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  • Writer's pictureNua Team

Rising workplace trends that are reshaping the work of HR

Updated: Mar 20, 2019

From regulatory uncertainty to breakthrough moments in corporate integrity and workforce diversity, the business world has been shaken up and there is now even more pressure on HR leaders to do the best they can to create workplaces where people thrive. These five rising trends are reshaping the work of HR leaders today.

1. Human capital transparency

You already know that diversity in companies does matter and that it can make a positive impact on the company’s bottom line. Diverse teams offer deeper insights to the challenges your business might be facing and bring more efficient solutions to the table.

When it comes to disclosing human capital details, companies often report different metrics on the company health as a part of public filings. But not so much is reported on employee health markers such as gender equity, minority representation and staff turnover. While a push for disclosure of human capital metrics has been happening, it comes mostly under circumstances of public scrutiny.

More companies will soon opt for transparency, and investors and investor advocacy groups will likely continue to push hard on disclosure of such metrics. Legislative efforts in California and New York, as well as CEO pay disclosure requirements, will also drive greater transparency and fairness around pay.

More companies should and increasingly may proactively disclose their successes and work with their employees and local communities to improve these even further and create workplace ethics and cultures that will attract the best talent who will thrive in the diverse environment.

2. Playing "defense" against the gig economy

Many companies have started to see the free-agency trend in employee behavior in certain parts of the workforce. "Rock star" employees realize their value and want to dedicate their time to working on exciting projects, maximizing for value and reward while minimizing the time invested. With the rapid growth of the gig economy, it means that your best employees might choose to work for themselves and contract for multiple companies to give themselves more flexibility. This supports their lifestyle much better than committing to working for your company full-time.

Does it mean you should give up on all of your full-time employees and rehire them as contractors? Not at all. But now is the time to start building some defenses against the gig economy. More companies will create innovative work-life integration and time-off programs to accommodate the needs of their best employees.  

Take time to assess your company’s approach to managing and rewarding people against this new and different type of competitor, the allure of gig work. As an employer, it’s time to use the advantages you have as a counterweight to your best people seeking to test the waters elsewhere. Try different approaches and see what works best for which groups of employees, rather than using a “one size fits all” policy best suited for full-time employees.

3. Redefining the manager role

People often confuse leadership with supervision. That’s why mid-management is usually responsible for “everything,” from coming up with the big vision for the business to monitoring the team’s time sheets and conducting employee performance reviews. The problem is that this model does not work well. Top people in management are not always quality supervisors.  

In the months and years ahead, we will see the redefinition of what it means to lead versus manage versus supervise. Want to get ahead of the curve? Spend some time truly paying attention to what skills your people possess and in which roles your employees will shine most. Don’t ask them to be jacks of all trades -- allow managers to specialize in the areas they excel in and create a more effective people management program.

4. Simplification and consolidation of resources and tools

We live in the world where there are solutions catering to any needs an employee or organization might have. As good as it might sound, the abundance of choice can cause HR leaders to feel overwhelmed, distracting them from making employees core needs and values a priority. If you’ve ever felt like there are too many benefits to choose from and it’s taking increasingly more time to manage them, you’re not alone.

Take the opportunity to rationalize your choices of employee benefits and rewards by focusing on what matters to them most. We will see HR tools consolidation that will bring transparency, easier filtering and a smoother selection process that will cohesively fit into your HR strategy.

5. The rise of the CFO in managing compensation costs

When companies dedicate a significant amount of time to finding and hiring future employees, it’s only natural that they are ready to do whatever it takes to make employees happy. Ping-pong tournaments? Done! Beer yoga on Monday mornings? No problem! Funky job titles and bi-annual pay rises? You got it! But question: Do these really matter when it comes to employee satisfaction and retention and is it sustainable to keep promoting your staff and increasing their salary every few months?

Naturally, the CFO has always been involved in managing compensation costs. But going forward, they will bring a new skill: job leveling. Job leveling is the process of determining the relative value of jobs in an organization. It helps companies direct people-related programs to the appropriate level and better manage labor costs. It might sound boring, but investing in thinking strategically about job architecture can do wonders for the business from a financial perspective. Build a workforce structure that supports the work dynamics and employee experience, and see the positive impact it makes on workforce cost, employee attraction and retention, company culture and your business’s bottom line.

HR leaders play a crucial role in ensuring that businesses build healthy and rewarding environments for their employees. By taking a proactive approach, you can get ahead of the curve and help create a workplace culture that attracts the best people in business.

About the author:

Joe Farris is a co-founder at Nua Group, a San Francisco-based Human Resources consulting firm specializing in total rewards. Joe challenges organizations to think beyond the median, focusing on people-related investments that drive meaningful workforce and business outcomes. He helps organizations build great companies through bold and differentiated people strategies.

The article was originally published in Forbes magazine. 

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