CHELMSFORD, Mass.,

Following its annual December board of advisors meeting, The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated identified the top trends that will impact the global workforce in 2017. Board members also recorded videos of personal predictions that they believe will shape human capital management (HCM) and workforce management this year.

Top Workplace Trends for 2017

  1. The year of the middle manager: Organizations spend a lot of time and money at the top developing a strategic vision, while human resources remains focused on engaging employees. Yet organizations often neglect the tip of the spear: their middle managers. Managers have the greatest impact on overall company performance, for better or for worse. It is often said that employees join companies, but leave managers. 2017 will see a renewed focus on giving people managers – many of whom are Millennials managing for the first time – the skills, abilities, tools, and technologies needed to develop connections with their employees, nurture top talent, and execute the organization’s vision on the front lines. Organizations should also consider developing manager onboarding programs to set new people managers up for success while providing avenues for employees to give feedback about their manager to ensure leadership practices are in line with the organization’s values. 
  2. Focus on the employee experience to drive engagement: Leading companies work hard to deliver a superior customer experience to attract, engage, retain, and cultivate brand champions. Organizations will apply a similar lens to their workforces, looking for ways to make the employee experience easier, rewarding, more transparent, and professionally fulfilling. Which benefits matter most to employees? What technologies, trainings, and processes can help workers succeed without suffering burnout? How can the performance evaluation process be enhanced to provide real-time feedback for employees – both salaried and hourly workers – while relieving overbearing processes for managers? Unfortunately, data suggests that most organizations spend more on recruiting new talent than developing the top talent they have. To create an engaging employee experience, resources must be added, dollars must be spent, and managers must be all in.
  3. Legislative and economic uncertainty reigns supreme, imposing the need for increased agility: To say the global economy is in flux is an understatement. We saw a U.S. Presidential election like the world has never seen before. The Brexit impact on the European Union is unknown. Key political elections will take place in 2017 throughout Asia and Europe. Countries, counties, and cities continue to enact ever-evolving labor laws, such as the Wage Code Bill in India, National Living Wage in the U.K., and the currently-stalled U.S. FLSA overtime proposal. Major changes that will impact the workforce are no-doubt forthcoming, while macroeconomic variables will affect hiring around the world. Organizations – with HR caught in the middle – will need to react with agility to keep pace with new legislation, interpret laws appropriately, and continue to retain top workers while remaining compliant.
  4. People data for analytics will help solve meaningful problems: The big data movement has left many organizations drowning in a sea of metrics. By 2020, IDC estimates that about 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second of every day for every human. You can measure anything, but if you measure everything and aim for “heroic analytics,” you are likely to end up with more questions than answers. Technology will enable organizations to look more closely into the workforce data they already capture – i.e. people data – to make better employee and business decisions that solve challenges related to turnover, retention, engagement, customer and patient satisfaction, and productivity. 
  5. Organizations climb higher on the human capital management (HCM) maturity curve by demanding more from technology: The human resources function has evolved from the transaction-driven personnel department of decades past into a strategic business partner thanks to a growing foundation of data-driven practices. However, many HR leaders still spend more than a third of their time on manual tasks, have limited insight into the entire business, and are continually inundated by basic employee FAQs. Wide adoption of SaaS has brought more sophisticated HCM solutions to organizations large and small alike, and HR leaders will now demand more from technology to deliver better recruiting, retention, talent management, collaboration, and onboarding solutions with prescriptive insights and enhanced self-service features that drive a better employee experience.

The Workforce Institute at Kronos Board Members

  • The Workforce Institute’s board members are: David Almeda, chief people officer of Kronos Incorporated; Veronica Baz, founder of profesionistas.org.mx and former general director of the Center of Research for Development (CIDAC) in Mexico; Natalie Bickford, group HR director at Merlin Entertainments; Bob Clements, senior vice president at Axsium Group; David Creelman, CEO of Creelman Research; China Gorman, a human capital management consultant, speaker, and writer who is former CEO of the Great Place to Work® Institute and former COO of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM); John Hollon, award-winning journalist and nationally recognized expert on leadership, talent management, and smart workforce practices; Sharlyn Lauby, The HR Bartender and president of ITM Group, Inc.; Joyce Maroney, director of The Workforce Institute at Kronos; Jeanne C. Meister, founding partner of Future Workplace and best-selling author; Dennis Miller, chief employment officer at Cal Poly Pomona Foundation; Neil Reichenberg, executive director of IPMA-HR; Dan Schawbel, best-selling author and partner and research director at Future Workplace; and Mark Wales, vice president of workforce management.

Supporting Resources

About The Workforce Institute at Kronos

The Workforce Institute provides research and education on critical workplace issues facing organizations around the globe. By bringing together thought leaders, The Workforce Institute is uniquely positioned to empower organizations with the knowledge and information they need to manage their workforce effectively and provide a voice for employees on important workplace issues. A hallmark of The Workforce Institute’s research is balancing the needs and desires of diverse employee populations with the needs of organizations. For additional information, visit www.workforceinstitute.org.

About Kronos Incorporated

Kronos is a leading provider of workforce management and human capital management cloud solutions. Kronos industry-centric workforce applications are purpose-built for businesses, healthcare providers, educational institutions, and government agencies of all sizes. Tens of thousands of organizations — including half of the Fortune 1000® — and more than 40 million people in over 100 countries use Kronos every day. Visit www.kronos.com. Kronos: Workforce Innovation That Works™.

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