These Are The Hot HR Topics Everyone Is Talking About

These Are The Hot HR Topics Everyone Is Talking About

Six months into 2015, there is a lot going on in the world of HR. In fact, changes are taking place, key issues are being discussed and the future of HR and work is evolving right before us.

What’s new in the world of hiring, staffing, and recruiting and employment law? What are some hot trends in HR developing thus far in 2015?

Diane Steele, owner and President of Steele Recruiting, a direct hire recruiting and executive search placement services firm, says some key issues are developing around these topics:

  • Entry-level positions are hard to fill: As the unemployment rates drops to 3.5% entry-level positions are “very hard to fill with qualified candidates,” says Steele. For recruiters and HR professionals Steele says it’s more important than ever to become creative and innovative to learn where candidates may look for a job and to find those passive candidates who may make a jump even if they are not actively looking.
  • “To put it best you need to put yourself in the minds of your target candidate to catch them where they are,” says Steele. “This means it may be beneficial to talk to your kids and ask them what social media venues are streaming right now. Where would they look for summer jobs and why would they choose to work somewhere over another?”
  • Retention is key: Because of a lack of qualified candidates, focusing on retention should be key, says Steele. Keeping your staff in place and preventing turnover is something businesses need to work hard at because if employees leave there may not be the right people out there to replace them. And if there are, it could take months to find them, train them and get them up to speed. When discussing retention Steele says “retaining your team should be something you pay very close attention to.”
  • Company culture becoming even more important: It was the norm for baby boomers to stay with a company until retirement. “Today, Millenials start looking for their next job the first day they start a job,” says Steele. They expect to stay in a position no longer than two years and then they either move up or move out.
  • The workforce is changing quickly as many boomers are reaching retirement age and HR professionals need to pay attention to the type of culture candidates are looking for to become the employer of choice.
  • “Those who don’t move quickly to adapt to the changing workforce and their needs and expectations may be left with a tremendous shortage of staff in the very near future,” says Steele. Work-life balance, autonomy, wellness, learning and development and a reason why your company is outstanding needs to be part of the equation when recruiting and retaining Millenials says Steele.
  • Promoting your employer brand in areas where Millenials may be hanging out is crucial to attracting young talent says Steele.

OFCCP/AAP and pay equity is another key topic. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs and the Affirmative Action Program: Pay equity is a hot button item when it come to equal pay, says Tiffany Kuehl, a senior account executive in HR consulting with Versique, an award-winning executive search and consulting firm.

“In board rooms, on the streets and within the U.S. Congress the conversations range from raising the minimum wage to ensuring women earn the same as their male counterparts,” says Kuehl. “With the EEOC’s focus on pay equity, it is not likely the discussions will end soon.”

As a result, some businesses are offering “non-standard” benefits in an effort to attract talent, says Kuehl.

“The drawback to some of the non-traditional benefits is they can sometimes favor one gender of the other,” adds Kuehl.

For example, extended paid maternity leave for new moms.

“Just as it is fair and good business sense to pay men and women equally for the same role, if you elect to provide additional benefits to attract and retain good people, be sure they can be used by all employees,” says Kuehl.

Workplace Trends

In 2013 the Society of Human Resources Management published The SHRM Workplace Forecast. This Forecast is published every two years by the SHRM. Now, in 2015, HR professionals are starting to see the results of that Forecast and how those key issues and topics are evolving.

“According to the findings of a survey of our members published in our Workplace Forecast report, key issues include the cost of providing health care benefits, a shortage of skilled workers, the loss of key workers due to baby boomer retirements and economic uncertainty,” says Jen Schramm, manager of workforce trends at SHRM.

“When we ask more senior HR professionals what HR challenges they are most concerned about they mention things like maintaining high levels of employee engagement, leadership development and retention issues.”

Other key topics of interest and concern, according to the SHRM include:

  • Employer mandates regarding Affordable Care Act
  • Increase of high deductible health plans
  • Wellness programs evolving
  • Flextime, telecommuting are growing more popular

Remote Work/Telecommuting Increasing in Popularity

The 2015 Workplace Flexibility Study showed that in 2015 companies are investing more in work flexibility programs. In 2014, of the companies that knew how much they invested in their work-life benefits programs, 60% spent under $20,000 and 29% spent more than $40,000. 53% of those companies planned to invest more in their programs in 2015. The biggest concern for employers who establish flexibility programs is potential employee abuse of the system (42%) , followed by it not being part of their culture (40%) and concerns about employee fairness (34%).

In addition, workplace flexibility is more important to employees than employers think. 50% of employers ranked workplace flexibility as the most important benefit they believe their employees desire, compared to 75% of employees (and 74% of those unemployed) who ranked it as their top benefit. Employees, job seekers and HR professionals agree that paid and unpaid time off is most important to employees (72% of HR vs. 79% of employees and 74% of job seekers). Both employees (61%) and job seekers (66%) ranked financial support, such as tuition assistance, as being most important after time off.

Employers are seeing benefits from their flexibility programs. The top benefits organizations saw in their work flex programs were improved employee satisfaction (87%), increased productivity (71%), and that they retained current talent (65%). 69% use their programs as a recruiting tool and 54% said that their programs positively impacted their recruiting.

Other findings from the Workplace Flexibility Study include:

  • Boomers don’t benefit from their flexibility program as much as younger generations. 62% said that the demographic that benefits most is Gen X compared to 35% of Gen Y and only 3% of boomers.
  • Employees care most about compensation yet employers think otherwise. 37% of employers said that the type of work that employees do is most important to them, compared to the money they make (24%). On the other hand, 31% of employees (24% of job seekers) said that the money they make is most important followed by the type of the work they do (22% of employees and 23% of job seekers).
  • There is a large opportunity for employers to strengthen their employment brand by offering outplacement and career transition assistance to their employees. 71% of job seekers answered that they were likely to choose a company that offered outplacement (career coaching and transition services for laid-off employees) over a company that did not if all else (salary, role, etc.) was equal. As a benefit, outplacement assistance was more important to potential employees than health and wellness benefits, community volunteer initiatives, tuition assistance, or culture change initiatives such as team building. Outplacement trailed only workplace flexibility and time off for jobseekers evaluating employer benefits. Approximately one-third (34%) of the organizations surveyed with 500+ employees currently offer outplacement assistance to its laid-off employees.

2015 is going by fast and new workplace trends are constantly emerging. How are you staying on top of the hot topics and trends in HR?

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Matt Krumrie is a career columnist and professional resume writer who has been providing helpful information and resources for job seekers and employers for 15+ years. Learn more about Krumrie via resumesbymatt.com, connect with him on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/in/mattkrumrie/) and follow him on Twitter via @MattKrumrie.

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