Employee experience will be the lens HR leaders are looking through this year as organizations battle to attract and retain the best talent. Studies and industry experts are identifying trends within companies to improve employee success. In fact, The Active Job Seeker Dilemma study conducted by The Future Workplace and Beyond.com found that the majority companies see employee experience as important to their success and are investing more in training, improving work spaces, and giving more rewards. In addition, unemployment numbers are down nationally and it’s a candidate’s market again.

In response to the shift in balance and the focus on improving the employee experience, talent acquisition will likely undergo a complete overhaul in 2017. Josh Bersin, principal and founder of Bersin by Deloitte, predicts, “Almost every HR tech market will face disruption in 2017.” He told SHRM,  “The convergence of mobile computing, video, sensors, artificial intelligence is taking place simultaneously with an intense focus on employee engagement, culture, wellness and productivity.”

Creating a company culture that makes it easy to attract and retain talent, protecting and promoting a positive employer brand, and remaining ahead of the latest trends will help companies remain competitive in the scarce talent pool that exists today.

Trend #1. The influence of technology in HR

Artificial intelligence (AI) is a growing trend and a huge market across industries and functions within companies. When used in concert with personal connections, AI is finding its way into the HR ecosystem as a way to individualize and enrich the employee experience. AI is already making its way into the recruiting and interviewing process by identifying suitable candidates for job openings, helping HR professionals determine such intangibles as candidate empathy and engagement, and providing better background information about candidates.

For high-volume roles, recruiters receive more than 250 applications on average. In 2017, resume screening technology will get smarter, allowing recruiters to easily and accurately screen the resumes of past applicants for current, open positions.

In fact, a growing number of hiring firms are already leveraging immense amounts of data and AI to find out more information about candidates and using that information to determine if the employee will be a fit for specific roles and companies.

Beyond recruiting, organizations are using AI to make predictions on employee engagement and to create personalized professional development paths to increase employee satisfaction. Knowing which factors will make the biggest difference in employee engagement will help organizations retain the talent HR departments worked so hard to identify and recruit.

Trend #2: The full life cycle of employee experiences

The employee experience begins with the recruiting process and doesn’t end when an employee leaves your company. Now, more than ever, creating brand evangelists and positive alumni sentiment is crucial to protecting the employer brand. Employers of choice have recognized the need for creating engagement strategies that begin with recruiting and follow the employee even after they’ve left the company.

While most companies focus on the experiences employees have once they’re employees, many miss opportunities at the beginning of the relationship and at the end. Delivering a positive candidate engagement strategy is the first step to creating a compelling employee experience and an important aspect of constructing an employer brand that attracts the best talent. Once an employee is ready to leave the company, either voluntarily or involuntarily, companies have an opportunity to make that transition as smooth as possible and create positive sentiment among alumni employees.

Social media has created an atmosphere where candidates are empowered to share their impressions and feelings about your company during and after the hiring process. It’s more common for rejected candidates to reveal and discuss your hiring process publicly. Those companies that treat every candidate with respect and respond promptly, no matter the volume of applicants, will build the reputation as the type of company people want to join. Providing a positive candidate experience doesn’t just help with talent acquisition—it can make or break a brand.

The end of the employee relationship is as important as the beginning for employers looking to establish the company as an employer of choice. In the most difficult of situations, an employer is forced to restructure or downsize all or part of the organization in order to meet business goals. At that moment, forward looking HR departments need to be thinking about policies and practices to put in place to protect the employer brand and ensure that the organization will be able to attract the best talent in the future.

An obvious choice is to employ an outplacement provider to make sure your employees feel cared for and supported during their transitions to their next roles. In addition to outplacement, consider non-traditional solutions such as redeployment. Employing outplacement and redeployment services will help complete your employee experience strategy and create a positive beginning to beginning experience for your employees. Outplacement and redeployment solutions are effective solutions to building a better employer brand and creating a seamless positive employee experience while lowering costs and limiting legal liability.

Trend #3 Diversity across the workplace

According to a Glassdoor survey, two-thirds of active and passive job seekers said that a diverse workforce is an important factor when evaluating companies and job offers. Yet, diversity across U.S. workplaces is still lacking. Even leading companies like Google and Apple have acknowledged an imbalance of women and minorities. Although hiring trends for women have improved faster than trends for other underserved groups, equity is still evolving slowly.

Recruiting and talent teams will face growing scrutiny and challenges to find ways to create a diverse and balanced team within their organizations. For those companies that are successful, the benefits of having diverse opinions and experiences will give them an edge among their ever-diverse customers and prospects.

While hiring for diversity is challenging, recruiters of the future will be data driven, focused on the employee experience, and aware of the bottom line benefits of a diverse workforce. In 2017, recruiters will up the ante and rise to the challenge of increasing diversity across workplaces.

Trend #4 Talent rediscovery and career mobility

Forty percent of employers around the world now report having a hard time filling open positions with qualified candidates—the highest number since 2007. This shortage of talent ultimately translates into higher salaries and perks for in-demand job titles.

As a result, in 2017, engaging in purposeful redeployment of talent will help bridge the talent gap. Instead of participating in a series of layoffs and hirings, organizations will seek to retain their best talent by finding new jobs for them within the organization. Not only will these practices help companies keep scarce talent, it will save time and cut costs associated with recruiting, hiring, and onboarding.

Given the difficulty of filling open positions with qualified candidates, employers will be looking to the talented employees they already employ to fill open positions in different areas of the organization.

Trend #5 Mobile recruiting

 According to LinkedIn, 72% of active candidates have visited a company’s mobile site to learn about career opportunities and almost half (45%) of candidates have applied to a job via mobile. Surprisingly, the trend toward mobile job search has not translated to mobile recruiting. As the trend continues to grow, HR departments will have to rethink their recruiting models to embrace the mobile experience. As mobile engagement becomes critical to talent acquisition, organizations will have to make a bigger investment in mobile solutions in the year ahead.

Delivering a mobile experience will extent beyond creating a mobile careers page. Leading companies will begin to use emerging technologies, like AI and voice recognition to simplify the hiring process and improve the candidate and employee experience.

2017 will be a big year for recruiters and career transition coaches alike, as new technology designed with the job-seeker in mind continues to emerge. Improving the employee experience begins with the hiring process and continues through the exit of employees from one organization to another.

The changing recruiting and workplace ecosystems will create a fundamental shift for HR departments. How HR leaders approach these changes – either with fear or as an opportunity for growth and change will determine the success organizations will continue to have in an ever-competitive employer environment.

14 February 2017

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