Ushering in 2019 means pondering what the new year means in terms of HR initiatives. Which were successfully put to rest last year, which will continue and carry forward and which are perhaps new initiatives this year based on the economic climate.
Top of the list is the tight labor market and lower retention many companies are experiencing. We experienced the beginning of this challenge last year as companies struggled to find the talent they needed to fill positions to fuel their growth. Companies will need to consider:
Flexibility in the workplace– More companies are finding ways to attract and retain workers with key skill sets by offering a combination of flexible work schedules. Late starts, work from home, shorter in the office hours are all opportunities that will attract a different segment of the population than those able to work from 8:00-5:00p or more likely 7:00am-6:00pm.
Learning opportunities that span the entire workforce- Succession Planning programs are giving way to Talent Planning programs which encompass the whole organization. Employee are looking for both lattice and ladder training opportunities. IDP’s (Individualized Development Plans) are becoming popular. Instead of unleashing a plethora of online and webinar-based training opportunities, organizations are spending the time to develop individual training plans for each employee. These are likely developed around core competencies that have already been established in the organization.
On-Boarding programs– not to be confused with the 1-3 day orientation programs, on-boarding programs will usually span 3-6 months and focus on quickly getting the new employee up to seed and integrated into the organization effectively. Research links effective onboarding to reduced turnover and increased retention. In one study, employees were 60% more likely to remain with the organization for more than three years when there is a structured onboarding program.
Holistic Wellness Programs– wellness in no longer associated with simply the absence of disease, but has become a term that we associate with multiple forms of wellness. Is your workforce physically, emotionally, socially and financially well and what can you do to support their efforts? Employee are looking less for balance between personal and work lives and more for integration. One should not be exclusive of the other. Employees want time and training devoted to helping them learn how to meditate, eat healthy foods, manage their finances and generally live happy lives which, in turn, yield happy and more productive employees.
Artificial Intelligence– no discussion would be complete without including AI. HR technology companies are developing and promoting more and more Artificial Intelligence (AI) capabilities. Some of the technologies being developed can help HR professionals track and reveal troubling patterns in real-time to address such issues as employee engagement, turnover, and absenteeism (to name a few). Automating repetitive tasks and improving workforce productivity are two of the top potential outcomes from implementing AI technology.
Each year brings its own set of challenges and opportunities to the HR profession. This last year of the decade is no exception!