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Employee Engagement Tops the List of 2017 HR Trends

Employee Engagement Tops the List of 2017 HR Trends

By: Catherine Conlan

After a big hiring year in 2016, many HR managers say they are turning their attention to employee retention. The reason: all that recruiting work is wasted if the employees don’t stick around. 

Employee engagement will play a big role in the HR realm in 2017,” says Brad Stultz, human resources director at Totally Promotional, which custom prints promotional products in Coldwater, Ohio. “With record low unemployment rates continuing across the country, employees find themselves in a position to change career paths on a whim.”

To that end, here are the 2017 HR trends that HR managers envision.

Continuing Evolution of HR Analytics
“Looking ahead, technology will play a central role in helping employers make decisions both in the short and long term. We will continue to see an incremental shift to using sophisticated analytics to build HR strategy to benefit both the larger workforce and prioritize workforce development investments.”

-- Jewell Parkinson, head of human resources at SAP North America, Newtown Square, Pennsylvania

Continued Growth of Flexible Schedules
Flexible scheduling has been rising in popularity across all age ranges and I believe that in 2017 businesses will fully embrace it as a work perk. We offer all of our employees (Millennials in particular) flex scheduling and find that there are no downsides to this offering. We trust them to get their work done, and because of that relationship, they always get everything done and done well.”

-- Dana Case, director of operations at MyCorporation, Calabasas, California

Increased Use of Benefits for Retention
“An HR manager should closely review their benefits offerings to ensure they are in league with comparable competitors. The Millennial worker is drawn to the ancillary benefits that an employer may offer.”

-- Brad Stultz, human resources director, Totally Promotional, Coldwater, Ohio

Increased Communication of Mission and Culture
“Branding the employer culture from the start is the best way to recruit and retain top talent in a competitive global landscape. As Millennials shape the workforce, traditional items like bonuses and other perks don’t matter as much as fitting in with the employer culture and sharing a common vision. Your company must focus on their unique culture and deliberately shape it to stay relevant to top talent.”

-- Laura Platt, director of human resources for Spreadshirt U.S., Boston

Better Education about Total Rewards
“We have lots of long-term employees, and lots who are eligible to retire. We want to keep people who could be their replacements in the pipeline. We’ve been focusing on a total rewards approach and working hard to educate employees about things we offer, such as pension, tuition reimbursement to help them gain skills and knowledge to grow in their career -- and wellness initiatives.”

-- Mary Faulkner, head of talent, public sector water utility

More Transparent Communication
“I think in 2017 we're going to see a focus on having employees feel their voices are being heard. Town-hall-style meetings, fireside CEO chats and skip-level meetings will give employees ample chances to get their ideas pitched.  This will make employees feel valued regardless of position or seniority.

Keeping information communicated properly, including financials, will create a trust among employees and ownership, which will boost retention. For most companies, the days of high-level board room secrets are over.  Those companies who demonstrate transparency will have high employee retention rates.”

-- Greg Kuchcik, human resources director, Zeeto, San Diego

Increased Investment in Development
“Employers will retain recent new hires by increasing the investment in development activities.  Most employees want to stay with a company for many years, but will move if they don’t believe the company is truly invested in their future. Unfortunately, some companies reduce their investment in learning and staff development as turnover rates rise, but it may be necessary to take the opposite approach to increase employee retention.”

-- Michele McDermott, senior vice president of human resources, Assurance, Schaumburg, Illinois