Sometimes trends catch us by surprise, especially if they’re brought on by market forces outside of our control. However, some trends we can see coming, and we can choose whether to embrace them, react to them, or ignore them. Let’s take a look at some of the HR and employment trends for 2015.
The Trends (and Changes) for 2015
We’ve taken a look at some of the latest published trends for employers to be aware of in 2015i, and we’re sharing some of the highlights here:
- Employers may an expectation for more employee development. Much has been said in recent years about the skills gap that exists. In essence, many employers have found that applicants are lacking the skills they require to fill current vacancies. Part of the reason for this shift is because employers have moved away from full-scale training programs for employees, instead expecting to hire individuals already trained with ample years of experience in the role. The recession played a big part in this shift, with employers having the luxury of overqualified applicants for many roles. As the economy has grown, however, applicant expectations have moved back to historic norms in which the applicant is now more likely to be looking for a promotion, not just for any opportunity to earn a paycheck. As such, the burden is shifting back to employers to provide training. A related trend is the need for employers to begin working more closely with colleges to bridge the gap.
- Employers need to plan for a multigenerational workforce.
- Firstly, employers need to be ready for Generation Z. Unlike Gen X and Millennials, Generation Z hasn’t generated too much press yet. But they’re entering the job market in force now. Generation Z is typically recognized as beginning with those born in the mid-90s, who are now reaching the age where they’re likely to be heading to college and/or starting their first full-time jobs.
- Next, Millenials are moving up. Perhaps unsurprisingly (after reading the previous item), companies are also experiencing a shift where Millennials are no longer the newcomers—they’re the managers. This means leadership styles are beginning to reflect the Millennial mindset. HR teams may see requests for changes in benefit packages that more closely reflect the goals of this generation.
- Boomers and Gen Xers are still on board. While the new generations are moving into entry-level positions and Millennials are taking on their first leadership roles, the rest of the workforce consists of both Gen Xers and Boomers. Employers are finding they need to offer varying incentives, benefits, and programs to cater to the varying needs across generations.
- Technology continues to change the way we work.
- Technology is taking center state in recruiting, hiring, and more. Whether it’s online applications, mobile phone apps to assist jobseekers, social media recruiting techniques, using E-Verify for employment authorization, or computer-based skills testing, technology is becoming ever-present in our hiring and recruiting practices. This will only continue as the younger generation takes over.
- Remote work and telecommuting are going mainstream. No longer a fringe idea or rare perk, technology also allows work to be done from far-flung locations. This trend has been growing quickly in recent years. It’s fueled partially out of necessity—freelance work was often a route taken when other jobs were tough to come by—and partially due to younger generations’ focus on work/life balance. Working from home offers benefits that cubicle life often does not. Employers are also helping fuel this trend because they’re finding that it’s often simpler to pay freelancers on a per-project basis than hire workers when there may not be full-time work for them after a project is completed. They also find it might be simpler from the payroll side since freelancers typically do not receive benefits.
- Full-time employees also use technology to work off-site. For many years now, the use of smartphones and laptops has meant that employees—not just freelancers—are working when they’re not in the office. This flexibility is both a pro and a con from an HR perspective; employees love the flexibility to work from home when possible, but it means HR has to keep track of workers, data, and legal compliance in more places.
- Organizations have more access to customer (and employee) data. The ever-present smartphone and laptop don’t just affect employees—they also means customers are always online, too. This means more and more organizations are taking advantage of ways to gain insights about customer and employee behaviors. HR teams can also use data tracking to improve efficiencies inside the organization.
- Turnover is increasing. With the economy growing, unemployment shrinking, and pay rising, employees are in a position where they’re not afraid to look for new roles. In past generations, it was uncommon to switch jobs frequently. In the past couple of decades, however, the average number of jobs held during one’s lifetime has nearly doubled. With technology making job searching easier, this trend shows no signs of slowing. Employers will have to work harder to retain employees and/or plan for higher turnover costs indefinitely. This highlights the need for organizations to do market assessments—many have fallen behind in compensation and benefits and will need to catch up if they hope to retain talent. This also highlights the importance of succession planning, since turnover is higher.
What 2015 trends are already emerging in your organization? How has technology changed the way you do business? Is your organization preparing for the next generation of people and tech?
**This article does not constitute legal advice. Always consult legal counsel with specific questions.**
About Bridget Miller:
Bridget Miller is a business consultant with a specialized MBA in International Economics and Management, which provides a unique perspective on business challenges. She’s been working in the corporate world for over 15 years, with experience across multiple diverse departments including HR, sales, marketing, IT, commercial development, and training.