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Industry-Defining HR Trends for 2017: A Series (Part Two)

Last Updated on March 21, 2017 | Written by Donna Recchione

If you're just catching up with us, we're in the middle of a blog series focusing on emerging trends in 2017. Today, we'll be covering flexible schedules, compliance, and ongoing education, just to name a few. To be able to break down the more complex topics, we broke up the trends for you to easily digest and comprehend.   

Let's find out how your next HR initiatives will change and grow over the next year or so. It's time to break it all down. 

You may notice: 

Growing Demand for Freelance and Temp Work... 

Freelancers are growing, making a whole lot more money, and expected to be an enormous part of the United States workforce in the coming years. This is putting HR departments in an uncomfortable position with pressure to adopt more temp work strategies even if they don't want to. The key will be to avoid following trends that don't actually benefit the company, rather than just doing what everyone else does. 

So, 2017 will be the year to ask, "What could temp and freelance hires do better than traditional employees in this company?" If that question turns up some interesting opportunities, then talent acquisition teams should prepare to offer more flexible, freelance options (remember when we talked about surveys? This is an example where they could prove ideal). But if the company doesn't get much benefit from using more freelance work, and the employees aren't especially interested in it, then HR should avoid investing in it despite the trends in other industries. 

...Which Will Fuel A New Wave of Flexible Scheduling 

When freelance and temp work grows, flexible and remote work arrangements grow as well. We understand this subject can be incredibly industry specific, but the point is that it is becoming less so – all industries are now exploring remote work or flexible scheduling, and where they fit in with company goals. 

Now that so many types of flexible scheduling and temp work are available – and there is a plethora of tools and practices to make this type of work situation easier – it's time to consider an examination of hiring practices, and if there is more room for flexible hours, remote work, and new types of scheduling. Will this be a solution for every department? No. But you are likely to find a couple places where more adaptability is just what people want. 

Speaking of what people want, remember that as flexible hours continue to grow in popularity and acceptance, top talent will be looking for these benefits. Offering adaptable work options is a great way to increase your own value to recruits who now expect such things from their work environments. 

Uncertainty for New Compliance Enforcement and Equal Employment Opportunity 

Compliance is at a tricky point right now for HR. We have two sides to the story – intentions, and rollout. If you go purely by intentions, then compliances is going to be a new focus in 2017, especially for mid-sized companies, as the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has officially begun their new Strategic Enforcement Plan, which calls for a greater focus on protecting more vulnerable workers, improving hiring opportunities, and focusing more on equal pay. This calls for greater attention to detail and new compliance strategies, perhaps with more rigorous checklists. 

However, then comes the rollout, which occurs in real time and is controlled by a far more political leash. The Commission is a federal agency, and in times of political uncertainty the fate and direction of such agencies can be up in the air. Their strategic enforcement plan may not fare well in a Trump administration, especially when there are other areas of focus – such as work visas – that the administration may be more interested in addressing. 

We understand that, "Wait and be prepared for anything" isn't a fun strategy, but sometimes that's just what the landscape looks like. 

The Demand for Mobile Access is Now Foundational 

This is an easy trend to sum up: If you don't have an active mobile presence, create one. It's hard to overstate the impact of mobile technology, especially when around 70% of new applicants are using their phones to look for jobs. For young professionals, it's simply the best option available, especially if they are already working or on the go. Many industries are switching to a mobile first strategy (including Google and their page ranking algorithms, by the way) as a way to cope with the latest mobile habits. 

What does this mean for you? Well, responsive web design is still an option, but it has to be very robust in implementation, and backed up by top-notch performance if you really want to recruit talent through mobile devices. You should also start drawing up plans for a full switch to mobile first policies – which means the tools, sites and apps that you use are designed first for mobile devices, with desktop compatibility a less important feature. Small factors like how big an online form is, or how many seconds it takes a position description to load can be incredibly important when it comes to attracting new talent in today's mobile world. 

BYOD and Vendors Both Encourage Searching for New App Solutions 

If your company is like the majority of workplaces, you are probably looking for ways to merge personal devices with work tasks in a safe, productive way – and that includes finding apps and data solutions that are both secure and usable on a variety of platforms. 

But in 2017, HR is also looking through a variety of new automation and timesaving apps offered by vendors applying the latest technology to HR processes. The goal, then, will be to combine the two goals and find apps that both help HR and work safely in a BYOD environment. Research is important! 

Ongoing Education Rises as a Pillar of HR/Hiring 

Ongoing education has already been heralded as a great trend for employees and companies – the ability to train employees and help them with certifications both increases value for the business and makes it a more attractive proposition for new recruits. But that doesn't mean it's a cakewalk for HR: In fact, ongoing education initiatives can be complex and very difficult to implement correctly. Human resources in 2017 will be grappling with: 

Look at budget requirements and how much investment in education is necessary elevate this from a casual perk to a true benefit of working for the company. 

Switching hiring strategies to focus less on experience and more on potential. With a robust education program, it becomes easier to find someone who has the capability to learn and is a great fit on the soft side, then help them get all the necessary hard skills for job. 

Making workplace culture changes necessary to encourage ongoing education – and taking advantage of those opportunities to help improve overall culture. 

Finding ways to advertise the training and education trends to recruits, as a way to add value to the job. 

Working on the logistics – when education will take place, who will do it, how it will affect scheduling, how it will be paid for, and how employees will sign up. 

That’s All She Wrote For Part Two 

Don't just react to changes, be proactive for those changes yet to affect your industry/company. Not one company is safe from these new challenges. Tune in soon for part three of this series on how your industry will be affected. 

Want your company to improve as fast as the workforce?, ICS provides the talent and tools you need to make it happen. Contact ICS today to learn more!

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