Is Agile And
THEN: In 2005, about 10 percent of
U.S. workers were employed by a temporary help agency, as an independent contractor or in an on-call position, according to a study from Harvard University’s
Lawrence Katz and Princeton University’s Alan Krueger.
NOW: Goodbye, company career
ladder. Hello, gig economy. In the U.S.,
slightly more than 1 out of 4 workers
were gig workers in 2016, according to
the McKinsey Global Institute, and that
number continues to grow as people seek
more independence and
contrast, the decade
before that showed
little change in
the percentage of
workers in alternative work arrangements.) The growing
Millennial workforce is
more focused on racking up new experiences than on banking time at one organization (or even in one field for an entire
career), and HR managers are adapting.
“Years ago, the old paradigm was
that the contract was defined around
loyalty and tenure. There is a new social
contract, or new business paradigm, in
which employees, especially Millennials,
are less incentivized by security and ben-
efits and more eager to take on roles that
offer new experiences and flexibility,”
says Jan Bruce, co-founder and CEO of
meQuilibrium, a Boston-based company
that helps organizations deal with worker
stress. “Instead of buying your loyalty
with tenure, we earn it by helping you be
agile and purposeful. I can’t buy you for
life, but if I give you a great skill and help
you in your career, then you will be loyal
to me while you are there.”
That includes offering more oppor-
tunities to entrepreneurial independent
THEN: Some HR managers were experimenting with using
metrics to measure the cost and impact of workforce programs
and HR initiatives, but few HR professionals had any background in data analysis.
NOW: Although there’s growing recognition of the need for
HR practitioners with expertise in data skills, the number of
organizations actually leveraging workforce data is still relatively low. According to a 2015 report by Deloitte, less than 9
percent of respondents said their organizations had a strong team
in place that could handle data analysis within HR.
WHAT’S NEXT: While analytics have gotten off to a slug-
gish start, the use of data to assess and improve everything from
recruitment to health and safety to succession strategies will
be the hottest and biggest game-changing trend in HR. In fact,
nearly one-third of companies said they were ready to make the
leap to using full, predictive analytics, according to the Deloitte
study. “It’s going to impact everything—what makes the best
team, who are the best [job] candidates and who is at risk in the
organization,” Bischoff says. “We’re going to see it explode in
the next few years.”
Predictive analytics will take metrics to a new level by pin-
pointing whether job candidates share the same characteristics
as an organization’s best-performing employees. Data will also
be used to promote wellness by identifying behaviors that lead
to higher illness rates or by determining which parts of the com-
pany have the best and worst accident rates.
“The … artificial intelligence behind the analytics is going to
get more and more souped up, more advanced,” Edward says.
But “the human element of needing to discern what matters and
why—that isn’t going away.”
Susan Milligan is a freelance writer based in Washington, D.C.
contractors—contingent workers who work on a per-project basis and are not employees of any one company.
WHAT’S NEXT: The gig economy—driven as much by the economic downturn
of 2008-09 as by the influx of Millennials in the workforce—will present challenges in
the next decade for HR, including whether and how to provide benefits to contractors
and manage intellectual property rights when a person has several different employers,
Wadors says. But ultimately, workers and companies will benefit from the trend. “If we
become more agile in [talking to] the workforce and listening to their choices, we can
create more flexibility and save money” by streamlining staffing, she says.
say they are
ready to begin
using predictive analytics.