Top Ten HR Trends For 2017

By Arden Ng, CEO, Blueback Global

HR trends and methodology underwent some shifts globally, over the past few years. Due to cultural, social, demography, geo-political, economic factors and rapid advancements in technology, the workforce today has been reshaped significantly. This, in turn, influenced HR trends now and into the immediate future.

Here are some of the key emerging HR trends that we are seeing:

Outsourcing of HR Functions

The outsourcing of many HR functions is a rising trend. Businesses outsource their HR functions to enable a better focus on their respective core businesses and operational activities. Besides, third-HR services providers specialize and provide better expertise and can leverage their experience working with a wide range of clients. This can elevate the quality of the company’s HR function, e.g., recruitment processes and management of employees’ performance and retention.

Performance Feedback System

The traditional annual performance review system is also facing changes. Now, it is gradually being replaced by alternative approaches, such as having more frequent and timely feedback and a 360-degree feedback process. Companies are customizing their performance review system to align with the culture and business model, so that the most effective evaluation system can be implemented.

More Millennials in the Workforce

The advent of the “start-up” phenomenon has upended the traditional work model. Just a few decades ago, a company with the C-suite composed of twenty something year olds is not at all common. Today, a new generation of millennials is about to join the workforce at all levels of an organization, right up to the executive ranks. The millennials have different aspirations, values, and expectations, especially when it comes to work-life balance. Reasonable compensation, work satisfaction, work-life balance, innovative culture, and a challenging job scope are among the set of important factors that make up the “right balance” for millennials.

Professional Development and Learning

Businesses continue to invest more in their human resources, such as continuing professional development and training. More and more companies are now providing a better learning environment for their employees where they can enhance their skills and expertise. This leads to better performance and better results generally.

Encourage a Better Work/Life Balance and a Friendlier Workplace Environment

One of the emerging HR trends of 2017 is taking into consideration the importance of each employee’s work/life balance and a conducive workplace. Companies are taking actions to ensure that employees have a work environment that can motivate them to work and contribute to the business. We are seeing more innovative set ups in the work place, such as an abundance of couches, quiet areas, and expansive pantries that maximize interactions and exchange of innovative ideas. Many companies are also allowing flexible schedules that places significant trust on employees to do work “whenever, wherever”, on the notion that this increases employee motivation and productivity.

Increased focus on labor regulations  

Governments around the globe have introduced labor regulations that are intended to ensure fair employment practices, equal opportunities and diversity of the workforce, among others. While this achieves a good outcome in the long run, it also means that labor regulations may be changing at a more frequent pace than before. The impact of this trend is that, HR needs to be cognizant of the changes and ensure that the company is compliant.

Focus on Strict Ethical Requirements and Cultural Change

In the past few years, because of corporate scandals and unethical business practices, such as bribery and corruption, there is an increased requirement for HR leaders to inculcate ethics and policies within the company and ensure adherence.

Automation of HR Processes

As technology continues to advance, and software becomes more powerful, many HR functions can now be automated. From the recruitment processes - interviewing, onboarding and orientation, to employee management and retention, to termination or retirement, almost every HR function can be automated and streamlined for efficiency.


This emerging HR trend relates to a worldwide cultural and geo-political shift: the demographic of companies is trending towards greater diversity and inclusiveness. Many studies have shown that diversity enables a wider range of ideas and innovation. In a competitive business environment, having an edge in innovation goes a long way to ensuring success of the business.

Increase of Minimum Wage and Dealing with Pay Gap

Many countries have now introduced minimum wage, or are increasing the minimum salaries for their workforce, to reflect economic shifts and inflation. We expect this trend to remain a focus area in 2017 and beyond.


Despite technology advancement, investment in human resources continues to be a priority for companies that are willing to recruit and retain the best talents. Ultimately, it takes a human talent to code software, to engineer a great product and to deliver an excellent service. Technology and tools are simply enablers to help human talents achieve greatness. Therefore, it is important the HR leaders are aware of these emerging HR trends in attracting, developing and retaining their talents. 

This blog entry is by Blueback Global, who will be exhibiting at the 2017 Global Expansion Summit. This blog was originally published here.