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Top 10 HR priorities for 2017

Posted by Huy Tran on

The 2017 Deloitte’s Global Human Capital Trends Report highlights the top priorities that the HR function should be focusing on in the context of ever-changing technology and business landscape. The annual report, now in its fifth year, collects responses from more than 10,400 business and HR leaders from companies of all sizes and industries around the world.

The 2017 report ranks the key areas in human capital and talent management by importance, based on the percentage of total responses. What is more important, though, is what HR professionals should do to address such challenges. 

The Top 10 HR priorities for 2017The Top 10 HR priorities for 2017

Priority #1: Organisation of the future

Most executives find organisational redesign the top priority. 88% of respondents rated this challenge as important or very important. The report notes that high-performing organisations of the future are those favour agility, where traditional hierarchies are replaced with networks of empowered teams.

Priority #2: Careers and learning

As companies continue to see a rising need for their employees to obtain new skills, executives identified careers and learning the second most urgent priority, with 83% said this area is important or very important to their organisations. The changing nature of the 21st-century organisation has created new sets of jobs and skills. Consequently, the HR function should create an “always-on” learning environment, where employees are encouraged to learn new skills easily and on their own terms.

Priority #3: Talent acquisition                                          

81% of respondents considered finding and recruiting the right talent important or very important. And because of the emerging new jobs and skills, companies need to change the ways they look for and attract people. Leading organisations are employing new tools, such as social networks, to find the right talent. They also rely more on technologies, most notably analytics and cognitive tests, to better determine who best fit their organisations.

Read more: What are the better alternatives to traditional job interviews?

Determine who best fit their organisations

Priority #4: Employee experience

Companies are increasingly using NPS (net promoter scores) to gauge the employee experience, which is identified as important or very important by 79% of business and HR leaders. More important, leading organisations aim to engage their employees at every point of the employee journey. In essence, HR professionals are now expected to pay a closer attention to the culture and engagement aspects.

Priority #5: Performance management

For years, companies have relied on the appraisal to assess the performance of their employees. Conversely, new approaches focus more on continuous feedback and coaching. These approaches are still in the early stages of adoption, but they are proved to be effective. The biggest obstacle seems to be the lack of new technologies to support the new approaches.

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Priority #6: Leadership disruption

Changes in the business landscape, technology, and organisational design will inevitably lead to changes in leadership. Business and HR executives are looking for younger, more diverse and tech-savvy leaders who can navigate their organisations in today’s globalised and digitalised world. The report acknowledges that the leadership development industry is still having a hard time, but that does not prevent companies from experimenting with new leadership models.

Learn more: Leadership in a globalised world – A special report

Priority #7: Digital HR

73% of respondents agreed that a digitalised HR function is important or very important. HR professionals should not only actively adopt new digital tools but also play a leading role in transforming their organisations into digital workplaces. That is, the HR function must be able to change how employees perform their tasks and work with each other through the deployment of new technologies.

Priority #8: People analytics

Big data and data analytics are two of the most common business buzzwords. For the HR function, people analytics has become an integral part of talent management. It is partly driven by the availability of modern, self-service data analytics software. HR professionals can use such software to support their decisions without the need for data specialists. Still, there are roadblocks to successful implementation of people analytics. Most organisations have not had access to usable data or figured out what factors they need to monitor.

Priority #9: Diversity and inclusion

The report emphasises the importance of CEOs’ direct involvement in diversity strategies. Such issues must not be the sole responsibility of HR leaders. Training and education still play the central roles in promoting diversity and inclusion. Nevertheless, there is a reality gap and this priority will continue to be a challenge for most organisations.

Priority #10: The augmented workforce

The workforce of today’s organisations consists of not only full-time but also freelancers and gig economy workers. The line between on- and off-balance-sheet employees is getting blurred by the introduction of advanced software and other technologies. 41% of respondents of this year’s survey have been adopting cognitive and AI technologies.

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