March 01, 2016

The New Trends for Human Capital Management

Over the past decade, we’ve experienced enormous changes in the workplace. From the radical shift of the traditional 9-to-5 Baby Boomers to Gen Y’s revision of how and where workers report to work, there are several trends that have redefined how organizations manage human capital.

In 2016, industry experts forecast that there will be even further transformation in talent management. In this article, we discuss some trends we expect to see impact human capital management this year.

The Workplace as an Experience

Forward-looking companies are becoming aware that top talent is no longer looking for just a job; they’re looking for jobs that provide unique and interesting benefits and access to experiences. While many companies strive to create benefits that are central to the workplace, such as access to gym facilities, free massages, and gourmet food; others, such as Airbnb and Pandora, are creating what has been dubbed the “workplace as an experience”. In these workplaces, the idea is that the workplace is a space where all elements of work – physical, emotional, intellectual, virtual – are carefully planned to inspire workers.

In the case of Pandora, this involves creating Employee Resource Groups, which are formed with a minimum of five employees, and funded with up to $1,000 per year by the company. These groups are run by the members of the group, and focus on a professional development topic of choice, such as analytics or leadership. The premise behind this is to provide employees with the opportunity to bond together while learning about a topic, and in the process form relationships that will benefit collaboration.

Employee Advocacy Problems

Savvy companies have found that the best brand advocates they can have are their own employees. Employee advocacy programs encourage workers to share updates about the business from their own social media accounts. According to research from the Altimeter Group, such programs have grown by 191 percent since 2014, and are expected to continue to increase in popularity and usage. Separate research by Edelman Trust Barometer finds that 49 percent of people believe that a company’s employees rank higher in perception than the CEO, Founder, or PR department, and 50 percent of employees already share content about the company on their social channels. Additionally, 58 percent believe that socially engaged employees are more likely to attract new talent to the company.

According to Hootsuite, employee advocacy programs not only expand an organization’s social reach, but also produce more impactful results. Content shared by employees tends to get eight times more engagement that content shared by brand channels, and is re-shared 25 times more frequently.

Unlimited Parental Leave and Vacation Time

Recently the issue of parental leave has been widely discussed in the media. In August 2015, Netflix announced that they would be offering unlimited parental leave for new parents, in order to provide their employees the flexibility and confidence they need to balance the needs of a growing family without worrying about work. Similarly, other technology companies such as Spotify, Adobe, Microsoft, and Amazon have all increased the amount of parental leave they offer to workers.

Additionally, In October 2015 LinkedIn announced that they would be providing employees with unlimited vacation time. This policy was implemented as a way to empower employees. Other companies (some considered among the top employers in the country), such as Netflix,, and Zynga, also have an unlimited vacation policy. Some of these companies’ representatives point to advantages beyond just attracting top talent and good PR, such as reducing paperwork and admin for HR departments which saves both time and costs.

Workplace Flexibility

At DCR TrendLine, we’ve often written about workplace flexibility and the value it provides to both workers and employers. According to Cisco’s recent Connected World Technology Report, workers value flexibility over almost anything else. Additionally, 66 percent of millennials in the U.S. say that they feel that organizations that adopt a flexible, mobile, and remote work model have a competitive advantage over those that require workers to be in the office from 9-to-5.

In today’s world where finding and retaining top talent is a strong predictor for company success, workplace flexibility is becoming a critical way of recruiting skilled workers and providing them with the opportunity for greater productivity. A survey by ConnectSolutions revealed that 39 percent of those employees who work remotely reported 77 percent greater productivity while working offsite, and 42 percent felt just as connected with colleagues as if they’d been working at the office.


Gamification is becoming an increasingly important way of recruiting, engaging, and recognizing high performing employees. According to Brian Burke, Vice President of Gartner, employee-focused gamification applications have surpassed the volume of customer-focused gamification applications. Recent research by Gallup finds that 31 percent of employees are engaged at work, while 51 percent are disengaged, and 17.5 percent are actively engaged. Among this, millennials are the least engaged generation. And as millennials continue to become a larger part of the workforce, companies are desperately trying to find new ways to source and engage them.

In terms of human capital management, the challenge is to use gamification in a way that is strategic and part of the overall business strategy to influence worker motivation and engagement levels, rather than a way to simply dispense points and badges.

The Growing Gig Economy

According to the Freelancers Union, 34 percent of the U.S. workforce, or 53 million Americans, are considered to be contingent, temporary, diversified or freelance employees. That number is expected to reach 40 percent by the year 2020. The growth of the gig economy is causing HR departments to re-imagine how they source and develop non-traditional talent.

As companies continue to increase their contingent workforces, they need to re-think how they engage these workers and how their employer brand is perceived across the entire worker population from full-timers to gig economy workers.