Top 10 Global Human Capital Trends for 2015 | Part 1

March 27, 2015

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Deloitte University Press has released their Guide to Global Human Capital Trends for 2015. This is research based on interviews and surveys involving over 3,300 businesses and HR leaders from over 100 countries, asking HR leaders to determine the talent challenges their organizations face, and to assess their preparedness to meet these challenges. Each of these trends correlate with capability gaps - specific ones that would benefit from prioritization. This year, “softer” areas such as culture and engagement are becoming more prevalent priorities, involving revamping entire strategy to adhere to new needs. Here is part 1 of 2, of the top 10 global human capital trends for 2015.

10. People data everywhere: Bringing the outside in

While it is last on the list, 52% of the survey respondents see using people data as important. This involves pulling data and information from social media, personal profiles, activities, discussions, and whatever else people engage in online. Companies are leveraging this data to their advantage, in any way they can. This isn’t news to us anymore - it’s become common knowledge that advertisers and corporations are targeting us based on our online activity. We volunteer more than an adequate amount of information online, including contact info, age, marital status, location, personal opinions, hobbies, job history, and even places we have recently visited. All of this information can be leveraged by organizations to target you as a potential customer. There are now companies who offer tools and services that help pull and leverage people data. Some examples of these are,, These organizations provide HR professionals with the tools they need to navigate through the people data they have access to. You can also collaborate with companies like Facebook and LinkedIn to capitalize off of people data that they have collected.

9. Machines as talent

Nearly 60% of business leaders who responded to the survey named “machines as talent” as a very important problem. This is the turn-of-the-century problem of technology putting people out of jobs. Things like voice recognition technology, automated email, and robots are taking the place of people in some fields of work. Technology definitely has its place in the work environment, if it is used to supplement, instead of replace. The idea here is to work towards collaboration between technology and workers, not competition. Workers from various fields, including healthcare, sales, and even retail, benefit from the assistance of machines and technology - without it, these industries would not operate as smoothly as they do. Don’t turn your back on these technologies in fear. Such technologies have the potential to increase efficiency and productivity, but only if you select the right ones. Dig deep into your company, see what is and isn’t working, and explore how cognitive technology may fill any skill gaps.

8. Simplification of work

Data show that employees are becoming overwhelmed by the complexity of the workplace. This is largely due to the fact that social media, along with all other technologies that have become integrated into the workplace are not only addictive, but they carry over into our home life.Today’s average employee spends over a quarter of an entire workday dealing with emails, and we don’t stop receiving emails just because we’ve left the office. Thanks to smartphones, we can see immediately when emails come in, and what they are regarding, even at home. It’s difficult to ignore a work problem, urgent or not, when it’s burning a hole in your pocket. Consider this - The National Journal reported that 40% of the working population believe that it is impossible to succeed at work, and have quality time to spend at home with family and friends. It’s daunting to think that almost half of all workers don’t believe they can find a balance between home and work. The solution is to simplify, and reduce the “clutter” of the workplace. There are simple steps that can be taken to do this - some corporations are testing them out already. For example, cut the use of emails on evenings and weekends. If the emails aren’t coming in, you can’t read them. Find simpler applications to use - ones that don’t require as much training, and that have less steps. Coca-Cola recently eliminated voicemail altogether, in an effort to reduce stress, and simplify. Google has implemented an email guideline, to ensure that all emails are productive, in order to reduce the clutter of our inbox. It’s easier said than done, but if these changes become ingrained into your company culture, it will make the transition a group effort instead of an individual one.

7. HR and People Analytics

75% of companies surveyed named HR and people analytics as important. This entails knowing and comprehending all facets of the workforce, which has slowly become a race to gain a competitive edge over competing organizations. The key finding is that HR is not a stand-alone facet - it is deeply tied to business strategy - data-driven decisions will thus be an emerging by-product. Data can really be used as an advantage in all aspects of the workplace, and if used correctly, the data driven by people analytics can seriously increase ROI (Return on Investment). There are many areas of your organization where people analytics can be applied, a few of which we will list here. First, if you can understand why employees leave your company, you can monitor common trends, and better predict which types of individuals are likely to stay. Tied to the topic of employee retention, analytics can also be used to engage employees. Knowing what your organization’s strengths and weaknesses are, based on the people that work there, will allow you to fill the gaps that exist, and fix your soft spots. Lastly, analytics can be used to filter through potential new-hires, to find the ones best fit for the job.

6. Performance management

Performance management is used to engage employees and drive results. This year, 75% (compared to last years 68%) of survey respondents ranked performance management as important. There has been a shift in focus in recent years, away from standard evaluations and towards coaching, feedback, and overall development. This is a result of young professionals (i.e. millennials) emerging in the workforce, who want steady feedback and advice. They want to know what they’re doing right, what they’re doing wrong, where they can improve, and how. A key element in changing performance management for the better is training managers to be mentors, and to offer guidance, rather than just administer evaluation results. Also important, is cleaning up your current performance management system - some things may be out of date, so update them. Create an interactive space, as opposed to having a one way feedback model. Encourage ideas and input about performance management from all levels of the company. Additionally, providing incentives here and there wouldn’t hurt either.

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