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HR trends for 2018

Mark Jackson, Sarah Kaiser and Junior Talent Acquisition
uk tech

Mark Jackson, EMEIA lead for Internal Mobility and Junior Talent Acquisition and Sarah Kaiser, EMEIA Diversity & Inclusion lead at Fujitsu share their five noteworthy trends for HR, talent management and employment in 2018. Contributors Mark Jackson, EMEIA lead for Internal Mobility and Junior Talent Acquisition and Sarah Kaiser, EMEIA Diversity & Inclusion lead – Fujitsu.

A data-driven approach to decision-making
Mark Jackson: “From a workforce perspective, 2018 will see a big switch to how decisions come to light through data driven insights. Indeed, having the tools to make better decisions provides organisations with a better understanding of their workplace. Implementing workplace analytics will ensure companies take an evidence-based approach, setting meaningful targets and designing interventions that will enhance the capacity of employees to achieve their full potential and deliver what matters most. What’s more, adopting this approach across the entire business ensures that everyone is speaking to one another and making better decisions as a whole.

Sarah Kaiser:  “One example of where this will be important in the coming year will be for those organisations who have not yet started on their Gender Pay gap reporting. With less than 5% of employers having published these results, this transparency around data will force companies to ask the questions about where they are and what they’re doing. This is where data will play an important role – providing employers with the insights they need to identify the factors driving gender parity.”

AI meets HR
Mark Jackson:  “Since the industrial revolution we’ve seen how emerging technologies have the potential to reshape the way we work. Today, HR is one of many functions at the forefront of this revolution, due to the role that technology plays in sourcing and finding talent as quickly and efficiently as possible. In the coming year, we’ll see automation really come into its own, especially with its ability to utilise staff much more effectively. For instance, artificial intelligence tools can source data from all of the different job sites and social media pages; building on what it finds and learns, meaning there is less time needed for traditional head-hunting, but more time for personalised and effective talent conversations.

“In 2018 we’ll see a bigger focus on technologies such as these which help remove repetitive tasks, giving employees more time to dedicate to high-level work. However, whilst technology can be used to better equip staff, the human touch will always be necessary to make that emotional connection.  And when considering the ever increasing rise in multi-faceted jobs, prioritising technology to take on the time-consuming tasks will help create a new set of jobs with a new skill set that balances the HR roles that are now using technology.  After all, whilst technology is transforming the workplace, humans remain the ones who will accelerate its impact.”

HR’s role in the eagerly anticipated GDPR
Mark Jackson:  “In recent years, there has often been a misconception that the IT department is solely responsible for preparing the wider business for the introduction of GDPR. However, because all areas of the business – from finance to HR to marketing – now use troves of data in their day-to-day working lives, in 2018 the whole organisation will have an equal responsibility to ensure data is protected and properly secured.

“In today’s world, because HR professionals are the gatekeepers of the personal and sensitive data of employees, the significance of GPDR cannot be underestimated. With less than half a year to go, HR teams will need to make sure they are re-visiting current processes, programmes and procedures to ensure they are 100% compliant. As one way to avoid the risk and financial penalties that the wider organisation could potentially face if failing to properly protect personal data, we’ll see HR departments looking to modernise their information management practices.”

The every-changing demand for skills
Sarah Kaiser:  “In an environment of constant technological innovation, it has been almost impossible to keep up with the needs for an agile, digitally literate workforce. And this is not set to change in 2018. What’s positive is that the introduction of initiatives such as cyber security training programmes and T-levels earlier in the year demonstrate just how high up on the national agenda upskilling the current and future workplace is. And with technology taking centre stage in the latest Autumn Budget, next year will be no different.

“However, in 2018 there will be a major shift in our understanding of the digital skills that are actually are important for the current workplace. When it comes to the ‘skills gap’, the general consensus has been that it means people who lack technical or digital skills. Whilst this is still the case, next year we’ll see a major shift in what organisations will look for in digital roles. There will an increasing demand for candidates that have empathy and agility, not to mention the aptitude to co-create and adapt to change. After all, job roles no longer change over decades; they change in a matter of months. This means there is no time to waste  to ensure the future workforce is properly equipped in the right skills which will leave them best-placed to do the jobs their employers need and work in new ways with customers in order to succeed.”

#MeToo movement moves into general workplace
Sarah Kaiser:  “2017 saw great strides forward in making a stand against sexual harassment in the public sphere, with the #MeToo movement impacting Hollywood, Westminster, silicon valley and beyond. The impact of this change is yet to play out in the general workplace. There will be an increasing expectation for companies to make sure these issues are adequately addressed and resolved, and to build environments where harassment is not tolerated in any form. This expectation will be especially strong from Millennials and Gen Xers, who haven’t grown up in a culture where this behaviour is brushed under the carpet or tacitly accepted. As a result of this, next year we’ll see many organisations look at what harassment means and how they can properly deal with this. A great first step is to look at how HR departments can work with senior leaders to raise awareness, providing guidelines on the steps to take if an employee experiences or perpetrates harassment.”

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