Business confidence is up, the unemployment rate is down, it is an election year and already we are noticing an increase in turnover for the year to date.
2014 feels like it will be a year for change and a year for growth, both personally and professionally.
Just like you are seeking to take advantage of the positive business environment, your staff are seeking new challenges and opportunities and this changes the dynamics of your HR needs and what you can expect in the future.
SO WHAT ARE THE “BIG” TRENDS IN HR THIS YEAR, AND WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR YOU AND YOUR TEAM?
- A continued focus on diversity. The term diversity has gained considerable attention in the past few years, and this will continue throughout 2014. The demographic of the New Zealand worker is changing, with a large number of skilled migrants, working mothers and an aging workforce. Smart businesses will realise that within these groups lie a huge pool of talent and experience, and widening your recruitment practices to consider these options will enable access to a wider talent base. This in turn will mean developing a workplace culture and systems which support and encourage these differences and allows all employees to flourish.
- The continued blurring of the work/life balance. As the use of technology at work evolves, the line between work and other life is increasingly blurred leading to higher stress levels and an increased chance of staff burnout. At the same time employees are becoming more aware of the need to look after their own health and well-being. The impact of this is that businesses will have to start considering the “whole” person, if they are to encourage top performance. Does your team have proper down time without their phone going off every 5 minutes? Are they stressed due to financial pressures? Are they healthy? All of these factors impact on the work they do, and helping your team to lead balanced lives will benefit your business.
- Top talent becomes more visible, and mobile. As social media avenues like Linkedin become more widely used, traditional recruitment practices are changing and widening all the time. Rather than relying on job boards like Seek alone, recruiters now actively review Linkedin profiles and can tap into the market of passive job seekers. Good news for you, as you have access to talented candidates who may not necessarily be actively looking for new roles, but equally challenging as this means your top performers become fair game for recruiters on the hunt. Engaging, developing and challenging your team will become crucial to ensuring that when someone knocks at the door, your best people say “No thanks. I am happy here”.
- People data takes on more importance. Most businesses now understand the importance of using data to set budgets, track progress and spot trends across all departments, but the use of people metrics has been slower to catch on. This year an increase in offers of HR technology will help to encourage the use of people data to make decisions, identify issues and utilise this information to help you to make effective business decisions. Do you know your turnover rate? What about your absenteeism figure? Number of workplace accidents? If you don’t, you should. It will help you build a better business for the future.
- Health and Safety focus increases. With the setup of Worksafe NZ in December 2013, Health and Safety is bound to be a hot topic in 2014. While the initial focus is on high risk industries, we have already seen the release of guidelines for managing bullying in the workplace, and can expect more information and “best practice” documents over the coming year. With the increased focus it is timely for all of us to review our Health & Safety practices. Are they robust? Do they work? Are your people safe? The increasing profile of Worksafe NZ will mean Health & Safety will become highly visible for your team as well, and if you fall short in any area, likely to encourage questions from your team. It is a good time for all of us to review our practices, and make sure we are doing the right things to keep our teams safe at all times.
Change is inevitable in business. To successfully steer through the constant winds of change, use good HR practices to ensure your staff enjoy their work and their working environment, are challenged, and feel rewarded. Then they will work hard and produce the results you need.
As JW Marriott once said “If you take care of your people, your people will take care of your customers, and your business will take care of itself.”