For a lot of reasons, 2016 has been a contentious year. One development that’s less controversial, however, are all of the promising trends that are evolving in the world of HR. With Thanksgiving fast approaching, here are four of the hiring trends we’re most thankful for this year:
1. Growing focus on candidate experience
According to a 2016 LinkedIn survey on recruiting trends, 59% of respondents said they were planning to invest more in their employer brand this year. One critical component of employer brand is candidate experience. We’re in a candidate-driven job market, and employers are responding by improving the candidate experience in order to entice top talent. The benefits of doing so are pretty clear. Improving the candidate experience enhances the entire hiring process for everyone – candidates feel less frustrated with the process and companies get a chance to bolster their employer brand. What this achieves: happier candidates, improved company reputation, and an overall smoother hiring process.
2. Greater awareness of unconscious bias
This year, many companies started placing an even greater emphasis on diversity in the hiring process. This new effort was, in part, driven by a greater general awareness of unconscious bias (also known as implicit bias). The impact that unconscious bias has on the hiring process is well-documented by several decades of research, and more and more people are willing to accept that it can have an “unconscious” impact on hiring decisions made by everyone, even those who have no “conscious” biases. The concept of unconscious bias has become so mainstream that it was even referenced in one of the presidential debates earlier this year.
Many employers have sought to combat unconscious bias by experimenting with new hiring practices, such as blind hiring. But one thing’s for sure: unconscious bias is on everyone’s minds, and this awareness should lead to stronger hiring processes that are fairer for everyone.
3. Greater acceptance of data
HR leaders are becoming more and more comfortable with incorporating data and technology into the hiring process. This, in part, may be attributed to greater awareness of the powerful predictive value that data can provide. One compelling study from the National Bureau of Economic Research, for instance, demonstrated that pre-employment tests are better at predicting workplace performance than hiring managers are.
And while data is powerful, it’s no longer as intimidating as it once was. At this point, data is nowhere near sophisticated enough to displace human decisions, nor would we necessarily reach that point any time soon. Instead, data is earning its keep as a powerful, objective piece of information that employers can use to inform their hiring decisions, in combination with all of the more traditional hiring criteria, like resumes, interviews, experience, and education. The more that employers are aware of how to responsibly incorporate data into the hiring process, the stronger their hiring decisions will become.
4. Evolving employee benefits
We mentioned earlier that the candidate experience is one trend we’re thankful for this year. This seems to fit in with a larger trend in HR of showing greater appreciation for human capital. Maybe this is why we’re seeing employers place more of an emphasis on competitive employee benefits, ranging from expanded parental leave policies to health and wellness programs.
Companies that take care of their employees are more likely to experience less turnover, resulting in a happier, more productive staff. What’s more, creating a competitive benefits package can bolster the employer brand and make a company more attractive to top candidates. With websites like Glassdoor, candidates have the ability to shop around and compare benefits between prospective companies. Strong benefits can signal to candidates that a company appreciates their employees and will reward them for their hard work.
With the year winding down, we’re hopeful that many of these trends will continue to evolve, and we’re looking forward to seeing what hiring trends unfold in 2017!