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5 Major Talent Trends for 2018

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I am painfully, notoriously unfashionable. When I started college, I had a friend who refused to go out in public with me unless she got some input into what I was wearing.

Even today—despite all I’ve learned—I’m not great at being on-trend. I wear a different combo of jeans, t-shirt, and sweatshirt nearly every day.

My point? Don’t let your HR and talent tech look like me.

Wait, what?

Just like clothes, your HR and talent tech need to stay updated or risk looking archaic. Want to stay on top of the hottest trends going into 2018? I’ve collected five that are worth watching.

Top 5 Talent Trends Going Into 2018

1. Applicant assessment

What is it?

Applicant assessments are tests given to a potential new hire before hiring. The assessments can be skills tests for technical jobs and occupations where deep knowledge in a must, or resemble a personality test to help determine company culture fit.

These assessments have been gaining popularity for the past few years, with retail in particular embracing the idea. We’re starting to see increasingly “scientific” examples, and assessments have even made it onto Gartner’s HR Hype Cycle.

How can I use it?

The best way to use applicant assessments is sparingly. Applicants hate long, rambling, transparent assessments, and they’ll yank your applicant experience right into the gutter if you’re not careful (not that you can’t save it).

If you want to utilize an applicant assessment, focus on efficacy. Why do you want to issue this test? Are you assessing a necessary skill? Are you trying to find a good culture fit? Only ask questions that have direct relevance to what you want to know, and keep it to as few questions as possible.

2. Wellness

What is it?

“Wellness” is a nebulous term that boils down to actions that promote mental and physical health. It can refer to benefits that come into play outside the office—such as generous healthcare packages—or activities in the office as part of a company culture promoting a healthy lifestyle.

Wellness in the workplace, from an HR perspective, is all about finding ways to promote health, starting at work. Don’t forget: you and your employees spend tons of time in the office, often more than 90,000 hours over your lifespan.

How can I use it?

As an HR and talent professional, you might not have much control over selecting benefits packages, so you can’t just hand everyone in the office $200 to spend on health activities, even if you want to.

What you can do is help encourage a company culture where health and wellness are promoted day to day. Find a local run or charity walk and send an all-company sign up, prompting people to do something good for themselves and the community. Help arrange games and fun sports activities for employees, set up an in-office flu shot clinic, or invite a professional nutritionist to speak during a company lunch hour.

3. Out of office employees

What is it?

To many people, “working from home” has long sounded like an excuse to stay home without losing any PTO days. This perception has quickly changed as more and more offices adopt flexible work policies and embrace the concept of remote employees.

As technology improves, the reasons used to disallow staff working from wherever they want are dwindling.

How can I use it?

If you already have a work from home policy, look into ways to make it easier on your employees, both in and out of the office. Consider software that will make planning and connecting over long distances easier, such as Asana or Slack.

If you’re looking to start an open work from home policy, develop a solid plan before implementation. Check out a few guides on how to implement a successful remote employee program (here’s one I like, and another). Consider setting up a dry run or a beta test where one or two trusted employees try the program before rolling it out officewide.

4. Diversifying perks

What is it?

“Ha ha, startups have such ridiculous perks,” is becoming an old, tired joke. If you work in tech, I’m sure you’re sick of hearing it.

The funny thing? All those “ridiculous” perks are quickly becoming industry norms, and we’re seeing them mainstreamed into offices that aren’t techy at all.

Open office designs, once regarded as strange and unique, have been embraced across industries, no matter how much Forbes wants to whine about them.

How can I use it?

Don’t fear benefits and perks that seem weird, offbeat, or newfangled. For every passing trend (turns out beanbag chairs don’t offer much ergonomic support), there’s a young startup that’s on to something brilliant.

When looking into updating and modernizing benefits packages, keep in mind that what employees really want aren’t things but what things represent. They don’t care about NERF guns so much as an office that wants them to take breaks and make friends. They don’t require long lunch hours as much as they need an employer that encourages a healthy work-life balance.

Stick to the spirit more than the letter, and try not to shut down new ideas just because they seem odd.

5. Internet of things comes to the office

What is it?

The internet of things (IoT) refers to various items in everyday life that have been made “smart” through a connection to the internet (you can read more here, though the content is behind Gartner’s paywall). These items typically use this connection to perform basic daily actions, usually giving you an alert or handling small tasks so you don’t have to.

This can range from a car that sends you an email when your oil is low to a fridge that knows when you run out of milk and adds it to a digital grocery list app on your phone.

In the office, IoT integration is still very new, but you should expect to start seeing exciting new developments in the near future.

How can I use it?

At the moment, just sit back and watch! This is very new technology, and it’s going to be fascinating to see where it goes.

My predictions, as an HR tech specialist, include an office-specific version of Alexa or Amazon Dot that will serve as a digital personal assistant in a workplace full of smart items that might be better managed via voice commands. We could also see smarter versions of old school hardware, like a copy machine that automatically orders paper refills from Amazon.

What talent trends do you plan on following in 2018?

Are you always on-trend? Or do you find yourself lagging behind? Tell me about it in the comments below, or tweet me @CapterraHalden.

Check out these articles for more info to help you stay on the cutting edge of the talent world:

Looking for Talent Management software? Check out Capterra's list of the best Talent Management software solutions.

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About the Author

Halden Ingwersen

Halden Ingwersen writes about HR and eLearning at Capterra. She’s a graduate of Agnes Scott College and a TEDx presenter. You can follow her on Twitter @CapterraHalden, just don’t get her started about her zombie survival plan.

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