What’s to Come Next in the HR Cycle?

A big question in our minds has been “what’s next?” 

In the past few years alone, we’ve seen the pandemic hit, companies shift to work-from-home and virtual spaces, quiet quitting, the great resignation, DEIB awareness, and even major layoffs. All of this in less than four years!  

If your head is spinning as an HR professional, you definitely aren’t alone! It’s been a lot for leadership and HR teams to navigate. 

As we talk with our clients day in and day out, we have come to realize there’s amazing power in thinking ahead. While we can’t predict the future, we certainly can focus our attention on what to expect.  

First off, we’re not economists, finance experts, or psychologists. But we have been in the employee experience space for a long time and we’ve seen a lot of trends that affect the workforce. We’ve seen a thing or two!  

Study History 

If we don’t learn from history, we’re bound to repeat it. If you’re currently in a downturn economy, what can you learn about the workforce trends that arose out of previous down economies. Just take a look at how things rebounded after the Great Recession around 2010. Economics typically operates in cycles, so there are plenty of times to look back upon in history.  

You can do the same thing for any part of the cycle, so it’s just as important to consider the good times as much as the bad. Get in the mindset of employees and employers! 

Ask yourself:  

  • How did I feel as an employee during this time?  
  • Was I more complacent in my situation and biding my time, or was I still looking for other opportunities?  
  • How did this season affect new graduates or young professionals?  
  • How did this season affect those on the edge of retirement?  
  • How did this season affect higher education trends?   

Evaluate Your Own Organization 

Once you’ve gathered a few observations about the trends you’ve experienced in the past that relate to your current trend right now, you can shift to looking at yourself. This is where it gets a little bit more difficult. It’s a hard thing to be objective and not miss any blind spots. This is usually where we come in. With our employee engagement surveys, stay surveys, exit surveys, and more, we can provide unbiased data about your organization to help you get a crystal-clear picture of what’s actually going on in your team.  

Think Ahead 

Okay, so you’ve got some ideas of what’s going on now and what’s going on in your team, but what’s coming next? Again, go back to the typical cycles that life tends to follow. Sure, things could keep getting worse in an economic slump, but at some point they’re going to pick back up. The question is if your organization is ready for what typically happens when things start to pick back up.  

We don’t have a crystal ball here, but we have learned from years of experience and data over our time in the employee engagement space. We know things will always change, so it’s just a matter of being ready for the next season in workforce trends.  

So, what’s going on today?  

As we round out 2023, we’re seeing a lot of larger companies, especially Saas companies, doing layoffs. The news keeps threatening the looming recession and many people have taken the mere threat to heart. As a result, we’re seeing less people job hopping like they’d been doing in the recent “great resignation” and we’re seeing companies go back to work with more in-person work environments. We’re still seeing hybrid situations being popular, as well as virtual teams still a dominant setup. All of these provide unique challenges for building a positive team culture and employee retention.

But what’s next?  

Things could stay the way they are now, meaning that employees are going to stay put in their current roles. Things could rebound and workforce confidence could rebound, meaning that people will start to look for something new again. And yet, we could be thrown another curveball like Covid was for all of us.  

Here’s how we’re approaching the end of the year and the start of 2024: 

  • We want to make sure we understand our current team dynamics and what makes people stay at our company. We need to collect that now, so that we have it when we need it. That’s where the People Element stay surveys and employee engagement surveys are so vital!  
  • We’re watching the news, including economics, finance, education and more! 
  • We’re watching the retirement-age populations on our team and planning ahead for when these roles are open again. Who will fill those roles and what will our generational employee mix look like at that point?  
  • We’re working to understand Gen Z, so we can make sure our teams are friendly to the needs of the younger professionals we’re going to need to attract.  
  • We’re working on ourselves. If we can make our own team attractive for employees (and clients!), we’ll be ready to face any surprises that come up as the seasons and cycles change in the world and in HR. 

There are always key topics and trends to focus on in human resources as we head into the future, but the most important approach is one that has eyes wide open, objectively considering what’s coming next in the upcoming season. You don’t have to predict anything in detail, but you should be asking yourself how prepared you are for various high-level possibilities. A little proactive work can go a long way!  

More about People Element 

In order to truly understand and inspire your employees, you must listen and engage them at every step of their journey with your organization. Regardless of where your people are at in the employee journey, People Element’s employee survey platform can help you connect. They make it easy to ask, listen and act on what matters most, resulting in a healthier, more successful workplace. Request a demo today. 

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