The Top 5 HR Trends to Watch in 2011

4 Jan

Oh, 2010, parting is such sweet sorrow. But as we wave goodbye to the year that was, 2011 has arrived and is full of promise and expectations.

Human resources management has undergone significant changes the past few years due to government legislation, the public’s focus on health and technology.  This year those areas will continue to see growth as the US and global economy (hopefully!) regains the ground it has lost.  Amid the large scale changes there will be certain areas within HR that I think will see more action than others.

Here are my top 5 Human Resource Trends to Watch in 2011:

1. Healthcare Reform

The controversial healthcare overhaul signed into law by President Barack Obama in March 2010 will continue to be a big topic for employers and their staff in 2011.

Many aspects of the healthcare reform bill will begin to take effect in the coming years.Preventative services must be covered at 100% without requiring deductibles, co-insurances or co-payments. Employers will also be required to report the value of employee benefits on W-2s. Health FSAs will cap at $2,500 and will exclude over the counter drugs without a doctor’s prescription. And then there are the penalties, automatic enrollments, vouchers, exchanges..oh my!  My head is spinning. .

From an HR perspective, there may be many questions from employees regarding the new rules, so it’s smart to keep up-to-date on all the changes that come with healthcare reform.  

2. Wellness in the Workplace 

As the cost of providing health insurance to employees continues to increase and the economy sputters toward a full recovery, many companies will invest in employee health and wellness in the coming year. Companies will try to help their employees live healthier lives to cut down on healthcare costs and to increase productivity through sponsored fitness programs, financial incentives for healthy activities and other plans.

One aspect of workplace wellness that will continue to spark controversy in 2011 is the prevalence of smoking bans. Some companies ban employees from smoking on their property, while others are requiring their employees who smoke to pay more for insurance.

Issues have arisen, as some believe this last stipulation borders on an invasion of privacy. However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that each smoker costs an employer about $3,400 annually in higher healthcare bills. I think it’s time to look into a smoke cessation program.

3. HRMS Implementation

Welcome to the world of technology. In 2011 as human resources departments shoulder increased duties, it will mean an increased desire for human resource management software.  Most solutions for human resource management are created to make the HR professional or the department more efficient at managing all employee-related processes and tasks.  HRMS solutions can also ensure that businesses are in compliance with government tax and healthcare mandates. 

If you’d like to learn more, take a look at Sage HRMS.  It offers three different configurations to help meet an organization’s needs, desired level of automation and budget.  And you can certainly take comfort in knowing that Sage Abra was built by HR professionals for HR professionals.  I know I feel more comfortable about it.

4. Flexible Working Arrangements

During the economic recession, companies got creative when it came to cutting costs. Many found that allowing employees to work from home or outside of the office helped cut down on overhead costs and left employees happier. In 2011, more companies will look into flexible working arrangements with their staff to cut costs and improve morale.

According to a recent University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee study, employees who telecommute for the majority of the work week are more satisfied with their jobs, compared to those working mostly in the office. The study explains that this is because working remotely alleviates more stress than it creates. Employees were often shielded from workplace stressors such as office politics, interruptions, constant meetings and information overload.  And going to work in your pajamas isn’t a bad deal either.

5. Increasing Employee Engagement

Employees who are engaged in their work and their companies are more productive, more profitable, more customer-focused, safer and less likely to leave. The world’s top-performing companies understand that employees who are actively engaged in the organization are priceless assets to their success.

In the coming year, many businesses will increase their commitment to employee engagement as the economy begins to improve. With improving financial conditions, some companies are concerned their best staff members will jump ship for better opportunities now that jobs are becoming more available. So don’t hesitate, it’s time to get those employees engaged!

So there you have it, my top 5 human resource management trends to watch for in 2011.  Now that you’ve read them all, what do you think…do you have anything different?  Leave me a comment and let me know if you think I’ve missed any trends!

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