A big focus of ARP’s research this year will be understanding what high-performing organizations are doing today, and even more importantly will be doing tomorrow, to achieve and maintain success. With that in mind, our first survey focuses on what organizations are going to start, stop, and continue doing – and we encourage you to share your story by taking the survey here – and how those strategy and technology choices influence key performance measures. As we get started I wanted to share a few thoughts on what we’re already seeing as key themes around what organizations should start, stop and continue doing in 2016.

Start Thinking about Transparency – It’s the Year of Employee Communication

Employee communication has been a theme everywhere. We saw it last fall at HRTech with the emergence of many startups focused on employee feedback, performance communication, social recognition, collaboration and the like. It was about the process around the process – using technology to not just automate functionality but actually instigate conversations and connection. But even well-established players are recognizing the need for communication, with a renewed focus on transparency when it comes to time and attendance data, schedules, payroll and benefits information. It’s about creating the experience that employees expect when it comes to accessing information, and being heard by their employers.

Stop Thinking HR Is Special

We have been talking about analytics in the HR space for quite some time, and it still surprises me that it can be such a struggle. Every other part of the business is expected to make a business case for investments. Why should HR be any different? We no longer have the excuse to say we don’t have the data. Whether we choose to access it, apply insight, and ultimately act upon it is up to us. And action is the key. We also have to stop thinking that decision-making is for other people. Even where we are not the ultimate decision-makers, HR should be enabling action in the business, not just throwing information over the wall. As Adam Hale, CEO of FairSail (more on them soon) so eloquently put it to me the other day, you don’t fatten a pig by weighing it. We have to stop just looking at what is, and understand how to guide and take action.

Continue to Focus on Demographics – But Don’t Think It’s about Age

Are Madeline and I the only ones watching Younger? It’s a fun cotton candy confection of a show about a woman in her 40s passing as a 26-year-old in the New York City publishing world. But it does raise a good point on the difference between life stage and lifestyle, and age. We often think about the difference between boomers, Gen X and millennials, but there’s so much more to our workforce than just when they were born. I think one of the next big shifts we will see is in a demographic divide between those who are comfortable being self-directed and engaging with multiple tasks and employers, and those that are looking for more structured employer/employee relationship. It’s the difference between the Uber driver and the call center agent. One requires self-motivation and comfort with ambiguity, but has potential for a higher degree of reward. The other is more predictable. These require a very different type of worker, and both employees and employers need to know which they are and which they need.

These are some of my thoughts on what organizations will start, stop and continue doing in 2016 tell us what you think – in the comments or by taking our survey. We can’t wait to share the data with you in the coming weeks.