Human Resources

3 HR Trends That Are Becoming Best Practices

3 HR Trends That Are Becoming Best Practices
Image credit: Matthew (WMF)

In today’s business world, the only constant is change -- especially when it comes to HR. The human resources department of yesterday, largely focused on mitigating compliance and employee-related issues, is long gone.

Jason Averbrook, CEO of the Marcus Buckingham Company, explains here:

“A hundred years later, a lot of organizations are still running HR that same way; focusing on risk, focusing on compliance, focusing on the transactional side of it, but there’s a whole new era, and things like unions and pensions and transparency of the workplace have changed.”

As today’s workplace becomes increasingly transparent, more technologically advanced and less confined to titles and cubicle walls, HR will have to do the same.

Here are some of today’s growing HR norms and how to embrace those norms in order to grow and succeed as a department and as a company:

1. A new business partner.

Human resources professionals no longer function behind the scenes. In fact, their in-depth knowledge of the workforce has made them invaluable members of the team, especially when it comes to the decision-making process.

A July CareerBuilder survey of 88 leaders at companies with revenue of at least $50 million revealed that a majority of CEOs (65 percent) agree that HR opinions carry greater weight with senior management. What’s more, 73 percent say that their HR leader has provided data that they have incorporated into their business strategy.

What sparked this shift in the CEO-human resources relationship?    

Business leaders are beginning to realize the unique insight that comes from HR and the role it plays in strategic business planning. Human resource leaders make ideal business partners because they have insight that no one else in the company has: insight into individual employees and the workforce as a whole.

HR interacts with employees on a daily basis and understands where their strengths and shortcomings lie. This enables them to provide valuable recommendations on things such as skills shortages, succession planning, employee performance and satisfaction -- the list goes on.

How to embrace: Allow HR leaders to assist in making internal business decisions by inviting them to offer the “human” perspective -- how changes will affect your company’s employees. Including them in these discussions will give leadership the insight they need to make important internal decisions.

Related: Man Accidentally Sends Naked Selfies to HR Manager After Receiving Job Offer

2. A new way of looking at things.

To provide business leaders with insight they can apply toward overall strategy, HR professionals need to effectively and efficiently assess employees. To do that, they need to embrace the big data trend with open arms.

An overwhelming 90 percent of CEOs say it’s important that HR leaders be proficient in workforce analytics, with 35 percent saying it’s “absolutely essential,” according to the aforementioned CareerBuilder survey -- and that’s saying something.

How to embrace: Use workforce analytic tools like employee engagement and satisfaction surveys, 360-degree review software,and social media to make it easy to track, analyze and share people data that is crucial to the company’s bottom-line.

Related: 3 Reasons HR Needs to Be Involved in Planning a Business's Strategy

3. A new helping hand.

Human resources software is on the rise. So much so that 53 percent of companies with more than 1,000 employees plan to invest in HR software this year, according to a 2015 study by The Starr Conspiracy Intelligence Unit.

The automation of everyday processes has made headache-inducing tasks much less painful. Where HR is concerned, automation has literally put the human back in human resources by freeing up more time to spend strategizing with the company’s leadership, finding and securing top talent and working with employees.

How to embrace: Identify which processes or tasks take up the most time and would benefit the most from automation -- maybe it’s new hire onboarding or payroll. Whatever it is, choose a system that seamlessly integrates with other HR processes.

Related: 4 Ways to Entice Departing Talent to Return