Human Resources Trends on the Horizon for 2018

Human Resources Trends on the Horizon for 2018

In human resources, it has always been important to recognize what works well while staying abreast of emerging trends that could improve practices. For the end of 2017 going into 2018, industry experts predict changes concerning employee feedback, the role of HR professionals, blended workforces, and tougher competition for talent. Let’s take a closer look at how these changes may affect the workplace and the HR field as a whole.

New Focus On Feedback

feedbackFeedback has always been important in human resources, but in coming years, surveys and other means of gathering feedback are expected to play an even more critical role. Peer feedback is also becoming increasingly important. While most companies provide employees with some kind of feedback from their manager, many companies are also giving employees feedback from their peers, often in a group setting.


Going into 2018, more HR departments are expected to facilitate feedback from both peers and management as one way of boosting employee retention. Companies should also be prepared to institute more robust engagement surveys to thoroughly gauge employee satisfaction. Engagement surveys work best when they are consistently administered, typically every three to six months.

An Expanded Role for HR Departments

Human resources has traditionally been seen as the business unit within a company that’s responsible for finding and hiring talent, administering benefits, and a host of other employee-centered functions. While all of these duties are still necessary and important, experts believe that the role of HR departments is evolving.

The general stereotype is that the HR department exists in a bubble, but in the coming years, some observers predict that HR will be expected to take a larger role in company growth and development. HR professionals may be expected to assume a more active role in recruiting talent based on the company’s business strategy, rather than focusing solely on candidates’ experience and education. In the future, HR may be viewed as more than just a policy-making entity within a company. Instead, its role will be more like an internal think-tank tasked with finding ways to improve employee morale and recruiting new talent that will advance the company’s business strategy.

Blended Workforces

businessWith the advent of the gig economy in the 21st century, it’s no wonder that blended workforces—full-time employees working in tandem with freelancers and teleworkers—are expected to become even more common. According to a study released by Field Nation and Future Workplace, more than 90 percent of companies already have blended workforces.

In many instances, freelancers work hand-in-hand with full-time employees on projects. These collaborations can yield impressive results, and many companies with blended workforces report that the reduced costs and flexibility are the main reasons they rely on a combination of internal and external talent.

According to the Freelancers Union, freelancers make up 34 percent of the current US workforce, and this figure is expected to rise to 50 percent by 2020. This prediction is important not only for individuals, but also for companies that will be able to hire on-demand talent and reduce healthcare costs.

Increased Competition for Top Talent

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employees across all age groups tend to stay with a company for an average of four and a half years, but the average millennial job tenure is shorter, at just over two years. With a growing economy and job market, HR departments face stiff competition for top talent—the best employees have more options than ever when choosing an employer.

Because of this, HR recruiting and hiring managers should realize that candidates are less likely to complete demanding or overly complicated applications. Companies that are having trouble attracting talent should examine their application processes by putting themselves in the candidate’s place. Is the company easy to find on job-seeker websites? Do online application forms load quickly and work properly? Does the application force candidates to repeatedly enter the same information? These are some of the questions HR recruiting managers should be asking.

Careerbuilder also reported that more than 70 percent of full-time workers are actively looking for new employment or remain open to the possibility of going to another company. Since most employers realize that very few of their hires will remain with the company until retirement, many have been offering so-called “tours of duty.” These short employment stints give employees greater flexibility, and employers receive some assurance that the employee will remain with the company for a pre-defined amount of time. Despite the promise shown by offering tours of duty, it should be noted that some studies have found that offering short-term contract-based employment can result in higher turnover.

For HR departments, understanding what helps achieve overall success is critical. By keeping abreast of the latest trends in HR as well as the economy and job market, HR professionals can help their companies keep their competitive advantage and reevaluate policies and procedures using an evidence-based approach.

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