2017 HR trends: experience, apps, analytics

Recently, many articles have been published on top 2017 HR trends in both thought-leadership as well as HR technologies from Forbes, Fast Company, Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Huffington Post and others. While we agree with most of these articles, we wanted to re-order and compile our own top 2017 HR trends list, validating some of those that are in these lists with what we are seeing in this segment in our experience.


Employee experience is becoming such a critical function that more and more companies like GE, Athena Health, Nike and others now actually have people whose job title is "Head of Employee Experience". Similar to Customer Experience, Employee Experience focuses on the employee, starting from recruitment to engagement and professional fulfillment, that ultimately leads to high retention. It is basically seeing the world through the eyes of employees, staying connected, and recognizing them.

The Future Workplace and Beyond.com study entitled "The Active Job Seeker Dilemma" found that 83% of HR leaders said "employee experience" is either important or very important to their organization’s success, and they are investing more in training (56%), improving their work spaces (51%), and giving more rewards (47%).


As we discussed in a previous blog post, Millennials are increasingly becoming a major demography in your workforce and are expected to be 75% of your organization by 2025 . Moreover, a study by Fieldglass predicted that the share of contingent workers (freelancers, interns, and contractors) would grow from 20% in 2015 to 25% in 2017, and workforces in the gray area (including remote and part-time workers) would grow from 26% in 2015 to 34% in 2017. Reaching and engaging these segments not only requires HR leaders to come up with creative content ideas but also be innovative in adopting their channel of communication - the smartphone.

“Branding the employer culture from the start is the best way to recruit and retain top talent in a competitive global landscape. As Millennials shape the workforce, traditional items like bonuses and other perks don’t matter as much as fitting in with the employer culture and sharing a common vision. Your company must focus on their unique culture and deliberately shape it to stay relevant to top talent.” says Laura Platt, director of human resources for Spreadshirt U.S., Boston


A number of companies–including Deloitte, Adobe, Accenture, GE, and SAP–announced plans to leave behind the annual performance review over the last two years. Performance reviews are a time-consuming process, and the fact that most of them are annual, does not let companies adapt and react quickly in this fast changing world. Instead of these old tools, companies are investing in tools and platforms that can continuously analyze tons of data that they already have about their employees. Moreover, they are also deploying software that can help HR conduct bi-weekly or monthly pulse surveys. These short surveys if designed properly can help companies collect data quickly, identify issues in real-time and mitigate or address them right away instead of waiting for a year or more.


There is a new category of learning products called "learning experience platforms" that focus on delivering a "learning platform" and not just a "learning management platform." -  in other words, they are places to go to browse and learn on a continuous basis, and not merely to register for courses.

Learning experience platforms incorporate new ways of educating employees with videos, story-telling, interactive quizzes. This unstructured continuous learning in the enterprise offers several advantages including knowledge retention and engagement. If HR leaders include mobile as a channel and gamification to target millennials and contingent workers in the enterprise, the advantages multiply.


Digital has transformed media, retail, transportation and education. Another thing we are seeing with 2017 HR trends is that now it's the  HR leader's turn to apply a consumer and digital lens to the HR function, creating an employee experience that mirrors their best customer experienceAccording to Forrester, 47% percent of executives surveyed believe that by 2020, digital will have an impact on more than half their sales. Digital will permeate new ways of recruiting, working, learning, and engaging employees. Mobile will be a very important channel for these digital tools and to deploy it properly, HR leaders will need to understand the difference between traditional web platforms (such as intranets) and mobile.

“Applying a consumer and digital lens is much more than just incorporating new solutions in HR,” Jeanne Meister notes. “Being employee-centered and digital is about having a new mindset...Above all, it requires a belief in the power of leveraging the latest consumer technologies inside HR.”


Almost all companies have real-time dashboards and data analysis tools for their customers. But ask about their employees, then their HR departments have to sift through the enormous clutter of data from different tools to provide any answer. New HR software tools in the market are changing this by giving HR leaders information on their fingertips by making it easier to analyze data on a real-time dashboard and drive initiatives based on that data. These HR software platforms can also provide predictive analytics which can help HR strategize and tackle issues even before they occur. This is key in 2017 HR trends.

“Looking ahead, technology will play a central role in helping employers make decisions both in the short and long term. We will continue to see an incremental shift to using sophisticated analytics to build HR strategy to benefit both the larger workforce and prioritize workforce development investments.” says Jewell Parkinson, head of human resources at SAP North America.

We hope that these 2017 HR trends will help you plan your employee engagement and communication strategy. Also, don't forget to read our employee engagement planning guide and try our hubEngage Employee App that incorporates all these 2017 HR trends in one single platform.


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