Last year we predicted that artificial intelligence-themed technologies like machine learning would be a big trend in 2017 – and they certainly were. A recent webinar survey of human resources professionals by AI company CapabilityCafe found 62 percent of respondents believe machine learning would substantially or moderately affect their jobs. When thinking about trends in HR, it's no longer a matter of what's next in office planning or talent development. HR, just as any industry, is being affected by overarching trends at large: technology, personal empowerment, generational shifts.
Yet while these trends are macro in scope, they portend very important things for performance management. The modern workforce is in flux, and increasingly reliant on new technologies to help leadership contend with the latest evolutions in behavior, expectations and business.
For more insight, here are the performance management trends of 2018 to keep an eye on:
The trend of consumerism has mainly been seen in health care, but its effects are just as applicable to HR. Transparency, experience and enrichment are increasingly demanded by not just employees, but also job applicants. Thanks to smart technology that and a growing number of options (as job growth remains steady), workforce members have been more empowered in their decision-making and are more likely than ever to "shop" for jobs or expect certain things from employers.
To this end, performance managers will have to focus on fostering an inclusive and enjoyable experience for employees and candidates. In a lot of ways this relates to employer branding: Posting on social media a picture of a new hire's desk or office function can resonate with followers and even impact how top talent looks at a prospective employer. Though it may feel a bit like Freaky Friday, performance managers have to understand they must do everything they can to make a best impression – the experience is a two-way street.
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Getting Ready for Gen Z
It wasn't too long ago that millennials officially became the most-represented demographic in the American workforce. Now, performance managers have to gear up again and get ready for the Gen Z influx. Generally agreed upon as having been born in 1995 or '96 and later, this demographic group will soon make their own imprint in the office. The oldest of the cohort have a year of full-time employment under their belt, but it's the ranks of Gen Zers in college and just graduating that will make the force of the first wave even more noticeable for performance managers.
Much like their generational predecessors, Generation Z has embraced technology, identity and social responsibility, and become less motivated by material gains than personal growth. An 2017 EY survey found the top three benefits wanted by Gen Z respondents were:
- Health insurance coverage.
- Feeling my ideas are valued.
- Recognition for my contribution.
However, while it's neat and tidy for HR to see the office in terms of Generation Z and millennials, or remote and on-site employees, performance management is invariably heading toward individualism. This is not to say teams are going away or that the usefulness of companywide policies and processes will fade, but employees and applicants are increasingly seeking an opportunity that is right for them and will meet their unique needs.
An emerging theme in performance management is flexible arrangements. The old 9 to 5 may work in some offices, but many more have pursued individual options and parameters that allow workers to get their best work done on their time. Now, meetings and such will always be a constant fixture, but granting employees some degree of autonomy in shaping their schedules helps them gain a better work-life balance. Taking control can also engage them more, allowing performance managers to craft productive relationships.
Most of the news you've likely heard about bots isn't great. Many HR professionals also have a less enthusiastic view of bots, for fear technology will eat away at their responsibilities. On the contrary, using bots to help handle the mundane or answer questions of protocol can free up time and resources to otherwise dedicate to continuous performance management. ChatterOn.io reported on some examples of this, like Amazon using automation to handle scheduling and sick days. It also cautioned that while there are benefits to bots in HR, careful integration and adoption will be needed.
When businesses look to address these trends in their own offices, having the right performance management tools is of the utmost importance. More of the HR world is shifting online, and having solutions that support that seamless transition can help organizations better improve their performance management efforts. To learn more about BetterWorks and its products, contact us today.