With 2013 now distantly behind us, many HR departments are already beginning to plan for their 2015 benefit programs. And while many of the traditional decisions – tweaks to the existing benefit line-up, incentives, and vendor replacement – remain, a number of factors are at work conspiring against HR departments, forcing them to address new challenges and implement programs in order to attract and retain top talent.
Below are 5 factors I foresee having the biggest impact on HR departments in companies of all sizes.
- Economic Growth: While we are now in our fifth year of economic growth, it has largely been a “jobless recovery.” This is starting to change, particularly for key positions. Increasingly, unhappy (and uninspired) employees will consider switching employers. Economic growth creates new opportunities, and almost by definition, top employees will gravitate to opportunities.
- A Younger Workforce: a younger and increasingly mobile (re: less loyal) workforce is entering the labor market with the expectation of remaining with an employer only as long as a mutually beneficial relationship is maintained. For top talent – the employees who are responsible for the bulk of the real achievement in your organization – this era is quickly being defined as one of “you snooze, you lose.” Employers who are not providing the opportunities for their up and comers will see defections at higher rates.
- Ease Of Job Hunting: searching and finding new opportunities has never been easier. LinkedIn, Glassdoor, Facebook, and others have lowered the barrier to creating valuable networks. Which, in turn, make new job identification faster, easier and much more efficient for talent buyers and sellers. In some circles how you sourced the opportunity bestows bragging rights almost equal to the opportunity itself.
- Pace of Business: for startups, access to capital, talent and scalable infrastructure has never been easier. Further, idea velocity continues to accelerate, as organizations test and improve at an increasing rate. This is the new organizational reality, and even if your company may not be the most agile, chances are your employees have friends who work at companies that are. The status quo is untenable.
- Information Fluency: information assimilation and fluency are now competitive playing fields for talent. Employees must learn, think and adapt much faster than previous generations, and smart employers are increasingly demanding it. Traditional corporate hierarchy may remain in certain pockets, but increasingly organizations are pushing creativity and responsibility to the lowest level to improve corporate performance. Ironically, may new entrants arrive expecting this arrangement.
So what does all this mean for HR planning in 2015? HR must increase their focus on managerial performance, recognition and rewards, career opportunities, and corporate relevance in the broader context. These factors will continue to amplify as current trends continue. The most successful HR departments, those who are able to attract and retain top talent, will be those that adapt quickly to the changing landscape.