A Look Back at 2013 and Predictions for the Year Ahead

As many companies are still in the midst of their planning for 2014, there are a number of factors that will impact the way they hire new talent and manage their employees. As the HR space is constantly changing, with new ideas and technologies constantly cropping up, organizations need to identify how the latest developments can improve their talent management processes and figure out how they can be integrated into their current systems. But before looking into what 2014 may have in store, let’s take a look at how my predictions for 2013 held up:

Social networking and niche sourcing sites will become more mainstream.  
The number of industry-specific job sites that have emerged throughout the year validate the growing use among employers who leverage niche and social recruiting sites to more easily find candidates with the right skills and qualifications.

As seasons change, employees may stay on full-time.
A recent survey from CareerBuilder showed that 49 percent of retailers plan to transition some of their seasonal workers into full-time employees, up ten points from last year’s survey.

Relationship building will be an integral step in finding talent.  
We have definitely seen an uptick in employers that have sought to make the recruiting process more personal this year. Just consider the growing use of advanced CRM systems, such as Avature, and the release of LinkedIn Recruiter, which enables recruiters to better leverage the social platform to find right-fit talent.

Companies will use real-time data for performance management.
It is no surprise that Gartner and other organizations have labeled 2013 as the Year of Big Data, with 64 percent of organizations having invested in, or planning to invest in, Big Data in 2013. The detailed analytics organizations can now collect will continue to transform all aspects of HR, from using workforce data to recruit the best candidates and managing their performance to reducing turnover.

Increased transparency in the workplace will better engage employees.
Although the quarterly or annual employee review isn’t likely to disappear any time soon, more employers have indeed recognized the value in creating more workplace transparency, by providing immediate feedback to reinforce strong performance and to address development needs as soon as possible.

While significant progress has been made in each area, I expect that organizations will continue to embrace these trends in the new year. So what else can we expect to see in 2014? Here are my latest predictions:

Recruiting will evolve in a way that enables candidates to tell their own story.

Although significant steps have been made already, I believe 2014 will be the year in which recruiters really begin to focus on the personal side of recruitment and seek the solutions that help them to build personal relationships with candidates. By utilizing the technology that enables recruiters to look beyond the skills and qualifications of their candidates, and better understand their personality and characteristics and whether they will really fit in with the organization. At the same time, as LinkedIn now has more than 250 million members, it has become essentially a database of candidates. Being able to make personal connections with candidates on LinkedIn and understand their personal stories will be a significant competitive advantage.

This idea of focusing on the stories behind candidates is essentially happening in the market in general, such as the food and retail industries. Just as consumers prefer to shop local rather than purchase mass produced products and increasingly want to know about where their products come from, the same will happen with finding candidates. Employers will increasingly seek additional information beyond the resume to better understand the unique perspectives and life experiences they can bring, instead of just skimming over their work history.

Companies will put greater focus on hiring veterans. 
Veteran hiring initiatives are nothing new; companies have long carried out programs to attract and engage veterans and benefit from the unique skills they can bring to the workplace. However, not enough jobs have been created to sustain a qualified veteran workforce, and the effectiveness of many veteran hiring initiatives has been brought into question. As the military drawdown continues, the number of veterans looking for civilian jobs will escalate in the new year. Given the benefits to the economy and to the veterans themselves who have given their all to protect their country, I expect companies will develop robust, more effective veteran hiring initiatives. Since a considerable investment has been made in developing veterans’ skills and providing them with training, more organizations will realize the ROI of getting these individuals back into the workforce.

Manufacturing will come back, but require new skillsets.
There are numerous statistics showing that the manufacturing industry is making a comeback in this country. But despite the growth in the number of U.S. manufacturing plants, those jobs are not the same of old. The new manufacturing jobs will require different skills to succeed in these plants, such as computer skills, programming and engineering. As manufacturing jobs continue to evolve, employers will need to provide the tools and resources that give their employees the necessary training and development to be successful in this new landscape.

Each year brings us new ideas, developments and technologies that forever change the nature of HR. While it is impossible to say for sure what will happen in 2014, I think some of the current trends I’ve been seeing will come into the forefront in the year ahead. Either way, I look forward to seeing the changes that will appear in the HR industry in the new year – and how employers will continue to adapt.
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