Chief Financial Officer

Ultimate Software Senior Director Describes HR Mega Trends  

Jarik Cohen, Senior Director of Human Capital Management (HCM) Innovation at Ultimate Software, offered insights into key trends in the human resources space during his presentation at the 2018 Chief Financial Officer Leadership Forum in Chicago on November 28. In his presentation, “Three HR Mega Trends You Can’t Ignore,” Cohen provided details about three trends that will transform the HR space in the years to come.

HR professionals are tasked with helping their respective organizations find and engage top talent. At the same time, these professionals often need to look ahead to identify the best ways to help their respective organizations stand out to job candidates and retain top talent.

Understanding HR trends is crucial for HR professionals globally. Cohen pointed out there were three general trends that reshaped the HR space in 2018: stress, the Internet of Things (IoT) and technology.

Stress affects employees at organizations of all sizes and across all industries. Yet few organizations understand the immediate and long-term impact of stress on a workforce.

“Everybody’s under stress,” Cohen said. “We have to deal with that, and we have to approach stress … from a scientific standpoint.”

Meanwhile, organizations are frequently deploying IoT devices to drive connectivity. These devices often help employees engage with one another and stay connected to the world around them. Conversely, concerns persist about the security risks and return on investment (ROI) associated with IoT devices.

New technologies also are becoming available to organizations day after day. These technologies sometimes help organizations stay ahead of competitors in a fierce global marketplace. On the other hand, organizations may struggle to effectively deploy these technologies across their respective workforces.

“Technology is not just to replace workers and automate things,” Cohen stated. “We need to figure out how to use [technology] to make things better.”

Furthermore, Cohen said there are three HR trends to watch in 2019 and beyond:

  1. Well-Being at Work

The global business landscape is constantly evolving, and the stress associated with work continues to increase accordingly. But if organizations identify work stressors, they can take steps to alleviate such issues before they get out of hand.

Organizations need to look beyond wellness programs to help alleviate work stress. Instead, organizations must connect with employees so they can learn about various stressors. These organizations then can determine the best ways to minimize workplace stress and provide workers with an engaging, comfortable and productive work environment.

“Stress exacerbates everything,” Cohen indicated. “We have to take [stress] seriously, and we need mechanisms to understand the impact of stress.”

  1. Preparing People for the Future of Work

Merely deploying state-of-the-art technologies in an attempt to keep pace with a rapidly changing global business landscape is insufficient. But if an organization identifies technologies it can use to connect with its staff, it may be better equipped than ever before to prepare its employees for the future of work.

“We need to have a tolerance for ambiguity and create a more connected and collaborative enterprise,” Cohen said. “And we have to give [employees] connectivity in the workplace.”

Education is a key tenet of successful organizations. If an organization offers training programs and resources to its workforce, it can empower its employees with the skills they need to thrive, regardless of how the global business landscape looks in the foreseeable future.

“Most jobs that will be available in the future haven’t been invented yet. This means [the future] is not about what you know but your ability to learn,” Cohen stated.

  1. Connectivity in the Workplace

Connectivity is crucial in a modern workplace. If an organization offers employees tools and technologies that foster connectivity, it could drive collaboration across multiple departments. And as a result, this organization could foster unparalleled productivity that leads to substantial revenue growth, as well as increased employee satisfaction, loyalty and retention.

“Everybody in our organizations is connected [to the internet], and we have to think about connectivity at scale,” Cohen noted. “Collaboration has to be at scale as well.”

The link between HR and finance teams is complex, but both departments can work together to help an organization achieve its immediate and long-term goals, too.

For example, finance teams can empower HR professionals with business data that they may struggle to obtain elsewhere. HR professionals next can use this information to find the best ways to bolster talent engagement and retention.

Finance teams also can help HR professionals get the most out of assorted digital investments. If finance and HR teams collaborate regularly, both groups could make faster, more informed decisions that ever before – something that may help an organization accelerate its growth both now and in the future.

“We have all kinds of tools available to us now, but HR still hasn’t turned the corner, and we haven’t gotten scientific in how we make our decisions,” Cohen indicated.


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