HR Trends: Is Your Business Keeping Pace?

August 30, 2023・7 mins read
HR Trends: Is Your Business Keeping Pace?

The nature of work is changing. For one thing, we’re in the middle of a labor shortage. There are far more open jobs than people available to fill them. Recent data shows that in the United States, there are 9.8 million job openings – and only 5.9 million unemployed workers.

Small and medium-sized businesses have to work harder than before to attract and retain top talent. Many of the current human resources trends are geared to adapting to a tight labor market. These trends increase employee satisfaction, reduce turnover, and increase productivity.

This article will discuss some of the major HR trends that you should be aware of if you work in HR or training. Consider these trends' impact on your company. In a changing world, these strategies can help you build the outstanding workforce you need for your company to thrive.

The Latest HR Trends

The role of the HR industry is expanding. While administrative tasks such as payroll, benefits, and training are still a critical part of HR’s mission, human resources departments are taking on new areas of responsibility to adapt to changing workplace conditions:

  • Companies have to compete more for scarce employees during a labor shortage.
  • Remote and hybrid working options have changed the way that people expect to be able to work.
  • Companies are more aware of the value of frontline workers and the need to keep them engaged.

The role of HR in facilitating remote work

Remote work, and the hybrid work model, are here to stay. Companies that provide and support remote work opportunities are more attractive to many workers. One-fifth of job seekers are looking only for jobs where they can work remotely. Companies that support remote work also see improvements in employee retention. Businesses that allow remote work reduce their employee quit rate by more than one-third per year.

HR can play an important role in promoting job satisfaction for remote workers. Remote workers want to feel that they’re connected to their co-workers and are taking part in the company culture. HR professionals can help these employees feel included by having a robust strategy of virtual communication. This may include regular check-ins, virtual team-building exercises, tracking workers’ progress, and providing feedback on performance.

Addressing employee mental health and well-being

A recent survey conducted by the American Psychological Association found that 92% of workers said that it was very or somewhat important to work for an organization that valued their psychological and emotional well-being. A similar percentage said that it was very or somewhat important that employers provided support for their employees’ mental health.

HR can help by creating an atmosphere where employees feel free to ask for mental health support without fear of being shamed or getting fired. HR can communicate to employees that the company values their mental health and well-being. It’s also important to let employees know that HR is there for them as a resource at any time they want to ask for help.

Beyond mental health, companies are also focusing on employees’ overall well-being. They are finding creative ways to improve their employees’ physical, emotional, and financial well-being. These may include offering financial coaching and education in managing personal finances. HR professionals are also focusing on their own well-being so that they can best help others.

Promoting work-life balance and flexible work arrangements

Too much work can cause burnout. When workers are satisfied with their work-life balance, their stress levels go down, and employee engagement increases. Researchers have found that the extra hours worked may have a negative impact. The total productivity of employees working long hours often turns out to be less than employees working a standard 40-hour week.

Ways that companies can encourage a healthy work-life balance include:

  • Having managers lead by example.
  • Encouraging employees to take additional breaks when needed.
  • Offering flexible work arrangements.
  • Organizing stress-relieving practices such as mindfulness or yoga sessions.

Flexibility can be a key aspect of promoting a good work-life balance. Flexible work arrangements now go beyond the option to work remotely. Flexible time schedules, if it fits business needs, such as the option to work more hours per day and fewer days per week, may be attractive to workers. Many say that when they do their work is even more important to them than where they do it.

The importance of company culture and employee experiences

One survey found that only 13% of employees said they were fully satisfied with their employee experience. This is an area in great need of improvement. The HR department can help by:

  • Encouraging employees’ professional development.
  • Maintaining clear communications between managers, knowledge workers, and frontline workers.
  • Providing convenient ways for employees to express their thoughts and ask questions.
  • Fostering an atmosphere of respect for employees at all levels.
  • Creating policies and implementing practices that promote diversity equity and inclusion.

Skills-based hiring and HR management

Many jobs can be done well by employees regardless of certain education degrees. When companies prioritize skills as a top factor for hiring, they may have more applicants to choose from. Skills-based hiring may also promotes greater diversity of skilled workers

In some cases, the skill-based model of working may be different from the traditional job-based model. Skill-based employees may frequently switch roles within a company based on where their skills are most needed at any given time. In this model, HR may need to align an employee compensation if they are not using the traditional job-based model.

Other noteworthy HR trends

  • Hybrid learning. The trend towards greater flexibility continues with hybrid learning, where education is brought to employees where they are. This may include pop-up campuses and virtual learning, in addition to traditional in-office learning.
  • Educational pathways. Even with skill-based hiring, skills may become obsolete, especially with rapid technological changes. It benefits both the employer and the employees when employees develop new skills that the company needs. Educational pathways bring together different educational resources to provide a rich environment for learning.
  • Active listening. This skill is a key element of effective communication. It requires full concentration. Active listening helps people feel valued and heard. It creates feelings of trust. In the workplace, active listening increases productivity and reduces turnover. Many people are not good listeners. Fortunately, this is a skill that can be taught and practiced, and HR can help.

How HR Trends Are Influencing Business Leaders

Businesses are competing for top employees. At the same time, employees have gotten used to new trends of working and may have higher expectations of what they expect their employers to provide. To stay competitive and create a more productive working atmosphere, business leaders and HR departments should consider what employees want in terms of flexibility, professional development, inclusion, and communication.

Then, to attract and keep top talent, companies should align their policies and promote practices that make these ways of working part of the company culture. The benefits of doing so can include:

  • A more motivated workforce.
  • Less time spent on recruiting, hiring, onboarding, and training replacement employees.
  • Less loss of institutional knowledge due to turnover.
  • Greater creativity.
  • Higher productivity.

HR professionals are essential to meeting the new HR trends of today’s workforce. Large companies may have all the HR people and resources they need to implement the new policies. SMBs, though, may need some help with third party providers such as a professional employer organization. TriNet provides SMBs with access to a level of HR expertise and resources. By tapping into TriNet's broad range of services, TriNet can help SMBs work through these HR trends or obstacles.

This communication is for informational purposes only, is not legal, tax or accounting advice, and is not an offer to sell, buy or procure insurance.

This article may contain hyperlinks to websites operated by parties other than TriNet. Such hyperlinks are provided for reference only. TriNet does not control such web sites and is not responsible for their content. Inclusion of such hyperlinks on does not necessarily imply any endorsement of the material on such websites or association with their operators.

ESAC Accreditation
We comply with all ESAC standards and maintain ESAC accreditation since 1995.
Certified PEO
A TriNet subsidiary is classified as a Certified Professional Employer Organization by the IRS.