It’s a pretty exciting time to be part of the talent management world! There are so many cool technologies and initiatives that companies are rolling out to improve the everyday lives of employees. Monitoring the social feeds and watching these trends emerge, you see that there are never-ending ways to improve upon existing processes, and people keep developing them! Of course, there will always be the buzzwords and the hype around certain topics, but behind them are real solutions that forward-thinking companies are implementing to stay ahead of the game. To keep you informed, here are some of the trends that we’ve been seeing in the different realms of talent management:
This trend is really a continuation from last year. Companies are simply getting better at capturing data and organizing it in meaningful ways. As Josh Bersin states, “…employee-related data (and all the aspects it includes) is just as important or more important than customer data, because it tells you the secrets of how to manage your business better.” You’ll see this trend represented in technology offerings as vendors continue to develop and promote new analytics functionality. You’ll also see data in more places than before – across the entire talent management cycle, from determining what onboarding methods work best, to identifying what contributes to employee engagement.
Pro Tip: Wondering what the most important people analytics metrics might be? We asked 10 HR thought leaders.
In addition to helping businesses make decisions, the next step of analytics is AI. A popular term that has been thrown around a lot lately in the AI conversation is chatbots. From Dan Schawbel at Forbes: “Companies are using chatbots as personal assistants, for on-demand customer support, to mine data, streamline business processes, recover product information and to answer employee questions.”
There has been a lot of hype around this trend, specifically with the concern that people will be replaced by robots. But the general consensus seems to be that AI will really just take over the repetitive and tedious tasks, and humans will be able to focus more on the issues that involve considering more complex, less data-focused factors. This could mean a lot less paperwork for HR and other departments, but it also translates into a need to up-skill your workforce. You might notice an upswing in topics surrounding the importance of soft skills, as well as topics that focus on the benefit of STEM-based training – this is a direct response to thought leaders anticipating the need for more complex skill sets, while AI takes on the menial tasks.
When it comes to learning and development, a few trends have emerged: micro-learning, just-in-time learning, gamification, and education that's generally more fun. The HR Trend Institute describes them best: “Big chunks of material are divided in more digestible small pieces (micro learning). Employees will have easy access to learning material when they need it (just in time). Knowledge and skills can be learned in a playful manner (gamification), and VR and AR learning solutions make learning more real (and fun).”
Essentially, these all revolve around making the learning experience easier and more accessible for employees, plus an added focus on making work-related education more enjoyable to encourage participation. The end goal is a more engaging learning experience, which encourages better information retention. The more an employee is invested in the learning process, the more likely it is that they can retain that information and apply it in their work. In-class sessions may still have their place, but these trends are definitely providing more options - to the benefit of employees and their employers.
Another method for employee development that's gaining traction is the process of benchmarking. Many people believe that job benchmarking is used solely in the hiring process, and while it can certainly help hiring managers find the right candidates, that's not all it's useful for. In fact, benchmarking can play a significant role in identifying strengths and gaps with current employees, and it can help provide options for optimizing employees' strengths or addressing gaps that should be developed.
Pro Tip: Want to see how benchmarking can affect employee development? Check out this article.
Continuous Performance Management
Another trend that’s continuing from last year is continuous performance management. There was an explosion of articles near the end of 2017 around how companies were phasing out the traditional end-of-year performance review, and coming up with new solutions that deliver more frequent feedback. In Josh Bersin’s post on 2018 HR Tech disruptions, he says “continuous performance management is possible, it works, and it can transform your company. We are not talking about doing away with ratings, rather we are talking about building a new, ongoing process for goal setting, coaching, evaluation, and feedback.”
As this trend ramps up, you can bet that the technology will be right there with it, but what’s great about this one is that you don’t necessarily need technology to implement it. Continuous performance management is really a process-driven initiative, and while it can certainly be augmented by technology, the process itself can be implemented at any time.
I’m really excited to see some trends develop that put the focus on employee engagement, development and retention. Have you been hearing about some exciting talent management trends for the new year that I didn’t cover? Let me know in the comments!