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HR trends to expect in 2017

January 2, 2017

By Heather Nezich, courtesy of SBAM Approved Partner ASE

2017 is right around the corner, and the HR industry is ever changing.  The war for talent continues to evolve, performance reviews as we know them are disappearing, and just when we figured out the Millennials, Generation Z is entering the work force.  Let’s look at some trends being predicted for 2017.

Millennials Meet Generation Z 
 2016 was the first year we saw Generation Z in the workplace.  Over 33% of Millennials now hold management positions, and interestingly enough hold the same views about Generation Z that they themselves have been stereotyped for – being lazy.  This will likely cause some friction.  In addition, the technology skills gap will continue to widen between younger and older workers.

Relationships Instead of Programs
In 2017 HR will continue its focus on human relationships.  They will need to effectively manage the human effects of mergers and acquisitions as well as globalization.

Creativity with Perks and Benefits
Compared to just two years ago, work flexibility is the top employee benefit globally desired, yet only a third of companies offer it.  To compete, companies will need to not only support flexibility in the workplace, but promote it.  Another rising trend is around student loan repayment.  One company leading the pack on this is Fidelity, who offers a “Step Ahead Student Loan Assistance” program which helps employees pay back up to $10,000 of student loan debt.

Improved Candidate and Employee Experiences

A recent study revealed that nearly 60% of job seekers have had a poor candidate experience and 72% have shared their experience online at sites like  In 2017 HR, marketing, and customer service will need to work closely together in order to develop positive experiences for both candidates and employees.  A study surveying HR professionals discovered that 83% of HR professionals said employee experience is either important or very important to their organizations’ success, and in order to enhance the experience, they are investing more in training (56%), improving their work space (51%) and giving more rewards (47%).

Annual Performance Reviews Evolving to More Continuous Reviews
Over the past several years the consensus has been that annual performance reviews are not effective.  Employees don’t want to wait an entire year to hear how they have done.  They want instant feedback and gratification. This is especially true for the younger generations.  Two of the largest global companies – GE and Adobe – have already done away with an annual review process.  Adobe, the first major company to step away from annual performance reviews, created a “Check-In” system, where expectations are set annually but feedback is given regularly, resulting in a 2% decrease in voluntary attrition. Similarly, GE created “Touchpoints,” where they focus on results and changing business demands daily, which has resulted in a five times increase in productivity in the past year.

Office Attire and Culture Continue to Become More Casual
This trend continues into 2017.  With the younger generations growing and more and more employees working remotely, the workplace continues to become more casual. Suits and ties are virtually extinct.  According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics about 1/3 of American employees do some or all of their work from home.  50% of managers say that employees wear less formal clothing than they did five years ago, and nearly 1/3 prefer to be at a company with a business casual dress code.

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