HR trends for 2017

As we enter the fourth quarter of 2016, thoughts turn to the new year and how to best navigate HR in the coming months. Some things in HR never change, but it’s worth taking note of a few of the trends likely to be seen affecting HR in 2017 and beyond.

Keeping Employees Happy

Staff turnover is always a concern for HR, but in 2017, lowering attrition will be one of the top priorities for HR teams. Some key areas that will need to be addressed are engagement with employees and relevant skills training. Both of these areas will help to keep the workforce happy and less likely to look elsewhere for work. One way to increase engagement amongst employees is for companies to have more interaction with an employee’s family; introducing family days or running events where the whole family can come along is one way to increase happiness at work.

Health and Well-Being

In recent years the focus has shifted for HR, and accommodating employees’ work-life balance has become important. Work-life balance will continue to be important, but more focus will need to be shifted towards employee health and well-being. It is said that a healthy worker is a happy worker, and to maintain workplace happiness, an employee’s health must be seen as important to reduce absence and increase a positive workplace culture.

The Next Generation of Management

This year, 3.6 million company bosses are set to retire, and the younger generation of managers will get their opportunities to run companies. Millennial managers will have a willingness to try different approaches. Their open-mindedness, along with their tech-savviness, will likely bring drastic change to HR in 2017 and beyond.

Part-Time and Freelancers

Millennial workers are increasingly looking to have more control of their time and are less likely to take on full-time roles; they prefer part-time positions or working as freelancers. This brings added flexibility to the workforce but equally means that there is less stability, which will be a challenge for HR teams to manage.


It is predicted that half of the jobs available today will be taken over by robots and automation within 20 years. This is worrying for employees, as the threat of job losses increases every year, but automation can have a positive effect on the workforce too. By updating offices with automation, workers will have more flexibility and convenience in their workplace. Every sector is going to be affected by automation, and it’ll be down to the HR teams to manage the change effectively. Some job losses will be inevitable, but they will be replaced by different roles working with automation.

Digital Recruitment and Data

More and more, we’re seeing businesses turn to social media to recruit employees. Less money will be spent on job adverts in the coming years, as younger employers are well versed in using social media to find jobs. Data is more accessible than ever, and analysis of this data is becoming easier and cheaper. Recruitment will be less about employees’ references and honesty, as all data can be accessed almost instantly.

Over the next five years, HR teams will be facing a drastically changing work environment. Their purpose will no longer be based on finding the best employees, but a more overall strategic view of the company will be needed, placing people with the right skills into the right roles at the right time.