At the start of each year, HR Trends are hard to ignore. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone has a message. Everyone has an idea of what happened in the past year and what should happen in the New Year. And yes… I am guilty. Trends are important because they help companies understand their priorities and benchmark their progress against industry standards. They give us a guide for what matters and what will drive success. But, the reality is that sometimes trends can go wrong. Especially when trends go unchanged year after year (mobile and social, I’m talking about you). Even when they are important, we are sick of hearing about them. But what if the problem is not about the trend itself and instead about the way we are talking about that trend. The way we talk about its value and its relevance and its impact on our organization.

Below are a few trends we believe need a new conversation and a few we want to stop talking about altogether.

  • Quality of Hire: Quality of hire is not a new trend. In fact, it is a very old trend that has been misused and misinterpreted for years. Yes, everyone wants to hire great people. But the challenge is that there is no standard for defining what quality of hire is how it can be measured. Some companies define it simply as someone that completed an application. Others ignore other important recruitment metrics like time to fill, conversion rates and source of hire. The good news is that several of the ATS providers (Lumesse and Cornerstone OnDemand to name a few) are helping organizations create this standard by defining what quality of hire is and pulling in performance and succession data to help measure it.
  • Integration: Integration is important. Very important. It’s important because HR professionals do not want to open 10 different solutions to do a simple task and it is important because the HCM landscape has become so complex it is hard to make sense of how these providers and strategies work together. There is not a simple solution to integration and so many providers try to pretend that there is. Open API’s are great but how can we help companies understand the full ecosystem. How an technology providers offer a better experience. Some providers like ADP, SmartRecruiters, and iCIMS are tackling integration through a Marketplace- providing both a network of partners and the guidance on what might be right for your company. Additionally, Andy Rice and my friends at Black-Box Consulting have the best approach I have seen to consulting on integrated talent management and helping companies overcome integration challenges.
  • Innovation: We differentiate providers by their functionality. And each year, new functionality and innovation becomes a trend. Sophistication and product enhancements are something we pay attention to and while the product capabilities are important, so many of these solutions have become too complex. HR and talent acquisition buyers want solutions that will save them time and provide a good experience for their candidates and employees. Our upcoming index report looks at differentiators beyond capabilities (the ATS report will publish early next month). Yet, too many areas of HCM technology focus on depth in functionality over simplicity. Fortunately, there are new solutions that make our jobs really easy and even fun such as GreatHires for interviewing, BrandAmper for employer branding, SkillSurvey for online reference calls, Engage2Excel for recognition and The Marcus Buckingham Company for team performance.
  • Engagement: Writing about how engagement is no longer a trend is becoming a trend. When we are talking about engagement, we seem to be stuck on the same challenges and strategies year after year. Mollie said it best in her blog last month. Let’s talk about something that will change the way we treat our employees, our managers, candidates, leaders and stakeholders. We need to talk about the experience (more to come on this next week). Let’s talk about better communication. I love the work GuideSpark is doing with providing better communication between employers and employees.

So, join us for a new conversation as we tackle some of these issues in our latest survey and don’t miss next week’s post on trends I wish we would start talking about again.