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HR Automation and Work Trends 2015 (And Beyond)

Posted by Mathew French

12 March 2015

As part of our 'Thought Leadership Series,' we have an Australian HR expert providing a deep dive and sharing her years of experience across a broad range of HR issues, including intergenerational trends. These papers also illustrate the importance of HR automation in improving the efficiency of HR processes and procedures. In between each monthly paper from Avril Henry & Associates, we're going to take a look at some of the other current trends in work and the workplace according to market research. We want you to have the most well-rounded and accurate understanding of the future of work as possible.

Below is an outline of some of the top trends across the Australian and global markets for 2015 and beyond. If you pay attention to the subtext of most of these trends, it is obvious that individuals are seeking greater degrees of freedom and self-empowerment in their worklives than ever before.

1. Empowerment through self development 

Employees of the future take career development into their own hands. Online data availability and learning centres, empower individuals to be able to research where workforce skills shortages exist and subsequently drive their own skill acquisition.

A research survey by Right Management (part of Manpower Group), has found that 36 per cent of Australian respondents think their organisation lacks skilled talent for key positions; 18 per cent report a shortage of talent at all levels.

If employers do not take the time to invest in and develop critical skills for their employees, then those employees will be more inclined to take a proactive approach to their own development. This kind of upskilling is very important to Generations X and Y, and these individuals won't appreciate organisations that do not give them adequate opportunities to improve their skill sets as part of their role.

2. The popularity of freelancing will increase

Approximately 30 percent of Australians are doing some form of freelance work. If you look at US statistics and assume that the Australian market will follow a similar incline towards their numbers, this will grow to approximately 50 percent in the next 5 years.

Kyri Theos, country manager of Elance-oDesk, says that the latest research indicates 3.7 million Aussies are freelancing.

'Australians are increasingly choosing to work independently as freelancers . . . as the connected age opens up more and more opportunities for freelancers, a diverse and more flexible workforce will be the new norm.'

3. I'm the boss of me

Millennial Branding research indicates that 72 per cent of people under 30, who mix freelancing with working for an employer, have being their own boss as their ultimate goal. Two-thirds plan to make this a reality during 2015. As tertiary-educated millenials hit the workforce, they will not wait as long as their predecessors did to step into the role of self-employment.

4. Moveable feast

The days of working 9 to 5, in the same company, for an entire career, are long gone.

With web-based technology and mobile optimsed everything, most workers don't need to sit at their desks all day any more. Nor do many of them want to. Employees can work from the office, from home, from a great cafe with wifi, from the road. You name it, you can pretty much work from there these days.

It is expected that the trend of face to face meetings (as a result of low cost air travel) will spike as the highly mobile Millennial Generation take their places in the Australian workforce.

Individuals will be on the move more than ever before in the mobile optimised, wifi connected world of the future.


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5. Internships

Approximately six years from now (assuming that the retirement age stays where it is), the majority of baby boomers will be putting their feet up in retirement. That will leave generations X and Y at the top and in charge.

This begs the question, 'where will that leave those individuals born after the mid-90s?' Enter the rise of the corporate internship, especially for graduates.

Internships are a legislated form of employment in Australia these days, and just as the internship is foundation for and stepping stone towards employment in the USA, more businesses in Australia are recognising the need to access both the skill and mind set of graduates in a less structured way than the full-time graduate intake currently operates. Their innate flexibility and tech literacy will make graduates perfect candidates for the burgeoning intern market.

Add to that the ubiquity of technology, and you can also expect to see an increase in virtual internships, particularly in the financial and consulting sectors.

6. Using social media to assess potential colleagues

Digital head hunting is the way of the future. More businesses than ever are using social media sites like LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media to investigate potential job applicants. However, there are two sides to every coin and this trend works both ways. That is, employers check up on potential employees and potential employees also check up on potential managers, CEOs, and organisations as a whole.

Job candidates are also super digitally savvy, and the younger generations are motivated by very different desires and expectations to their senior counterparts. Therefore, many job hunters use social media to assess potential bosses and thus steer clear of those who don't measure up to their standards and values.

7. Human Era organisations gain popularity and market share over those based on old hierarchical structures

The days of the old school, traditional office hierarchy are dead. Human Era organisations, which lead the way in the current (and future markets), prefer collaborative and integrated workplaces as opposed to separate, silo based structures. This ethos flows right through to the office layout.

Regus studies on the future of work indicate that 92 percent of Australian businesses think collaborative workplaces offer excellent value for money. They provide a more enjoyable environment and result in better productivity. Bright communal spaces, with open floor plans, natural light and extendible desks for standing if desired, are set to become the norm.

8. Corporate volunteering

Giving something for nothing in the working world might sound very utopian and idealistic to some, however, the statistics don't lie and this is significantly growing trend that cannot be ignored.

According to Ash Rosshandler, chief executive of Goodcompany, more Australians are choosing to volunteer and give something for nothing, outside of their normal office jobs. There is a wealth of data to indicate that this is, and will continue to be, a major trend in the Australian marketplace.

'Millions volunteer each year, whether gifting talent as a lawyer, accountant or a designer, or tree planting for a day,' Rosshandler says.

9. Casual dressing, always

Remember when workplace casual day was restricted to special occasions? Even casual Friday is no longer restricted to one day a week. It is now a way of life in many workplaces, and this trend is growing as informal dressing becomes the norm (rather than a one-off wardrobe treat).

Google and other techie hipster companies started this trend last decade, and now the rest of the world is catching up. Say goodbye to the days of suit and tie.

As an HR Professional it is difficult to know whether implementing workplace trends in your organisation will actually work. Every business has its own, unique fingerprint, and what works for one, might not work for another. In this month's Thought Leadership paper, Avril Henry will explore recruitment essentials and the relevance of brand and culture. Making sure that what ever changes you make to keep up with market trends are aligned with your culture, values and brand, are essentials for the future success of your organisation and should never be overlooked.

It is also essential, as the workforce becomes more mobile and more technology dependent, that you are able to stay of top of your HR requirements and maintain competitive advantage through HR automation.

To make sure you receive a notifcation when the next paper in the 'Thought Leadership Series' is available, sign up to the Blog.


Topics: Recruitment, work trends, self development, HR automation, freelancing

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