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Forecasting for 2017: HR PredictionsJanuary brings with it a fresh start, and an opportunity to reassess our talent management strategies with a fresh perspective. Every employer can benefit from pausing for a moment to take stock and predict what is coming before determining plans for the coming year.

Smart leaders are leaving gender binaries in the dust in 2017 – actively looking to promote more gender-inclusive teams.Twitter_logo_blue

What are the key concerns on the horizon for leaders and HR professionals this year? Here are the top issues that every people manager should have on their radar for 2017:

Promoting gender-inclusive workplaces.
Changes to the Canadian Human Rights Act are on the horizon that will explicitly protect gender identify and gender expression. This means that smart leaders are leaving gender binaries in the dust in 2017, and are actively looking to promote more gender-diverse and gender-inclusive teams. What does this mean? Ditching gendered language, taking a hard look at potentially discriminatory practices, and supporting transgender, gender nonconforming, and transitioning employees by removing barriers to employment success.

Automating HR processes.
IT and HR will work closely in 2017 to help transform HR functions, improving efficiency, usability, and structure. Various HRIS systems can help streamline many day-to-day HR functions, including tracking employee information, streamlining recruitment and onboarding, and handling time off, benefits, performance management, and employee departures. Automated digital systems are also a great way to engage millennials via technology-based HR platforms tailored to the preferences of your workforce.

Personalizing recruitment.
At the same time as many HR processes are becoming more standardized, a tight labour market and stiff competition for the best talent means personalizing the recruitment process. All companies want to provide an excellent customer or client experience, and this approach is now trickling through to how we treat prospective employees. A personalized recruitment approach means concentrating on the candidate experience: connecting often with candidates, interviewing strategically, communicating clearly, and sharing your organization’s unique value-added offerings to prospective employees.

An on-demand workforce.
In 2017, we’ll continue to see the rise of freelancers, part-time employees, contractors, and consultants. A rapidly evolving external environment means that organizations need to be agile and able to respond immediately to opportunities and challenges. Hiring “on-demand” means cutting overhead costs like employee benefits and training, and bringing individuals with specialized expertise on board means successfully targeting key issues and resolving short-term problems quickly with relatively little employer commitment.

The legalization of marijuana.
With the legalization of recreational marijuana on the horizon in the next year, there will be implications for workplaces. Though the initial reaction for employers may be one of panic, there’s no real cause for alarm, since (once it’s legal) most marijuana use can be addressed in much the same way as alcohol consumption. This will, however, create a need for clarity, and employers will need to update their existing substance use policies addressing both medical and recreational employee marijuana use.
For more on the “joint” responsibility of accommodating medical marijuana at work, click here.

Planning for the next generation of leaders.
Succession planning will continue to be a top concern, as long-tenured members of the workforce in every industry prepare to retire. And new leaders are expected to hit the ground running. For people managers, this means planning well in advance and providing growth opportunities to develop talent and enable new leaders to succeed.

Your Engaged HR Assignment:
With the amount of information we have bombarding us every day, it’s hard to know which hot topics to pay attention to. The list above is a great place to start your assessment—what kind of shape is your organization in to successfully address 2017’s HR challenges and opportunities? As always, if you’re stumped on a people management conundrum, give us a call!

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