The HR Game Changer Blog

The real 3 HR Trends for 2018: How many have you heard of or planned for?

I’ve been looking at what’s happening on the cutting edge of HR for a while now. There are 3 key trends that I see for 2018 that none of the articles are mentioning. We’re going to explore these in more detail at the HR Game Changer Conference in March, but I thought I would share my thoughts as I don’t think they are being considered by enough HR teams.

The 3 key HR trends are:

  1. Flexicurity

Many companies have flexible working policies as they know employees want flexibility. However many employees don’t actually feel comfortable working flexibly due to a number of issue that still happen regularly:

  • People working flexibly creates confusion about who is going to be in the office and when. Managers and other team mates get annoyed at not knowing where someone is.
  • Working from home still makes lots of people think the person is slacking off and not doing anything.
  • It affects people’s promotions – the people who are always at the office (even if they’re not productive) are seen as ‘hard working’.
  • It affects when there’s a restructure – again people who work flexibly may be seen as part time and so their roles can be got rid of.

I’ve been studying Denmark for some time now as they live intelligently, with work practises and systems that actually seem well thought out! They have this concept of flexicurity – which is flexible working but with job security. Security that you won’t lose your job, or be thought less of and still be part of the team.

To achieve flexicurity, I think HR teams are going to need to focus on:

  • Having a clearer set and variety of flexible options. For example at Lion they have LionFlex where you can request Flexi Place: working from home or another location, Flexi Schedule: different starting or finishing times, Flexi Role: job shares or working part time and Flexi Leave: buying additional annual leave and other leave options.
  • Creating new ways for those working remotely to be involved in the workplace. At Buffer they all work remotely, so have virtual meetings daily and always end with making a love heart with their hands (I saw Dave from Buffer speak at a conference in the UK last year and he showed us hundreds of photos of everyone doing the love heart!). At Lotto NZ they have a slack channel for communication between everyone (and Amie McKinlay is going to come and talk about this at the HR Game Changer conference!).
  • Offering better schemes for parents to be able to be modern parents and to work. Global infrastructure firm AECOM have introduced 12 weeks of leave for parents to use during school holidays so they can spend time with their kids.
  • Having schemes in place for older employees as they transition into retirement. I’ve read about a number of US companies who offer schemes like hour banking, where you save up extra hours you’ve worked and then use them to transition to part time hours, phased retirement, having retired employees work on projects or part time, as mentors, coaches and running training programmes.

How well do you think your company is placed to provide flexicurity in 2018? What could you do to change or improve this?

  1. Linkinsation

Most HR trends articles are about automation, but in my opinion that’s not quite the right thing that HR should be looking at. The second trend I have is Linkinsation. This is a phrase I heard from Paul McKenzie, from Platinum Payroll at an APPNZ payroll workshop. What is means is that you should be mapping out all of your HR related systems and then looking at ways you can add value by linking them together.

Paul shared a great example of this a company that had 5 different subsidiaries so payroll had to pay people under each one. The Finance team said it was a nightmare. So Paul built an interface between the payroll system and the finance system that linked GL codes to each person. It make things much easier. In another company that sells mushrooms, Paul built an SQL code that read how many hours people had worked, and linked it to how many hours in manufacturing to working out the labour hours per kilo of mushrooms.

HR teams need to be thinking about:

  • What are all the systems in your business that impact on people?
  • Where could there be opportunities for linkinsation? Reports or information that would provide better data, save manual calculations and add value to the business?

How well do you think your company looks at systems linkinsation and data? What could you do to change or improve this?

  1. T squared Cultures

The last HR trend I see for 2018, is moving to T squared cultures.

Many company cultures are still operating like it’s the 1900’s and we’re in the industrial revolution. I’ve worked in these companies. They treat employees like commodities who are there to make the shareholders as much money as possible. Processes are designed to tell employees that they are not trusted to do their job without making mistakes. Decisions can’t be made without chains of authority. HR policies try and hide information how promotions, salary increases and other benefits are really applied.

Well there’s a new crop of companies who are performing financially exceptionally well – yet also treat employees with trust and transparency (the two T’s). Lisa McCarthy spoke about this at our HR Advisors Conference and will now be sharing some amazing case studies at the HR Game Changer Conference.

These businesses operate with self-managing teams, they focus on outputs, they have transparent salary setting (and in some employees set their own salaries!) and they have diverse and inclusive cultures. This requires a complete mind shift in current corporate thinking and will be too bigger a stretch for many senior executives. Yet to survive and thrive in the future, this is where company business culture is heading.

It involves HR teams looking at their recruitment, induction and training programmes. Each of these businesses has mandatory induction training around culture including how to deal with conflict and team communications and decision making.

How well do you think your company creates trust? How transparent are your policies? Could you start to change your culture through recruiting different mind sets, transforming your induction and training everyone on dealing with conflict, communication and decision making?


For more about the HR Game Changer Conference click here.

For more about Paul McKenzie and Platinum Payroll click here.

For more about Lion’s LionFlex options click here.

For more about AECom’s school holiday leave click here.


Angela Atkins is People and Learning Director for Elephant Group NZ and Elephant Group UK – and also developed the Management Bites training programme. She is best-selling author of the bites series of books and is passionate about helping HR and managers create better businesses. You can follow her on Facebook  Angela splits her time between New Zealand, the UK, California and Hawaii.

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This entry was posted on January 30, 2018 by in HR trends and tagged , , , .

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