Business Guidance

Human Capital Trends Businesses Need to Watch

All business leaders, not only HR executives, need to be focused on human capital as an integral part of their business plan. As the HR field has evolved, it has become clear that a smart human capital strategy can create a solid competitive advantage. Some exciting things are expected to unfold this year including compliance driven trends and shifts in the areas of engagement and culture.


Employment law is a constantly changing landscape, and with the Trump Administration forging ahead with its agenda, the next four years should be no exception. The possible changes may ease the burden on businesses in some areas such as the Affordable Care Act and National Labor Relations Act, while increasing the burden in other areas such as immigration and paid leave.

Employer obligations at the state and local level are also changing at a rapid pace. For example, marijuana, whether for recreational or medicinal use, has recently been legalized in many states. Workplace policies must remain compliant at the federal, state and local level.

 Performance Management

Rather than an annual review, performance management needs to be a continuous process that is part of everyone’s day-to-day language. Times are changing and we are now in the age of instant gratification where we are constantly connected thanks to Wi-Fi, laptops and smart phones. As technology evolves, “instant” becomes redefined and the workplace needs to keep up with the pace.

Employees, more often than not, want feedback on how they are doing with their work today, tomorrow and next week. They don’t want to find out how they’ve been doing all year at an annual performance review meeting when they are filled with anxiety and unknowns after a year of minimal communication. For more detailed info, check out my past blogs: How To Improve The Performance Management Process and Why the Annual Review Process is Broken.

 The Employee Experience

Organizations need to work hard to recruit and retain the best talent. One way to do this is by investing in the employee experience. Thoughtfully considering things such as the onboarding process, day-to-day work atmosphere and ongoing training can create a competitive advantage to attract and keep valuable employees. Ultimately, it also translates to the customer experience. Happy employees lead to happy customers. Things to consider:

  • What is it like for a candidate to work through your application and interview process?
  • How does your orientation, onboarding and new-hire integration process make a new hire feel about deciding to join your organization?
  • What does your working atmosphere provide for employees?
  • How are your managers trained on handling employee feedback and recognition?
  • Do you have your culture defined? If so, what behaviors drive your culture?


Benefits are a critical aspect of your human capital strategy. However, going beyond just providing benefits and investing in the wellness of your employees can strengthen your culture and even help control your costs. More and more individuals are seeking out ways to initiate healthy habits and if an employer is able to provide some stepping stones for their workforce, they can see healthier and happier employees. Many organizations are leveraging technology to further strengthen their wellness programs and the use of artificial intelligence is bringing some amazing tools that provide the employee with a one-of-a-kind experience and a better opportunity to reduce their healthcare costs (and yours). Remember, wellness is not just physical well-being, it’s mental, financial and social so it is important to create programs that address these areas as well.

 Relaxed Mindset

Historically, the majority of the workforce drives to an office, sits at a desk in a business suit or at a work station in their company-provided uniform. However, this creates a very controlling and restrictive environment. Today, organizations have to think beyond the status quo to instill policies that value the unique characteristics that each employee brings to the organization.

For example, a more casual dress code allows employees to feel comfortable throughout the workday and encourages more self-expression and insight into an employee’s unique personality. Allowing your workforce to create a warmer office space by decorating with lamps, blankets and personal mementos brings a sense of individuality to the workplace. A more relaxed mindset could also extend to offering flexible work hours and telecommuting options, where it makes sense. These changes are not new, but these options are becoming more and more of an expectation. Organizations who focus on the bottom line results versus how many hours someone is in a chair can truly escalate their productivity.


There are many more trends to consider as well as the challenge of an increasingly diverse, multi-generational workforce. As an employer you need to be cognizant of the issues and create a plan that sets your business apart from the competition. Is your human capital strategy aligned with your business strategy? To learn more about how Univest HR Consulting can help, please feel free to contact me at (484) 391.2131 or


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