Here are the top talent trends that are shaping the landscape of HR in South Africa and internationally...


In the past few years, HR has seen an explosion of digitisation and technology. With online, cloud-based software becoming more common and data becoming more easily accessible, analytics and data-driven decisions have been highlighted as key areas to improve business performance and edge out the competition.

So what are the latest trends in HR – those likely to shape the talent management landscape in years to come? Well, this year it’s all about integrating technology and embracing rapid change – along with the need to future-proof both jobs and employees.

Trend 1: Gamification

What started out on a small-scale – gamification of fitness and savings habits via reward apps – has burgeoned into a full-blown trend that is taking over the workplace. And the same is true for HR. Gamification is the perfect way to tackle ongoing human capital needs, such as employee engagement, performance management and rewards/recognition.

2018 will see more talent management strategies incorporate online and app-based gamified solutions. One of the biggest new areas in which this is being applied is employee benefits. Via gamification, benefits have gone from a standard offering for all to a personalised bundle of added extras. With apps that include health, wellness, shopping, voucher and finance benefits, each individual can choose what matters most to him/her, with a great knock-on effect on employee experience.

Trend 2: Hiring for and developing agility

With the challenges of increasing technology and global competition affecting businesses’ bottom line, there is one key element that theorists have been focusing on as a crucial puzzle piece of leadership effectiveness: learning agility.

Learning agility has become increasingly popular in talent selection and development over the past few years. Why? Because being agile in the face of change has been shown to be a key differentiator in the performance of leaders, teams and professionals. Measuring learning agility can tell you who is likely to effectively develop new behaviours in the face of new experiences, and who can keep pace with constant change.

Trend 3: Future-proofing jobs

Certain jobs we have today probably won’t exist in ten years. And in a decade, they may be replaced with a whole host of new roles. Where does this leave your employees? In the coming years, HR and talent specialists will need to step up to the plate to try and solve this challenge. This means deciding how best to develop existing potential and how best to hire new talent to move into new (and possibly unknown) future positions.

A very large part of this is measuring learning agility, to identify agile leaders and staff. Building small, agile teams who can perform effectively and move quickly will be crucial for success. Lastly, trend analyses need to be incorporated into talent strategies to make sure that the organisation is keeping up to date with changes in the industry and the global workplace.

Trend 4: Next level talent analytics

Talent analytics has been a buzzword for many years, with smart software and real-time dashboards providing HR teams with more insights than ever before. As the analytics trend continues, more advanced techniques are being experimented on and introduced to big business.

With a move toward data and insights driven talent management, predictive models and artificial intelligence will become the buzzwords in future. With large amounts of data collected and available, this can be applied to predict a number of business outcomes, including employee engagement, tenure, remuneration and more.

Data security has also become an important issue, as the Protection of Personal Information (POPI) act becomes more entrenched in South African business processes and policies.

Trend 5: Real-time learning and development

Along with the need to select for and develop the agility of employees, HR, and organisations as a whole, need to develop a strong culture of development to ensure that they keep pace with industry change.

Technology has also led to a change in traditional learning models. Gamification and online training has allowed more and more businesses to move away from traditional, structured learning towards real-time, informal learning that takes place incrementally (also known as micro-learning).

The challenge that remains is to ensure that employees take full advantage of the learning opportunities that are made available, and to find out their unique learning styles to establish personalised training programmes with the most effective transfer of skills.

The overall theme of 2018: Technology takes over

All of the HR trends have a simple point in common – technology and the flood of constant change. Keeping pace with competitors means developing a strong relationship between people and technology; HR need to become the architects of this relationship.

Advanced technology, artificial intelligence and data-driven systems mean that fundamental changes need to happen, and that HR’s role is to ensure that the leaders of the business are agile enough to drive and sustain these changes.

Sources: HR Trend InstituteHCA Magazine

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