Things change at the speed of light these days.
And as recruitment and HR professionals, it’s absolutely vital that we can keep up.
So this week, I’ve put together a list of what I think are the five most important trends affecting recruiters, HR professionals and managers today.
1. “The Gig Economy”
Now, I’m sure you’ll have heard this phrase bandied around over the last couple of years.
But what exactly does it mean? And how will it affect you?
“The Gig Economy” is a term used to describe the fact that more and more companies these days are choosing to hire staff on a temporary, contract and/or freelance basis, rather than as full-time employees. People are hired for short term “gigs” rather than permanent positions.
There are differing opinions on whether “the gig economy” is a good or bad thing.
Some say that it’s great for workers because it offers flexibility and the opportunity to choose what kind of lifestyle they want to lead. Others feel that it’s exploitative because such workers have very little in the way of rights and are often left at the mercy of their employers.
So what does that mean for you?
There are numerous benefits to adopting the gig economy mind set. You could…
- Save money on recruitment. There are many sites out there which advertise freelancers, contractors and temporary staff members.
- Save money by hiring temporary workers. Instead of having to hire full-time staff, you could hire people for brief periods of time, as and when needed.
- Hire remote workers. Because of technological advances, you can pretty much hire anyone, anywhere, to do tasks for you, making it easier and cheaper.
Some of the downsides are:
- They are temporary workers. So, you will find yourself having to recruit more often.
- It can make sourcing harder. The fact that there are so many temporary workers out there will make it more difficult to sift through and find and attract the top talent.
- It’s competitive. Because there are so many opportunities out there for these workers, they can be a lot choosier and will often only go for companies that really impress them.
- It’s difficult to screen candidates. It’s more difficult to screen candidates from remote locations, particularly if they live abroad. This means there would also be less accountability.
To find out more about what this means for you, check out this article from Personnel Today: What does the gig economy mean for HR?
2. “Soft Skills”
A “soft skill” is basically a skill which you wouldn’t describe as “technical.”
So for example: leadership, self-motivation, teamwork, communication and collaboration.
They are often characteristics that will help people to work more efficiently and effectively in the workplace – and often have a lot to do with how they interact with other people.
Sure, you’re not likely to hire someone who has absolutely NO technical ability to do the job you are advertising, however, soft skills are still crucially important.
According to Caroline Beaton:
She “asked more than 100 top HR managers, recruiters and CEOs which was more important for entry-level job seekers, and nearly all of them said soft skills.”
Caroline goes on to describe attention, agility, humility, curiosity and commitment as some of the most important soft skills that people have to offer.
The point is; someone with soft skills like curiosity and commitment will thrive in any work environment and will take the time to learn and develop their skills.
However, someone who simply has “technical ability” may not and things like humility are much more difficult (if not impossible) to “teach” a person.
So how can you assess these kinds of skills?
There are a few key ways you can do this, some more difficult (and expensive) than others. Here are some examples:
- Ask targeted competency and behavioural questions during your interview.
- Set up some psychometric testing.
- Check with their referees!
Click on the respective links to find out more.
3. “The Candidate Experience”
We’ve been talking about “employer branding,” becoming an “employer of choice” and “the candidate experience” for years now. And things have massively changed already.
Using social media, a variety of technologies, quirky perks and incentive schemes, companies heavily focus on attracting candidates to their business, by looking like an amazing place to work.
Unfortunately, this has diluted the effectiveness of such strategies – with everyone striving to “be different,” everyone has become the same.
And that means that the usual quirky stunts, social media posts and content marketing (that many people now regard as spam) just don’t work as well anymore.
Thing is, power is shifting in the job candidate’s favour and therefore, they’re expecting a lot more from their employers.
Here are some of the things that are changing…
- Quirky perks (like games rooms) are losing their appeal.
- Interview brainteasers and weird interview tasks are becoming a thing of the past.
- Job candidates are much more cynical about email marketing and social media.
And in their place we will see a continued change towards a more personal, candidate-driven approach.
A candidate driven approach:
- Great recruiters will build solid relationships with their candidates, following up with every single one (personally) and proactively helping them to get the job.
- Solid incentives like share schemes and maternity/paternity leave and training opportunities will win candidates over.
- There will be much more of an emphasis on the ethics of a business. Candidates want to know they’re joining a company who care.
- Flexible working will become more and more popular.
- Glassdoor (and similar) will become much more influential to a candidate’s decision.
Basically, the entire employee experience, from the moment they apply to the day they leave will become even more important to every business.
4. “Smart HR Technology”
Obviously technology is always changing and year-upon-year recruiting (and everything else in the world) becomes easier and more automated because of this.
There is a tool for everything these days and we all tend to get a little bit over-excited by the latest gadget, tech and upgrade.
I think that this year things will settle and HR professionals will look towards building good, strong, integrated solutions that work together to improve their recruitment.
If you are not already, here are the big three you need to be focussing on:
1. Data Analysis
Data is everything these days.
And thanks to some brilliant advances in technology, we can now track the entire candidate journey from application to final decision and use this data to work out where the best candidates come from, if and where they drop off and ultimately, how to increase the chance of them accepting an offer!
We can also monitor an employee’s progress from day one to work out what motivates them, what kind of rewards they respond well to and when they are likely to perform best etc.
If there’s something you want to track, then there’s probably a technology out there to do it.
2. Social media.
If you’re not using social media to recruit yet, you need to get on it. It’s simple.
The truth is; if used properly, social media can improve your quality of job candidates, decrease your cost-per-hire and speed up your entire recruitment process.
On the subject of social media, there have been some major changes to LinkedIn recently – and it’s kind of left people reeling.
Check out this article on it: The NEW LinkedIn – Don’t read if you’re easily offended.
Seriously, if you’re easily offended by bad language and such, then this one’s definitely not for you!
Even if you’re not affected by the changes, you should consider how your potential candidates, employees and clients will be and adapt your processes with this in mind.
NB: video content is definitely going to be a huge thing this year, so have a think about YouTube, Instagram, Facebook Live and Snapchat and how you could go about using them!
You can pretty much automate everything these days – including data collection, analysis and social media! And actually, there are a lot of ways that you can make such automation appear less impersonal. “To whom it may concern” is a huge no-no.
This year, let’s all start using technology a little more smartly!
5. “Diversity” in the Workplace
I’m sure you’ve noticed the strong focus on increasing diversity in the workplace over the last few years – especially in tech – and that focus will continue in full force this year.
- It’s the right thing to do.
- Diverse workplaces are more creative and innovative.
- Diverse workplaces will yield a broader spectrum of ideas and initiatives.
- It improves the company’s reputation.
- It’s a legal requirement.
Diversity can be achieved in a number of ways, but essentially it’s all about encouraging equal opportunities in everything you do.
It’s also about embracing diversity and understanding that all people are different.
Not everyone will respond the same way to every situation, issue or person. You’re not hiring a “diverse” team and then creating a bunch of robots.
You want to welcome diversity and celebrate it. Check out this CIPD factsheet to find out more.
There are probably no really big shockers in there.
But there are certainly some changes afoot that we should all be aware of and developments that we should all be striving for.
Everyday things change (sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse), and it’s important to keep up with those changes as best you can.