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How HR is Changing in 2017: What You Need to Know

Think about how different an office environment is today than it was in the 1950s. Even if you weren’t around to see it, you probably know that once upon a time workplace cultures were much different. It’s difficult to notice on a day-to-day basis, but workplaces are still evolving, and HR professionals have to keep up if they want to attract new employees, improve workplace morale and create a stronger culture overall. Adaptability is an essential trait for anyone involved in HR, so learn how HR is changing before you implement your own changes.

Culture Counts

Millennials aren’t the newbies in the office anymore. The oldest members of this generation are in their 30s, and they are increasingly taking on leadership positions at companies. As this generation establishes itself, it is changing what it means to go to work every day.

Workplaces are increasingly asking employees what activities inside and outside of the office appeal to them. Work kickball teams, scavenger hunts and spontaneous trips to breweries are becoming commonplace. While previous generations asked, “When will this week be over?” Millennials instead ask, “Why should work be something we despise?” Many employees aren’t even coming into the office anymore, instead working remotely from a different city or state. If you find the right talent, it can be worth altering what you consider a typical workday for them.

HR Gets Competitive

Marketing teams work to entice customers and create a positive experience with the brand. Today, HR is taking the same approach to impress potential and current employees. The reality is that one company’s HR department is competing against every other HR team for employees. Keep employees satisfied, loyal and committed to their duties at work. Company culture is one piece of the puzzle, but so is open communication.

Websites such as Glassdoor have made employees’ experiences with a company public knowledge. It is no longer possible to cover up a toxic workplace, and it only takes a few bad online reviews to deter top talent from applying for a position at a company. Word of mouth is a powerful motivator, so ensure that people are saying good things about your company.

Frequent Feedback

While some companies maintain annual reviews to go over an employee’s strengths and weaknesses, more frequent reviews are becoming common. Social media is all around us, and it has led to a culture of instant responses and feedback.

You can still set up annual reviews to go over expectations for the upcoming year, but meet with employees at intervals between these meetings. Talk to your team members about their growth and room for improvement on a weekly or even daily basis, and you’re likely to see improved performance as they take their feedback to heart.


Increasing amounts of data have affected every part of our lives, and the world of HR is no exception. There are many types of software that analyze work factors such as employee morale, workplace performance and statistics about the company as a whole. This data is often available in real time and easily accessible by a company’s leadership team.

While there are many benefits to people analytics, there are some downsides as well. While the data may help teams implement new and improved policies, some people might feel like it does more harm than good because they must sacrifice some of their privacy. The key to using data responsibly is being clear with your employees about what it is being used for. Transparency goes a long way when it comes to employee trust, so don’t be afraid to explain the reasoning behind your decisions.

It’s clear that HR is changing quickly, and the companies that experience the most success are the ones that can keep up with employee expectations. Whether you’re a Millennial or not, these changes are making work a more laid back, enjoyable and productive place to be. You might think that equates to a decrease in productivity, but happy employees are motivated employees.


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