HR Administration

Marketing and Millennials Will Be on the Minds of Many in HR in 2018

By Elaine Varelas

Dec. 18, 2017

The days are long and the years are short often refers to raising children.

In 2018, C-suite leaders will look to HR to drive the organization’s ability to meet strategic corporate initiatives.

The same can be said for human resources and to the ever-accelerating rate of change, and pace, of work in the industry. The coming year will be all about driving strategic HR initiatives that are completely integrated into the business objectives of the organization.

Organizations that don’t value HR in 2018 will provide accurate predictions of what happened in 2017 with little or no understanding of why these things happened. On the other hand, exceptional HR leaders are committed to understanding the strategic underpinnings of business changes and proactively positioning human resources to be a key player in future business success.

Following are six ways that HR will push its organizations ahead in 2018.

Cultural Marketing. The coming year will reveal a greater commitment from C-suite leadership to refining and nurturing a corporate culture that aligns with the talent they need in order to remain competitive and sustain growth. HR has long known that talent drives business, and culture lures and keeps talent. Exceptional candidates don’t look for job openings. They look for people and organizations to which they can make a commitment and leaders they want to follow. Exceptional organizations take a long view on recruitment and develop a pipeline of talent for future hires — talent that is positively predisposed to both the leadership and culture of the organization. C-suite leadership will talk about company culture at board meetings, hire visionary HR leaders who can evolve culture for the better and recognize culture as a conveyor of business success.

Millennials and the C-suite. Older millennials now in their mid-30s will move past the negative characterizations of their generation as they move into the C-suite and bring their talents and presumptions with them. Cultural norms will include career development, purposeful work, flexible work arrangements, ethical practice and issues that align with their values or passions such as sustainability. HR practices will shift as speed and agility become the new normal, and as output, timeliness and accountability become everyday focus as opposed to a quarterly review process.

Boomers Coach Millennials in Leadership Roles. Millennial leaders will look for boomers in financial, legal and HR roles to coach them on economic cycles they have not experienced, and to point out best practices to avoid potential hazards. C-suite millennials will value their counsel as long as it is based on current reasoning, not historic practice. Managers from other generations — boomers and traditionalists — will find a role here if they respect the talent, regardless of age, of new leadership.

Big Data Use Continues. With the advancement of HR analytics, difficulty of measurement will no longer be an acceptable excuse for scrutinizing the impact of HR. Just as every other corporate division and department is managed by metrics, HR will take a deep dive into big data to measure engagement, impact on productivity, cultural impact on retention, and human resources involvement with streamlining the organization. Data will help to inform the challenging questions about optimal organizational structure for both the short and long term.

Candidate Experience. Transparency of the candidate experience through Glassdoor, The Muse and other sites will make managers and HR at every level assess their treatment of candidates. The year also will bring organizational preparedness and every candidate will be treated like a prospective customer. Candidate time will be valued, communications will be timely and managers will have completed training to help them assess talent, recruit and maintain positive relations if an offer is not made. HR will spearhead efforts to maintain the organization’s positive image as an employer, an image critical to attracting the right talent.

Online Training for Learning and Development. Employees realize that they need current skills and broad talent, and they will initiate opportunities for development and welcome any assistance. Continuous skill development is supported by the use of online learning and just-in-time experiences, which are mainstream. From Googling any answer, to shared learning sites involving video, L&D will be a daily occurrence, not an annual event. Frequent feedback and mentoring will supplement formal development strategies.

In 2018, C-suite leaders will look to HR to drive the organization’s ability to meet strategic corporate initiatives. HR will facilitate organizational success and eliminate historic obstacles to maximizing its impact. Whether you are in a small HR group or the leader of a large HR team, your role will demand a look to the future and a willingness to embrace new challenges and champion wide-ranging projects.

Elaine Varelas is Keystone Partners’ managing partner, has more than 20 years of experience in career consulting and coaching development and has worked with numerous executive management teams to improve organizational effectiveness. Comment below or email

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