As 2016 draws to an end, I look back over some of the more significant industry influences that we’ve seen this year. Whether they’re legislative changes or general HR trends, here are just five of the many things which I think have had a massive impact on the UK’s workforces this year:

  1. An increasing generational gap

According to PwC research, Millennials will account for nearly half the global workforce by 2020.[i] Organisations that want to attract and retain fresh talent will need to keep up to ensure that their journey through hiring and onboarding is attractive to the younger generation.

On top of this we are also seeing a dramatically aging population, meaning that for the first time in history, five generations of employees are working side by side. This is leading to huge disruption to the traditional workplace, with a staggering 67% of employees saying that they are currently experiencing intergenerational conflict at work.[ii]

  1. Improving the employee experience

This year we saw the coining of the term consumerisation of HR, which in short means “creating a social, mobile, and consumer-style experience for employees inside the company”.[iii] The processes of HR have transformed drastically in the last decade, as technology has become integral to the function. Now we can see this technology support workers in their employment journey from start to finish.

Across 2016 we saw HR professionals starting to focus on using streamlined processes to improve the overall employee experience. Self-service tools and system integration are empowering employees when it comes to their HR and payroll needs in a user-friendly experience.

  1. Backlash from Brexit

Following the referendum result on 23 June, there has been much discussion about the implications for HR. There are a number of areas that are likely to be affected when Article 50 is invoked including employment law, employee engagement, migration, and the job market.

Whilst it’s still too early to determine the scope and extent of the impact, both economically and socially, HR teams have a massive part to play in monitoring the situation and being prepared to provide the compliance support needed internally.

  1. Changing legislation

On 1 April 2016 the National Living Wage was introduced in the UK. For the first time, employers needed to pay staff aged 25 and over the national living wage, which will work as a new top rate of the national minimum wage. This may well have had a direct effect on your payroll; or even had an impact on your suppliers and/or clients.

Additionally, from October this year, Gender Pay Gap reporting was kicked into gear as employers had to start properly recording the relevant information relating to the difference in pay between men and women, including gaps in bonus payments. In the coming year, large employers will be required to publish information about their gender pay gaps.

  1. Increased reliance on data and analytics

The ability to collect, process and analyse "big data” has been talked about increasingly in HR in the last decade. After years of putting data collection into practice it is now a crucial part of identifying and managing the challenge of business lifecycles.

Companies wanting to gain a competitive edge are ever more reliant on the use of HR analytics to gain data-driven insights into workforce trends and take action to make the best business decisions when it comes to recruitment, payroll and performance.


[ii] ADP Workforce View 2015-16


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