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HR’s ten year journey in summary

Managing director of Liverpool-based HR specialists High Performance Consultancy, Victoria Brown has spoken out about the 10 trends of the past decade in the wonderful world of HR. 

1. Millennials are on the March
A generation of employees who were pampered by their baby boomer parents has taken the workplace by storm. Not only is your workplace trying to absorb these offspring, but also deal with helping three generations of workers happily co-exist and work as a team. The economic downturn has made the three generation situation worse with boomers who planned retirement, to make way for up and coming employees, unable to retire – and not happy about it. For the employer, managing millennials is a skill that needs to be developed. The millennial quest for work-life balance and for having a life outside of work is legendary. Employers must accommodate these talented young people and develop their strengths and ability to contribute, or they will lose them to an employer who will.

2. Economic turbulence
The economic downturn has resulted in most being affected. Not many employees have received a salary increase without a promotion. The rise in redundancies has led to increased workloads and feelings of anxiety and fear of those employees left. Business leaders are left wondering if the economy has been re-set forever or if we in a down-turn that will recover.

 3. Recruitment online
This decade has brought the transformation of the employee recruiting, social media interaction and networking. Recruitment will never be the same again. Sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and twitter are new ways of interacting and communicating in recruitment. Social media networking is the new way to find employees, find jobs, get answers to questions, build a wide spread, mutually supportive network of contacts, and keep track of colleagues and friends. Social media and recruiting bring the employer new challenges. Some are developing social media and blogging policies. Others are deciding whether to monitor employee time online and most have started to check candidate backgrounds online.

 4. Made to order employment relationships
Perhaps it’s the push from the millenials, and it’s definitely the availability of technology that facilitates the customisation, but the made to order work relationship has become a dominant force in the past decade. Teleworking is not the only component of the new made to order working arrangements. Flexible anything has become the new norm. Flexible working hours, flexible four day working week, flexible time off for appointments. However, this is also a benefit for Employees, as you can say goodbye to the ‘personnel police’. Employers need to make work communication more transparent and measurable so that flexibility yields results. Employees are more motivated, engaged and less stressed about family and life issues because they have the time necessary to address work life balance issues.

5. The Big Blur
Slightly contradicting point 4 somewhat; being online all the time, and being available via technology has blurred the line between work and home. No generation has ever been this connected, and for good and bad, some employees never stop working. This interferes with down time, relaxing time and work life balance, but most employees just see it as a way of life.

6. Technology
Technology has transformed the way in which Human Resources manage and communicate information. Paper based personnel files and horrendous excel spreadsheets to manage leave are becoming a thing of the past and most sensible Employers are investing in software such as OneHR (sorry, I couldn’t resist the plug).

7. Employee Training and Development
This decade has seen the rise of technology-enabled opportunities for training, employee development, and training meetings and seminars. Podcasts, teleseminars, online learning and webinars all provide employee development opportunities.

8. Too much bureaucracy?
Have the government gone too far over the last decade? Are Employers now expected to have a degree in Employment law as well as run their own business? The past 10 years have provided copious amounts of changes to the law. On the whole, most have been more favourable to the employee.

9. Rise and Fall of the ‘No win No fee’ Employment Lawyer
Unfortunately the increase in ET compensation claim limits led to abuse of the process and a ridiculous increase in vexatious claims. Genuine claims became questionable to the employer and businesses were being held to commercial ransom by such firms. The introduction of tribunal fees in 2013 and the continued tightening of the tribunal system is slowly starting to see a demise in such vexatious claims and employers having more confidence to dismiss employees that underperform or conduct themselves inappropriately.

10. Total Rewards Systems/Well-being initiatives
Following on from point 2, many Employers have struggled to increase salaries or enhance packages. Businesses are now starting to think ‘outside the box’ and look for innovative ways to engage and retain talent. Many Employers are striving to promote health and wellbeing within the workplace. This has been well received by most employees who genuinely feel valued by the business that they work for. I could go on about my thoughts on what the next 10 years will bring, but I’ve ran out of space! As business owners we face challenging times, but for those of us who look towards this with optimism, we have a good generation to take us forward. For those businesses that do not think outside the box and do not embrace the change…I think it is time for you to retire.

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