Happy new year everyone! I hope you all enjoyed the holiday season, and as we start the new year, it’s important that we plan and work hard to make this the best year yet.

2014 was an incredible year for human resources, and Deloitte had called 2014 the “year of the employee.” There was a growing emphasis on engagement and giving employees more control.

Many HR teams are still struggling with a few core things, and I’ll go through them in this post. 2015 will see an increase in purposeful technology, better and more actionable reporting, and more integration between HR and other departments.

For your company, employee survey systems are an excellent way to find out what key areas you need to improve your business.

Human resource executives are exposed to so much research and knowledge about the advantages of having engaged employees that there should be very little doubt about whether to do anything. The big shift in 2015 is measuring and optimizing the initiatives to promote engagement.

According to data from SHRM, the top 3 priorities for HR departments are managing talent, managing a leadership pipeline, and managing demographics.

Let’s go through each of these one by one.

Managing Talent

What they meant by managing talent was attracting, recruiting, retaining, and developing talent. This is a tough one for HR, just because they’re not in full control of all the steps. Retention, and part of developing the talent will also be the responsibility of the respective manager of a department.

Human resources can work with upper management and department managers to make sure that training and development is a crucial part of work. Personal growth is one of the most important things to employees, and having a manager that can coach them will make all the difference.

Retention will be the key here, and this is where I think frequent pulse surveys can help. Using predictive analytics, HR can understand why employees stay and when they might be at risk of leaving.

Frequent feedback sessions (at least once a month) is important.

Learn more about how employee feedback can benefit your company with this CultureTalk with David Hassell of 15Five

A tool I’d recommend looking into for attracting and recruiting is Entelo. They have one of the best recruiting platforms on the market.

A tool I’d recommend looking into for learning and development is Axonify, making a significant dent in the corporate learning market. They’ve gamified corporate learning and have achieved some pretty incredible results.

Managing And Developing Leaders

Many HR leaders report that developing leadership talent is hard for them, and this goes back to coaching and development.

Google does this well. Using data from hundreds of surveys, feedback responses, performance reviews, etc. they were able to figure out what qualities make a great leader. You can do this for your organization too.

Going through all of this data and finding patterns among responses of what employees think make an excellent manager, you can use that data to develop your talent.

360-degree feedback is an excellent way to discover people’s strengths and weaknesses and come up with a plan to improve.

What Google also does, which you can do too, is create a mentorship program, where the best managers help the lower performing ones. Once you’re able to discover what qualities make a good manager, and who has those qualities, create an environment for knowledge sharing.

Managing Demographics

Managing demographics has two sides to it and is going to be difficult for HR managers to do.

There are the baby boomers, who are getting closer to retirement, so that is an issue that we need to deal with, while at the same time, we have Gen Y and Gen Z workers to think about.

There is an enormous number of employees exiting the workforce due to retirement; it would be a shame to lose all that experience and knowledge. Companies need to think about how they’ll be able to preserve that.

Mentoring programs can be a great way to get that knowledge transfer.

Gen Y and Gen Z also have very different learning styles, so in terms of training and development; HR needs to take that into consideration.

Use technology to your advantage, since Gen Y and Gen Z, are very well-versed. Growing up using decentralized networks like Facebook and Wikipedia, while having instant access to information makes them a unique group to learn from.

They probably have a ton of knowledge on how to do things better at your company, so listen to them.

How Would You Improve Human Resources In 2015?