Top 5 people challenges of 2018 and how to overcome them

2018 HR trends

This year is shaping up to be an interesting one for the HR industry. 2018 HR trends include the continuing rise of tools like LinkedIn Recruiter and Glassdoor that are making it easier than ever for headhunters to identify and take great employees. They provide unprecedented, uncomfortable and uncontrollable transparency into pay, culture and diversity.

In short, the 2018 workforce has more opportunity, and more power, than ever before. And companies are scrambling to keep up.

All of this might fill you with dread, but it fills me with hope. Change is never easy, but it is always necessary, and it’s only by understanding our biggest challenges, and working to solve them, that we can become the HR leaders we want to be and create the types of organizations we all want to work for.

I spend a lot of time talking to some of the most driven and successful HR leaders in the world. My goal is to understand their greatest challenges so that my firm can create software to help turn these challenges into opportunities.

In my experience, the following 2018 HR trends have the ability to become either major obstacles or major advantages:

1. The Gig Economy

TechTarget defines a gig economy as an environment in which temporary positions are common and organizations contract with independent workers for short-term engagements.

We’re seeing more people leave permanent employment for the world of freelancing, contracting and consulting. A study by Intuit predicted that by 2020, 40% of American workers would be independent contractors.

It’s easy to see the appeal. Not only do these roles offer greater flexibility and better pay, they’re also a great way to acquire new skills and broaden your experience.

Turn it to your advantage

If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em! We’re working with a number of clients to create internal gig marketplaces that allow employees to take on gigs and projects without leaving the company. This allows them to stretch their abilities, develop new skills and try out new jobs, without leaving your organization. It’s win-win.

Creating a technology platform that fosters intrapreneurship and encourages internal mobility means that your company will lose fewer employees to the gig economy. People who move internally are less likely to leave the organization because they’re able to learn, grow and increase their earning potential at a company they already know and feel valued by.

IBM is a great example of a large corporate that is making the gig economy work for itself. I highly recommend reading this article if you’re looking for some inspiration.

To learn more about how vi can help you overcome the gig economy challenge, take a look at our solution overview.

2. Employee Integration

One of the biggest reasons people leave a company is because they never really felt part of it in the first place. I discussed the link between employee integration and retention in detail recently, so I won’t go into too much detail here, but the essence of it is that you need to show your employees that you care about them before you can expect them to care about your organization.

Turn it to your advantage

Fail to plan and you plan to fail! Putting your employees through a generic, mid-numbing week of orientation and onboarding, and then forgetting about them and hoping they’ll stay is not a good plan. Putting the entire burden of integrating a new employee onto their line manager isn’t a good plan either.

Creating a repeatable, easy-to-follow employee integration process that involves several people across the business is a good plan.

A successful employee integration program doesn’t require a whole lot of time from any one person. Rather, it requires small chunks of time from a lot of people. It’s totally do-able.

A good employee integration program may include the following:

  • Connecting employees with mentors and coaches who can provide guidance and support. In the case of senior hires, a peer liaison is a great resource for learning how to deal with key stakeholders and highlighting any unspoken rules.
  • Ensuring that the relevant people make time to introduce themselves to the new hire, ideally in person or over the phone.
  • Scheduling regular coffee breaks with co-workers to help the new recruit build relationships.
  • Inviting new recruits and their partner out to lunch or dinner with senior stakeholders.
  • Ensuring they’re invited to join relevant interest groups, as well as any diversity and inclusion committees.

Making time to schedule these activities shows that your organization really cares – something that’s really important to millennials in particular.

The challenge lies in getting everyone to prioritize and actually complete the integrations tasks that have been assigned to them.

Of course, the key to ensuring the adoption of any new process is to make as simple as possible. The more complicated and time consuming it is, the less inclined people will be to follow it.

We help HR teams implement and measure employee integration programs by automating much of the process. To learn more about how viGlobal can help you overcome the employee integration challenge, take a look at our solution overview.

3. Employee retention

Employee retention is really an extension of employee engagement – proof that organizations should never stop looking after their employees.

As we have already seen, it has never been easier for employees to find greener pastures. Platforms like LinkedIn and CareerBuilder mean that your people – especially the younger generations – are continuously being approached by recruiters from competing firms. A study by LinkedIn found that, while people who graduated high school between 1986 and 1990 worked for an average of 1.6 companies in the five years after they graduated, that number had doubled to 2.85 firms for those who graduated between 2006 and 2010.

And it’s not just about money. Today’s employees are looking for recognition, meaning, and a healthy work/life balance.  Any good employee retention program should cover these basics.

Turn it to your advantage

Show them you care. Your employee retention strategy should follow the same vein as your integration strategy. Once a recruit has completed their integration program, they fall into a retention program that may offer the following:

  • Regular 360° feedback sessions
  • A gym or wellness program subscription
  • Annual access to a coach or training program
  • Quarterly dinner invitations for the employee and their partner

We work with a number of organizations to help them automate the management of their retention strategies, here’s how.

4. Identifying and keeping top performers

High performers are an interesting group – they’re capable, confident and play a huge role in boosting the productivity and morale of those around them.

So why are they so hard to spot?

Sometimes it’s because companies don’t actually know what makes a high performer. Sometimes it’s because their managers don’t acknowledge them because they feel threatened by them. Either way, when high performers don’t get the recognition they deserve, they leave.

Too many companies lose these great people because they don’t have a plan for identifying and keeping them.

Turn it to your advantage

Imagine the competitive advantage to your business if you could identify and retain the top 10% of your workforce. Imagine how much you could reduce recruitment spend!

We have created a solution that is proven to help companies identify their top performers. The solution uses a carefully developed algorithm to unearth the true value of each employee, providing a much wider view than that presented by performance reviews and line managers. These employees can then be put into an accelerated or aggressive retention program to ensure they stay put.

Here’s how vi can help you identify and retain your top 10%.

5. Diversity and inclusion

If it’s not measured, it’s not managed. Most industries are doing well when it comes to understanding the value of a diverse workforce. I work with several law firms, for example, who invest heavily in scholarships and summer associate programs that are designed to welcome diverse employees.

Unfortunately, things can get difficult when diverse candidates actually join the business. Creating a diverse and welcoming company culture isn’t easy, especially in established organizations. And measuring the success of a diversity and inclusion program is difficult.

Turn it to your advantage

The key to building a truly diverse business, is to make sure that you understand each group of employees so that you can nurture them and make them feel valued.

How well are your diverse employees integrating and performing compared to their non-diverse peers? Are diverse employee attrition rates higher in certain teams or offices? Are they able to perform at the same rate as non-diverse employees?

The ability to monitor the health, happiness and productivity of diverse employees will enable your team to identify trends, overcome challenges and build a more effective – and profitable – workforce.

Here’s how we can help you manage diversity and inclusion.

Obstacle or advantage? It’s up to you

The HR industry is in an exciting space.

I hope that this article will help you see that all the obstacles you face can, with technology, be turned to your advantage.

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