The Human Resource function has come a long way from the days of being called “Personnel” where we merely pushed paper on carbon copy forms (yes, I realize I may be dating myself). At that time, the primary function was generating a paper trail of employee activity. HR was an administrative function – a canvas of black and white record keeping. There was no seat at the C-level table and certainly no involvement in strategic discussions. (Let’s face it, for many companies, that wasn’t even happening on an operational level.) It’s fair to say businesses and HR have changed significantly and that most companies now value the HR function in the same way they do finance, marketing and other administration based functions. With talk of the Fiscal Cliff, the Affordable Care Act, social media and technology in general, business functions are changing even faster. Our view of HR is no longer black and white, but a colorful rainbow changing quicker than many of us can keep up with. Based on the forces pushing and pulling on businesses today, this is my sketch for the picture of HR in 2013:
Two years ago one could make the argument that social media was just that, social, and not for businesses. Recruiting has been the quickest functional area to adapt to social media and usage will continue to grow in 2013. Sourcing of candidates through social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and whatever other new social media site pops up in the near future will likely become the number one way we advertise and source applicants. Candidates will validate companies through websites, so the company website should be up to date, informative, easy to navigate, eye catching and engaging. The vetting of candidates on social media will continue to be on the rise this year as well. Recruiters will turn to social media to research candidates, find any skeletons in the closet and search for recommendations and validations online. Recruiting will also turn to technology to interview candidates using newer technologies such as Google Hangouts and other video conferencing sites to screen candidates that are out of the area.
General consensus is that there will be a cautious growth in hiring for 2013. Based on Insight’s experience, we saw an up tick in recruiting in 2012 and we predict this to continue, albeit slowly and cautiously.
Benefits & the Affordable Care Act:
While we’re anticipating growth in recruiting, with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, companies hovering around the 50 FTE mark, are likely to hold back on adding positions to avoid getting caught up in unknown healthcare expenses.
In 2013 metrics in the area of healthcare costs and expenses are going to become more prevalent. Companies will begin gathering data to better understand the requirements and how it affects their business.
There will likely be a push for benefits to become more self-service in 2013. Companies are being stretched thinly and the need to enable employees’ self-service options will increase.
Technology continues to change the way we interact with employees. Videoconferencing is going to be commonplace for virtual workforces in 2013. Insight has already seen a rise in virtual trainings through webinars and videoconferencing and this trend will continue to grow. Companies will rely more on social media to interact with their employees. No longer will companies stay out of the conversation, but will begin using social media to interact and engage with their own employees. If you can’t beat ‘em, join them.
Between talk of the fiscal cliff, new tax implications and implementation of the Affordable Care Act, companies will continue to be cautious. Where 2012 saw a merit budget around 3%, that number is likely not increase for 2013. Companies will continue to be cautious, not knowing how exactly how their healthcare costs will be changing and concern over the strength of the economy.
With the face of HR changing so rapidly, strategic HR is going to paramount in 2013. Companies will be forced to update their position on compensation and healthcare, while also addressing the use of technology in how they communicate with employees and how they recruit. None of this can be done without enlisting the executive team and engaging in the discussions about the visions and mission of the business. Black and white are no longer in – it’s changing colors all the way for 2013!