Human Resources is a department that is present and necessary in every company. Whether it’s internal or external, every company needs someone to watch over their employees. They also need someone who will make sure proper employment practices are followed. Since the workforce is constantly changing, so must the industry of human resources. The way in which we work continues to shift, which means that Human Resources departments will have to stay current on trends to foster the best possible work environment. Curious what those new trends are? Read on for the full overview.

The Evolution of HR

Human Resources today is a very different department from the HR of yesterday. One of the main differences is the role that HR plays in a company. In the past, HR’s responsibilities mainly focused on compliance and complaints. Today however, the role is more motivational, and akin to marketing. HR needs to sell the company not only to potential hires, but to current employees. The atmosphere and philosophy behind what makes a great working environment is changing. This is something we’ll emphasize later on.

Since HR has taken on more of an overarching role in many organizations, they also receive more support. Other departments like marketing and management now realize they have stake in the success of the HR department. The characterization of a lone back office HR employee is no longer appropriate (sorry Toby Flenderson). It is now much more of a team role.

Taking On A Larger Role

Happy Employee Sitting Back in Chair

HR is being held responsible for driving employee engagement and ensuring job satisfaction.

With new technological and structural philosophy developments, the job description for an HR employee has expanded. We live in the digital age, and inter-connectivity means a streamlined workplace. It also requires HR to familiarize themselves with job boards, websites, and social media to make sure they are tapping into the pool of high quality candidates.

However, they’re not just focused on external hires. A new era of focus on employee engagement is here, as a way to push productivity. It falls on the  shoulders of HR to ensure everything is being done to better engage employees in their work, and drive job satisfaction. Employees who are happier and more driven result in company success.

Finally, the last factor in the new expanded role of HR is the ability to have diverse knowledge in all areas. The expectation is that HR employees are aficionados of their coworkers and their job functions, to help improve the employee experience. This means knowing everyone’s role, and also making sure they are constantly improving in that role with workshops and adoption of best practices.

The Flexible Workplace

Fun Creative Workspace or Office

Creative workspaces are becoming more popular as we redefine the work environment.

With the evolution of HR, so follows the evolution of how we define the workplace. More thought is now going into the design of work spaces, ensuring they are motivational and inspiring to all employees. There is also a movement away from a physical workplace, with many companies offering opportunities to work remotely. Flexibility is expected by more workers, and companies are adapting since they see it’s positive impact on productivity.

Many companies are challenging the typical 9 to 5 workweek. Since 2014, Netflix has given their employees unlimited vacation days and a relaxed expense
policy. They’ve been rewarded with a market cap over $51 billion. If you’re interested in how Netflix has shaped their philosophies, you can see an overview along with their company slides here. In addition to relaxed vacation and PTO policies, many companies are now rethinking their performance evaluations processes. Numbered values are being abolished with a focus on qualitative measures. This focus on the human side is a shift that can be seen in many areas across the industry

Rethinking the Employee

CEO Talking to Human Resources Managers

CEOs are paying more attention to HR functions as they gain more overall influence within a company.

With businesses like Uber, Lyft, and other gig based models on the rise, HR managers are being challenged to think of employees in an entirely different way. As more clashes occur in these settings, the Supreme Court will likely have to provide better definition to what constitutes an employee. The government will also influence HR in other ways, with new policies on overtime, and minimum wage. The resulting tension between companies and the government will make walking the line a valuable skill in HR.

As a final note, many CEOs and C-Suite workers are realizing the importance of HR beyond it’s historical functions. Many large progressive corporations have their CEOs directly tracking HR initiatives. The importance of HR will only continue to grow as the role evolves with the market. We hope you enjoyed this look at the current state of HR. Did we miss any relevant developments? Make sure you let us know in the comments!