HR in 2013: What We Can Expect

One of the most exciting things about working in HR is that the field is always changing, constantly bringing about new trends and technologies to our daily operations. While this means that we must always be on our toes and be committed to learning new things on a regular basis, each new development that we embrace will help to make our jobs easier and bring greater efficiency to the entire HR function. 

Just like every year before it, 2013 is bound to deliver some major changes to HR. There are a number of trends that have gained steam throughout 2012 and have set the stage for expectations, technology and processes in the new year. Following are some of my predictions for what the HR world can expect to see in 2013:

Social networking and niche sourcing sites will become more mainstream.

As finding top talent has become more challenging in today’s hiring environment, employers will seek to leverage more solutions to help them identify the talent they need. Technologies like social and predictive sourcing tools, niche career sites, pre-employment job-fit assessments and talent communities will become more popular in 2013.

Although employers have long used social media as a sourcing tool, they often find mixed results as they compete with all of other the noise out there. However, more companies will realize the benefits of using targeted channels to connect with candidates, rather than dumping their job descriptions all over the social networking sites. This trend is likely to be facilitated by Facebook’s new job board, which enables candidates to search for jobs, share positions with their networks and apply directly from Facebook.

Companies will also rely on the growing prominence of niche sourcing sites, many of which utilize gamification to find and qualify talent. Not only do such sites garner more engagement from candidates with a positive candidate experience, but they also enable employers to easily identify the best and brightest candidates.

Another growing trend I think will break through in 2013 is the use of self-serve assessments. Such assessments enable candidates to validate who they are and how their skills and abilities align with the position and the company. Instead of meeting with numerous stakeholders, candidates can spend 30 minutes filling out the self-assessment and show recruiters why they would be a good fit.

As seasons change, employees may stay on full-time.

Each year, retailers hire a large number of seasonal employees to meet the demand for the busy holiday season. And each January, the majority of those workers are let go as business returns to normal. However, as finding qualified talent continues to become more difficult, companies will recognize the value in holding onto their top-performing seasonal workers and keeping them on full time.

A recent report from Aon Hewitt suggests that more than a quarter of the 500 U.S. retail managers surveyed intend to offer permanent positions to half or more of their 2012 seasonal hires. Indeed, leveraging the pool of seasonal workers is a great way to source talent. Rather than hiring outsiders for full-time positions, companies can benefit from hiring their temporary workers who have already gained experience and proven they can handle the company’s busiest and most high-pressure time of year.

Relationship building will be an integral step in finding talent.

Some of the aforementioned technologies will help recruiters to fill positions more quickly by enabling them to build relationships with candidates before they even apply. The companies that are able to connect with candidates and learn about them and their qualifications earlier in the process will be able to narrow down their candidate pool and ensure they select from the best of the best.

Along those lines, one of the biggest changes we’ll see in 2013 may be the use of skill-based public scoring, in which recruiters measure a candidate based on their social profiles. The companies that use advanced social analytics will be able to learn more about their potential employees sooner and build more effective relationships. By managing those relationships, recruiters can help candidates understand why their company would be a good fit, resulting in an enhanced candidate experience and contributing to a more positive employer brand.

Companies will use real-time data for performance management.

While the use of social media will only increase in the new year, it can be used as more than just a way to start a conversation with candidates. It can also play a major role in performance management, once a candidate is hired. For instance, there a number of private internal social networks, such as, that make it easier to communicate, share ideas and files and measure performance. By using such a solution, employers can analyze each employee’s contributions and provide instant feedback to reward strong performance and identify areas of development.

Increased transparency in the workplace will better engage employees.

As information flows instantaneously, and managers can interact with teams multiple times a day through a variety of methods, there may not be any substantial reason to conduct quarterly or yearly performance appraisals. Instead, managers can provide immediate feedback to their teams to enhance productivity, encourage development and spot issues before they escalate. Increased transparency makes the organization more nimble, and in turn, it helps their employees do the same.

Companies that fail to understand the performance of their employees, both high performers and those who aren’t as strong, will be at a serious disadvantage. Without positive feedback on their contributions, the best employees may become disengaged and move on to new opportunities. It also becomes more difficult to address performance issues and provide needed training or development to those at the other end of the spectrum.

A key aspect of success for any HR professional is the ability to embrace changing technology and use it to improve internal processes. By understanding the latest growing trends in the HR field, and how they can positively impact our daily work, we can be ready to adapt to these changes. This way, we can identify and hire the right candidates, and ensure they remain engaged and committed in their roles long after they are brought onboard.

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