When you’re up to your neck dealing with new overtime rules, more regulation for reporting workplace-related injuries and illnesses, and minimum wage increase, it can be difficult to innovate. How many of the key HR trends for 2016 (the gig economy, improving employee experience, more data and analytics) did you get the chance to work on? As a result, we asked a range of experts to tell us the HR trends for 2017 that they think will realistically affect businesses.

Here industry experts from the business and technology world tell us what they think will be the top HR trends for 2017.

Matt Alder, Recruitment Advisor and Host of The Recruiting Future podcast

Predictive analytics in the hiring process

2017 will see:

  • A growing focus on digital transformation as companies continue to rapidly evolve as their markets are disrupted. The focus is both on how HR transforms itself and how it supports the digital transformation of the wider business in terms of recruitment, organizational design, people development, engagement and retention.
  • The continuing growth and development of people analytics and the continuing reinvention of assessment in recruiting with further moves towards predictive analytics for hiring.
  • More clarity round the role of artificial intelligence and machine learning in HR that goes behind the surface level marketing spin we saw in 2016.

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Jeremy Ames, CEO @HiveTechHR

HR will either invite or incite the Bots

To be clear, the “trend” is the increase of bots in the world of HR. I’m referring specifically at this point to chatbots, which will transition from a 2016 buzz phrase to more of a reality in 2017. Don’t worry, we’re not at robots yet (in HR, anyway). In fact, real artificial intelligence constitutes a larger percentage of the workforce than us, so you should still be proud to be a human being. However, some interesting technologies are going to become available in 2017, some of which were demonstrated at HR technology conferences this Fall.

As they become more widely available, HR Departments are either going to welcome them as a way to take away some administrative burden, or shun them.

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Steve Browne, Executive Director of HR at LaRosa’s Pizzeria

Better use of data for specific HR challenges

In 2017, HR will have to move past knowing that we need to use data and analytics, to seeing how to effectively utilize them. We tend to use data as a driver when it actually lags. We need to ask the right questions in what we’re doing and then use data to either prove our approach is working or it isn’t. We need to use data effectively and not just get on the Big Data bandwagon as a catchphrase. These are business metrics and not just HR metrics.

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Adriano Corso, Recruitment and Marketing Consultant at IBM Smarter Workforce

The rise of recruitment marketing

We’ve been through a huge shift in recruitment in the last couple of years, mostly due to the rise of social media, automation, AI and gamification. Companies have now started to understand how important it is to have a different approach in their talent attraction strategy. I believe that there will be three main aspects that will influence significantly the HR world in 2017, all of which are connected to each other.

1.The first one is employer branding and EVP (employee value proposition). Having a strong brand has an influence on people’s decision to work for a certain company. Data shows that salary is not a key factor for changing jobs anymore.

2. The second trend is definitely the rise of recruitment marketing as an official discipline, despite widespread skepticism among leaders. Recruitment marketing is not about automating everything and reducing the workforce. But it is about increasing the effectiveness of the standard recruitment approach using consumer-marketing strategies, tactics, and approaches to more effectively “market” organizations and employment opportunities to potential candidates. The inbound process in sales or in marketing is the way to increase brand awareness, engage, and generate conversion by giving high-value contents: feeding the audience with what they are looking for, without being only brand driven. The main goal is to provide the best customer experience. Customer experience and the candidate one are not much different, yet there is a huge gap between the marketing and recruitment departments. A company that is able to adapt these techniques in their recruitment efforts and reduce the gap between the two departments will provide a better candidate experience, empower their employer brand, and reduce recruiting costs and time.

3. The third trend I see is using gamification aspects as a way to engage passive candidates. As part of talent attraction marketing, gamification could significantly help not only to reduce the time of screening but also providing an innovative candidate experience.

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Norbert Erts, Cofounder at CakeHR

Changing structures of HR departments

Among many other trends and predictions for 2017 (AI, sensors, robotics becoming mainstream and as the other extreme – humanizing work-life), I’d like to mention the structure of organizations. Although the top-down hierarchical management system is still widely used, many organizations are instead opting for a network of teams. At Spotify, for example, the smallest grouping unit (they have approximately 30 squads which include around 250 people) behaves like a lean startup in its own right.

Traditionally, jobs were organized by role – HR people worked with HR people; IT people with IT. But in a “new workplace” people have more-defined jobs and they moving from project to project, instead of always working in a specific team.

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Greg Savage, Recruitment and Leadership Consultant

Recruiting gets social

My top HR trends for 2017 are:

  • A refocus on candidate experience through the hiring process
  • Continued skills shortages
  • Evolving candidate behaviors away from job boards and more via social and recommendation
  • The importance of employer brand (because of the item above)
  • Video in the recruitment process
  • AI in screening
  • Automated marketing, big data and predictive analytics

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Kamil Wojewoda, Co-Founder at Calamari

Talent management
Talent management is still is one of the hottest areas of HR and in 2017, it is going to grow even more. Modern companies are focused on hiring talented people and keeping them happy by providing an environment that is motivating and focuses on self-improvement. Modern HR already has ditched conventional 360-degree reviews, in favor of more efficient day-to-day management and communication.

Automation will rule 2017

Technology allows HR to automate processes and eliminate many of the administrative processes that hurt HR professionals for years. Automation should be a focus for HR solution providers. Innovative bots provide a layer of humanity in technology, meaning that talking with the HR system could become almost like talking with your colleague from the HR department.

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Matt Straz, CEO and Founder of Namely

Integrated HR systems

One of the biggest trends I see for 2017 is the rise of integrated HR systems. Today’s HR administrators are data-driven, technology-natives looking for HR software that not only handles administrative tasks, but allows them to make a strategic impact on their organization. Right now, the average mid-size company uses nine different HR applications to get the data they need. More often than not, they want to find best-of-breed applications à la carte and integrate them to create the HR technology stack best suited for their company. The problem is that syncing data between multiple systems was almost impossible.

To meet this new standard, vendors are evolving their technologies. Historically, vendors built closed platforms, hoping companies would use them for all their HR needs. In the past few months, more and more HR technology vendors, including Namely, have announced open APIs and new partners. Namely, for example, recently announced our enhanced API and partner ecosystem which grew 6X in the last year. As more vendors follow suit, HR teams will finally have access to everything they need to succeed.

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What are your top HR trends for 2017?

These are what our experts think will be the top HR trends for 2017, but we’d love to hear what you think. Drop us a line in the comments below or let me know on Twitter what you think will make an impact.

If you’re ready to invest in some HR software to make this happen, we have some resources to help: