work schedules

Human Resources Trends for 2017

By Oscar Waterworth

The year 2017 will be particularly challenging for human resources teams as they will need to constantly adapt their strategies to emerging trends and ongoing changes in the working conditions and environment. Here is a look at some of the top human resources trends for 2017.

Company Culture and Employee Engagement as a Priority

As testimonials of employees and candidates are more visible with the rise of employer review websites, corporate practices are more transparent than ever. This is marking the end of unethical practices, and the beginning of taking care of issues such as respectful treatment of employees at all levels including benefits, job security, etc. Companies need to focus on corporate culture and values in order to retain employees and attract future candidates.

Further Rise of Blended Workforce

A major HR trend still relevant in 2017 is the continuing change in structure of the global workforce. While full-time employees still form the greatest part of the workforce, there has been a constant rise in numbers of non-traditional workers such as freelancers, interns, remote and part-time workers, etc. Since permanent employees are working side by side with temporary or non-traditional workers, the HR teams will face new challenges when it comes to organizing different types of workers while working together on the same project.

Changes in Performance Management and Reviews

While the annual performance reviews are increasingly abandoned in favor of continuous, more personal methods of delivering feedback to employees, the companies are yet to find a performance management strategy that best suits their working environment and their workforce. Most employees, especially the younger generations, appreciate regular and relevant feedback, so they can focus sooner on areas in which they can improve their performance. In 2017, companies will likely switch from performance measurement to performance counseling—as comments and discussion with employers and peers will replace the traditional rating systems.

Separating Performance Management and Compensation

As companies redefine or completely abandon performance rating, the question of what to do with performance-based bonuses still remains. Some companies have already eliminated monetary rewards based on performance, as it was concluded that they don’t significantly improve performance or employee morale while potentially causing rivalry in the workplace. It will be important to determine how to calculate pay and bonuses in a fair and competitive way, while respecting the newly established culture of continual feedback instead of keeping the classic performance ratings.

Turning Towards In-house Training

In order to keep their existing employees’ skills up to date, companies have often turned to outside sources for additional training and education. In 2017, HR teams will be looking for useful skills which employees already possess and the ways these skills can be put to use in a more cost effective in-house training.

Increasing Appreciation of Work Flexibility

Flexibility may be the benefit that is currently valued the most as work/life balance seems to be very important to employees, especially younger workers. In order to keep the talent working for them in the new results-driven environment, companies are increasingly flexible with working hours and location of their employees. In order to effectively keep track of a growing number of workers with different schedules, the use of a reliable time tracking software will be essential throughout 2017.

Using the Advantages of Big Data Analysis

To remain competitive, companies will invest more resources in big data analysis as the results of it have the potential to improve every aspect of the business.  Interpretation of the data will be helpful in areas of recruitment, improving employees’ performance and retention as well as reducing the number of bad hires.

Rising Interest in Wellness Programs

Companies are using wellness programs to reduce absenteeism, attract and retain talent, as well as save on healthcare costs. Creating a healthy and supportive work environment will help maintain employees in an optimal mental, emotional and physical state of well-being.

The successful implementation of good strategies in HR will lead to improved performance and greater satisfaction of the employees. This will largely depend on the ability of HR teams to tackle the challenges that will come with the latest trends while searching for adequate solutions for the new working situations.

Oscar Waterworth is a writer and a senior editor at Bizzmarkblog. He frequently blogs about the latest developments in the tech, marketing, and business industries. To stay updated with Oscar’s latest posts, you can follow him on Twitter.

In Praise of Night Owls

By Stephanie Hammerwold

As I was driving to a seminar that started at 7 a.m. this morning and grumbling about the early hour, I got to thinking about how the workplace is set up in a way that favors morning people. If it was not obvious from my opening sentence, I am a night owl. I always have been. I find that I am most productive during the later hours, and I have always had a hard time working a standard 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. schedule. No amount of coffee makes interacting with people at 8:30 a.m. tolerable for me. Yet, for most of my working life and even going back to my school days, my schedule involved early mornings. I think night owls are sometimes misunderstood because we don’t always fit well in the morning person world.

Being a Night Owl Doesn’t Mean You’re Lazy

Years of having to be at work by 8:30 or earlier have ruined my ability to sleep in. I would much rather stay up until 1 or 2 a.m. and then get up around 9 or 10 a.m., but that’s just not the way the world is set up. Attending meetings and seminars, talking to clients and running errands often requires morning availability. Over the years I have received grief from others when I talk about sleeping in—there seems to be this assumption that I enjoy sleeping in because I am lazy. I think I speak for a lot of night owls when I say, we are not lazy. We just happen to be more productive when all the morning people are already retiring for the day.

Despite the fact that not all of us are on friendly terms with the morning hours, workplaces (particularly office jobs) rely on a schedule that best suits morning people. Granted, we have established that business hours are roughly 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., so this makes sense. But working for myself has taught me a lot about when work can be done. I typically have calls and emails that need to be done during daylight hours, but quite a bit of my work involves writing, researching and drafting policies and other similar projects. Being able to plan these projects so that I do not have to complete them during the early morning hours has made me much more productive. I am no longer dragging my feet the way I would in the corporate environment when I was working traditional business hours.

Working without Distractions

One thing I enjoy about getting things done later in the day is that there are fewer distractions. The phone rings less, and people are less likely to email. By 10 p.m., the world is peaceful, and even the traffic noise in my neighborhood has dropped to almost nothing. In the calm of the night, I find that I am at my most creative. When all the hustle and bustle of the daytime has disappeared, it is a world of possibilities.

I recently participated in (and won!) National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). My favorite time to write was at night. I have produced some of my best writing when it is dark out. By contrast, trying to craft coherent sentences in the early morning hours is a fruitless endeavor.

How to Work in a Morning Person’s World

So, how do night owls adapt to a morning person’s world? For me, I have been lucky enough to leave the corporate world and focus on building my own business endeavors. I am less tired than I used to be and happier because I can often set a sleep schedule that is more in line with what my body craves. But not everyone is in a position where they can work for themselves.

For business owners, I think offering flexible work schedules, when possible, is a good start. If you have an office where most people work a schedule that requires an early morning start, ask yourself if it is necessary to have everyone there at an early hour. Staggering start times has its advantages beyond accommodating night owls. You can keep your office open longer hours because not everyone will be gone by 5 p.m. Also, to the seminar planners out there, I would not mind having a few seminars in the afternoon rather than all these early morning times.

Night owls, how do you cope with being in a morning person’s world?