Fairsail’s forecast for the year ahead

Neuroscience in HR

As the cheer of the New Year fades to distant memory, it’s time to turn our attention to the months ahead. Though a majority of us are most definitely back to work, this need not mean we simply settle back into old routines – and for the world of HR in particular, 2016 looks set to be a year of change.

Last year certainly saw its fair share of transformation and innovation, and gave us a lot of food for thought as to the future of the industry. As the landscape continues to change, we look back at some of the key talking points of 2015 that we think will make an even bigger impact in the next twelve months:

Workforce Visibility

In our recent blog, we wrote about the importance of ‘flying by instruments’ when it comes to the HR function. Essentially, the need for real and credible workforce insight to inform planning and facilitate great employee experiences is greater than ever before. As workforces expand and employee needs change, managing these needs requires a more sophisticated solution, and one that can truly help to optimize business potential.

A trend we expect to hear more about in 2016 is the use of neuroscience in HR. Identified as one of the emerging themes of 2015 by Diginomica, we predict it will continue to grow as companies focus on gaining better visibility not only of processes, but of people. If the statement “the biggest asset in our business is our people” is true, then surely HR should invest in understanding people and what makes them tick. If HR really wants to add genuine value to business and earn a place on the top table, it’s essential to embrace the latest understanding of people.`

New approaches and tools like employee experience analytics are central to applying neuropsychology in business – using data and methods to understand not just what people think, but how they feel. Yet, a survey we conducted last year revealed that a huge 38% of HR and business leaders had only basic, little or no knowledge of workforce analytics – a figure we expect to change substantially as the need for real-time workforce visibility continues to increase and HRMS moves further into the fore.

HR Productivity

Another area where we expect to see more focus this year relates to maximizing the productivity of HR functions. With technology becoming more and more ubiquitous in every aspect of the modern organization, enabling a digital workforce is rising ever higher up HR’s list of priorities.

Our own CEO, Adam Hale, recently spoke to Personnel Today about how the new war for talent is pushing up the adoption of HR Tech. As he explains in the article, “In a global skills crisis, retaining and developing your best people is considered very important”, and it’s for this reason that we, as a global technology provider, have seen such an increase in demand. As such, we’re always looking for new ways to help customers to make the most of their evolving employee bases, and this year launched the Sage People app for mobile and Apple watch.

HR, like any other aspect of a business, needs to continually change to keep up with demand. It’s time to re-think what HR means in the modern workforce in order to really enable employees and bolster ROI.

Workforce Experiences

A key step in the path to employee enablement is first ensuring an engaged and motivated workforce. This requires a tailored approach that delivers optimum employee experiences – and as we’ve discussed in our blogs this year, in the modern, multi-cultural, multi-generational, contingent and dispersed business world where the motivations of individual employees can differ greatly, this is no simple task.

Reward and recognition are motivational tools that every member of every workforce not only cares about, but needs – and appreciation for going the extra distance is therefore critical to creating great workforce experiences. Despite this, managers and employers the world over have often failed to encourage and recognize effort. What’s more, the cost of doing this is negligible – however the potential implications of not doing so (low morale goes hand in hand with poor productivity) are only starting to earn the attention they deserve amongst senior business leaders.

To ensure future workforces are motivated, there is a need for fresh thinking around the changing nature of work, the workforce and the workplace in 2016 – and we’re hopeful that positive strides will be made this year.

With positive change set to both improve and elevate the importance of the HR function this year, we expect the global workforce to be happier, healthier and more harmonious. Here’s to a prosperous 2016!

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