SilkRoad recently published its “2017 State of Talent” report examining more than 1,300 responses to surveys targeting HR professionals. The report forecasts the top talent trends for 2017, and a consistent theme emerged: the growing practice of moving beyond traditional talent management activities to create an employee journey that attracts and motivates talent to achieve better business outcomes. This process is known as talent activation.
Five talent trends emerged to form the foundation of the shift to talent activation:
1. HR creates amazing candidate and employee experiences
It’s the year of a deeper look at how to engage the hearts and minds of employees from recruiting and onboarding through retirement. By exploring how to present the employer brand and culture in the most compelling way, companies will gain a competitive advantage in both attracting candidates and retaining employees.
Looking specifically at onboarding, respondents clearly understand its importance, but expressed a desire for improvements in their onboarding process, including:
- Improving new hire time to competency (56%)
- Increasing new hire engagement (51%)
- Increasing new hire retention (47%)
- Improving organizational culture (43%)
2. Companies excite employees, engaging their interest and motivating around goals
Surveyed HR pros reported significant challenges with engagement, and it’s time for a new approach—formal assessments of what candidates and employees experience. By enhancing experiences, HR professionals gain an opportunity to go beyond engagement and “activate” employees with a highly proactive approach. Some ways HR pros are improving the employee experience include:
- Connect business goals to personal goals – there should be a connection between what the business is trying to achieve and what the employee is working on in their day-to-day life
- Communicate early and often – make it a point to keep employees up to date on customer feedback, project completion dates, departmental reporting, etc.
- Leverage the power of appreciation – sometimes just a simple “thank you” can go a long way, but also consider rewards such as a free lunch, a gift card to a restaurant or tickets to an event
- Maintain realistic workloads —when employees have too much to handle, they focus on juggling everything rather than big picture objectives
- Plan social outings/events – build relationships through fun activities outside of the office
3. Agile performance management blends with traditional programs
While traditional performance management programs remain deeply embedded in many companies, interest in creating a more fluid and immediate process continues to grow. Expect to see more frequent conversations, real-time feedback and team-based conversations. When asked if they were moving towards agile performance in 2017, many HR pros reported the transition was already underway:
- 33% are at an early stage considering what to add
- 31% have integrated some elements
- 10% are fully agile
- 63% plan to have more frequent conversations between employees and managers
4. The workforce and business outcomes become more tightly aligned
The exploration and analysis of the candidate and employee experience will uncover key connection points between the workforce and company goals. By formally assessing “experiences,” HR will find the best moments for strategic connections to impact business results. Interestingly, there’s a disconnect between valuing and measuring experience:
- 71% of respondents rated assessing experience at each career stage as very important or important, but 59% conduct no formal annual assessments of experience at different stages
- 86% rated connecting experiences back to company goals as very important or important, but 56% have no annual process that links experiences to goals
5. “Appification” helps HR teams build solutions that best meet their needs
There’s currently a technology disconnect between workforce and business goals:
- 74% of respondents agree or strongly agree with the statement “HR tech reduces costs, increases productivity, simplifies and reduces time spent on HR tasks”
- 6% neither agreed nor disagreed, and 15% of respondents disagreed or strongly disagreed with the statement “HR Tech provides metrics that show how people are impacting company goals”
As “app-based” solutions become more available, companies will be able to pick and choose from smaller apps to build what works best for the organization. These solutions will also include easy connections for custom-built micro apps. Appification will help employees quickly access tasks and tools they need to perform their job, enabling organizations to deliver a more consumer-friendly employee experience.
What’s clear from these trends is that organizations intend to say goodbye to a traditional talent management approach focused on processes and transactions and welcome in a talent activation approach that treats each stage of employment as a single fluid experience designed to assist employees throughout their journey.