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Human Capital Management

HR trends of 2015

What 2015 Meant for HR

Andy Campbell,
HCM Strategy Director at Oracle @axcampbe

Andy Campbell provides an Oracle perspective on the major HR trends of 2015

Andy Campbell

Andy Campbell, HCM Strategy Director at Oracle

Well, well, well – yet another year has nearly passed. As we all rush about buying turkeys and stuffing those Christmas stockings this seems like a good time for that other stalwart of the festive season: a review of the year past.

And when it comes to HR and cloud applications, what a year it has been. We have seen important trends emerge that are already transforming the way HR is practiced and will continue to have a huge impact in the year ahead. Here is my festive round up of what I consider to be the four most important of these:

  • The end of the annual appraisal. 2015 unambiguously marked the beginning of the end of this static and ineffective way of measuring employee performance. Perhaps the biggest signifier came in July, when Accenture very publically announced it was ditching its traditional annual review process. This followed in the footsteps of Deloitte, which took a similar decision earlier in the year (reported in the Harvard Business Review). The fact that such huge consultancy organizations went on record to say that annual reviews do not work sent a huge ripple coursing through the HR community; the Emperor’s new clothes had finally been exposed! It allowed all of us to imagine a world without this archaic process. In the future, we can expect to see performance management run increasingly on results-oriented approaches, with feedback mechanisms that are much more immediate and in tune with our current workforce and preferred ways of working.
  • High profile hacks and the issue of data security. 2015 saw a number of major hacks take place, from the infamous Ashley Madison data theft to the more recent breach of TalkTalk’s systems. While in both these cases customer data was targeted, the implications for employee data are not to be ignored. Interestingly from Oracle’s perspective, the security debate has swung in favour of the cloud. Increasingly businesses see the security benefits of storing employee data in the cloud (i.e. you are leaving it to experts who have the very latest security tech to guard your data and, importantly, offer end-to-end encryption) rather than leaving it up to in-house teams.
  • Employees took control: To paraphrase researcher and consultant Josh Bersin: in the war for talent, the talent won. In 2015 we saw employees grab control of the agenda and ask more of their employers than ever before – making a case for everything from flexible working and BYOD to getting their favourite brand of coffee in the canteen. For employees, the distinction between work and personal lives has started to break down and increasingly workers are demanding an engaging and collaborative environment built on their own terms – the alternative option in this increasingly competitive world, is that they simply leave. However because this ‘always on’ culture has blurred the lines between work and play this may have repercussions for the increasing and encroaching demands that we make upon our employees.  As we shall see in my next blog, this will have big implications for HR teams in 2016.
  • HR got strategic about the cloud: Over the past year we have seen the field of HR cloud being taken seriously by many organizations as the whole market starts to mature. Some time ago people realised that a ‘one-size-fits all’ approach to HR cloud applications simply does not work and that the time has come for a more strategic perspective. HR organizations have responded accordingly and approached cloud services with a much more critical eye. They are taking a long, hard look under the bonnet before making buying decisions rather than making tactical decisions based on somewhat subjective and simplistic criteria. Organizations are looking beyond the silo of HR functionality and considering issues such as integration, security, management information, cloud extensibility tools such as PaaS and broad applications footprints. This is all very positive as it demonstrates that the cloud market has reached a new level of maturity, and businesses can look forward to realising some really significant strategic business benefits from the technology in the years ahead.

So that was 2015 in a nutshell. The question now arises as to what 2016 will have in store for us. Well, next week I will dust off my crystal ball and make a few predictions as to what the key HR trends will be in the year ahead.

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