With 2016 drawing to a close, it’s time for HR Directors to look ahead and be prepared for 2017’s challenges and opportunities. Here are my HR predictions for 2017.

  1. The continued rise of the gig economy – HR will face the challenges of communicating, collaborating with and, to a degree, engaging, with the rising number of freelancers and flexible workers. They will need to look to digital solutions and new ways of leading.
  2. Focus on the employee experience – the war for the best talent is still waging and today’s employee expects to have a great experience at work.  The hiring process is key (it’s your ‘shop window’).  If you don’t already, it’s time to start treating employees like customers.
  3. Wellbeing and flexibility – things have moved on from balancing home and work; it’s now about how best to integrate the two. This means that organisations will need to be far more creative and open-minded about how work works and how pressure is managed whilst making sure support and advice are on hand as and when needed.
  4. HR as a business leader – today’s HRD needs practical and applicable understanding and ‘know-how’ around evolving a strategy, brand and marketing, IT, finance and the ability to understand business. They also need to be able to talk business and be in the business; a business leader rather than a supporter.
  5. Employee engagement – this never really goes away and, with the rise in emphasis on boomerang workers (who move on, potentially to return later), holding onto talent and becoming a standout place to work, engaging your people continues to be a business priority. It’s everyone’s responsibility and is ‘always on’ – or it needs to be.
  6. Big data – lots of hype and discussion will continue, though people will begin to make more sense of it all and start doing it rather than talking about it. The key will be to keep it simple, with the emphasis on business priorities and goals and simple, user-friendly reporting in order to avoid  ‘analysis paralysis’.
  7. Leadership development – far more emphasis on enabling, coaching and mentoring with facilitated collaborative and business-focused sessions rather than standard programmes. Millennial leaders (and those aspiring) expect it and 2017 needs it.
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