and life balance, organizations have increasingly shifted toward hybrid workforces, where employees are required to come into the office 2-4 days per week and work remotely the rest of the time. Even Zoom, the company that brought us our remote meetings during the pandemic, has recalled most of their employees to return the workplace at least part of the workweek. This means employers will need to keep a remote working capability and communications systems and still need office space, although possible a smaller blueprint than before.
The final HR trend is not a new one, but is growing rapidly – the outsourcing of HR functions. Increasingly, organizations are finding HR tasks that can either be partially or completely outsourced. Since employer budgets are already feeling the pinch from hiring recruiters and paying for HR-related technology to remain competitive, many are outsourcing HR functions which can easily be handled off-site or that don’t take place consistently. The most commonly outsourced HR areas include: benefit administration, compliance, recruiting, onboarding, payroll, and training. Outsourcing these responsibilities allows HR staff to focus on both the day-to-day operational HR needs and the long-term HR strategy for the organization.
HR is such an exciting field and touches our lives as employees, managers, and business owners. By the time we have adapted to these current HR trends, there will surely be new ones.
Samantha Brinkley founded Rocket City HR Consulting in 2011 as a veteran- and woman-owned full-service HR consulting firm comprised of nationally-certified professionals who ensure HR compliance. Their team partners with people-first organizations to foster thriving workplace cultures that attract, develop, and retain top talent.