2015: Strategies and Trends for the HR Professional

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2014 was a time of change in our industry and many of the predictions for the year seem, in hindsight, to be spot on. From social media and mobile continuing to change the way in which we recruit, to a constantly evolving workforce and new methods to engage with our employees, putting a finger on all that we have accomplished during the last 365 days can be a daunting task. As many of our companies wrap up operations for the year, it is important to not only take stock of how far we have come together in 2014, but to also review what we have to look forward to in the year ahead.

Personal Reflection

Use this moment to ask yourself the important questions that will inspire and motivate you for 2015:

  • What did I add to my personal legacy this year?
  • Did I promote transparency and drive innovation?
  • Did I actively articulate the values of my company?
  • Did I build relationships and facilitate communication?

As an active HR Leader, your effectiveness puts your company in a position to succeed. I know you will have met some or all of these goals, but there is always room to improve. If possible, set 3 to 5 objective measurements for the year ahead and plan for regular checkups – doing good work here by creating well-defined goals for yourself will directly impact the individuals that you interact with as an HR professional and will pay dividends for you and your company. To use an example from one of my previous posts, creating a goal to set up a bi-annual meeting regarding something like retirement planning will guarantee that you are proactively engaging employees on an important topic, which demonstrates not only your interest in their well-being, but also your long-term plans for them to be a part of your company.

Corporate Social Responsibility

The holiday break is often a highlight in the calendar year for all of us. Spending extended quality time with family and friends brings a refreshing energy to our lives that can rarely be matched. With that in mind, it is also a great time to stretch our social-responsibility muscles and reach out to the community as individuals – but even more importantly, as a group. Encourage your company, department or team to participate in volunteer or community work, or perhaps create a company-wide charitable matching program to help those in need. CSR programs allow us to provide for others, while building deeper relationships with our community and employees. What an inspiring way to bring all of us closer together during the holiday season and get us pumped for 2015!

2015: Trends to Prepare For

Many early indicators show that 2015 will continue to change the way we do business from decades past. While areas being highlighted seem to mirror 2014 trends (mobile/social, engagement) the single biggest change will be the shifting working demographic. With a stabilized economy, many of the Baby Boomer generation who had previously held off on retiring have begun to exit the job market, opening up space for younger generations to move up. While I have written about the importance of understanding the individuality of our Millenial employees, certain steps can be taken to ensure that employees of all age groups will find our companies to be not only a place for a job, but also a place for a satisfying career.

Keep the following questions in mind for HR in 2015:

  • Do we have a plan for success through competitive hiring practices and robust benefits?
  • Do we have a culture of honest interaction that supports our employees?
  • Do we engage in a meaningful way with our progressively diverse employee body?
  • Do we proactively identify and recruit future leaders? Do we train them to succeed?
  • Do we present ourselves as a company aware of emerging trends?
  • Do we support our communities and act in a socially responsible way?

With leadership opportunities being taken up by younger individuals, a highly competitive job market for new hires and a movement towards a more fluid pool of resources (e.g. contract employees), there may be pressure to change our HR strategies in order to match the market of the moment. While it is a smart strategy to continually review the trends as they manifest and change in 2015, doing the right thing and putting individual relationships at the heart of what we do will demonstrate a culture of support that ensures you are doing what is best for your workforce to prepare your company for success in the New Year.

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