In 2013 we did our first year-in-review — a look back at the stories that drove HR trends throughout the year. It ended up being one of our most popular blog posts ever, so we knew we had to do it again!
That post was all about the news stories, events, surveys and research reports that were behind the big HR trends in 2013, and now it’s come time to do the same for 2014. To create the year-in-review, we select highlights from our weekly newsletter, What’s Hot in HR. The newsletter itself is powered by HRmarketer software, which gathers and analyzes five thousand pieces of content and social posts every day to determine HR trends, identify the most popular content and provide a unique and real-time look into what’s happening in the HR marketplace.
So without further delay, here is a selection of the hot HR topics throughout 2014:
Continuing the trend from 2013, flexible working was a hot topic, as there was significant growth in companies hiring remote workers and offering expanded telecommuting policies. Driving the spike in the topic was one of the most popular articles for the month of January — Telecommuting Is The Future of Work, by Meghan M. Biro. And we continued to see the topics of remote workers, telework and flexible working popular throughout the year.
When the president of the United States gives his annual State of the Union address, the ideas and plans he announces impact HR trends. Two topics President Obama talked about relating to the world of work — equal pay and retirement savings — spiked after his speech. He announced a new “myRA plan” to allow lower income workers to enroll in a new retirement savings plan.
Employee appreciation and employee motivation were top trends as Employee Appreciation Day was recognized on March 7, 2014, and many vendors and HR bloggers took advantage by putting out content on how and why to show appreciation to employees, like this post from Blogging4Jobs. Plus, workplace wellness vendor Virgin Pulse released its U.S. employee survey, which revealed some fascinating insights about how employees really feel about their employers. The results also provided some ideas in what works to motivate employees – it’s not massage chairs or nap rooms.
Two independent surveys released this month focused on the issue of workplace stress. Monster Worldwide’s survey revealed how commonly stress at work causes employees to look for new jobs — a whopping 42% have left jobs due to stress. And a Harris Interactive survey looked at the causes of workplace stress — low pay and long commutes topped the list.
The big topic, and one that continued for several more months, was HR Certification. SHRM’s announcement that it would be launching its own certification program, in direct competition with the longstanding HRCI, was like “dropping a bomb on the HR community,” John Hollon of TLNT stated. And the ripple effects are still being felt.
Paid leave became a trending topic following the White House Summit on Working Families. The summit put a spotlight on paid parental leave, as well as other issues impacting working families. It is well documented that the United States is the only industrialized nation to not provide paid parental leave.
The Supreme Court’s decision in Burwell vs. Hobby Lobby caused the topics of contraception mandate, health insurance coverage and Affordable Care Act to spike. However, in spite of the overwhelming media coverage of the decision, some experts in the HR space wrote that the impact on employers would be limited.
The topic of job growth typically spikes once each month with the release of the monthly U.S. jobs report. However, this month the focus was on the increase in higher-paying jobs over lower-paying ones — a good sign for the economy.
And the release of PwC’s Future of Work Report drove the workforce analytics trend. The report revealed that 30% of employees would allow their employers to access personal data such as social media profiles. Doing so could expand employers’ access to new data to analyze performance, productivity and motivation.
Living wage was trending as the United States celebrated Labor Day and the debate on raising the minimum wage carried on. Additionally, in spite of President Obama not getting workforce-related legislation passed through Congress, he brought about changes through executive orders and new rules such as establishing a living wage requirement for federal contractors. Some HR thought leaders opined that this new policy, which impacts nearly one-quarter of the private sector workforce, will eventually filter through the rest of corporate America.
The topic of remote workers spiked again after Reddit announced all of its remote workers had to relocate to its headquarters or be fired. But in spite of this policy change, the growth in telework/flexible working arrangements remained strong.
And another consistently hot topic — equal pay — spiked following a major gaffe by Microsoft’s CEO. Satya Nadella apologized after his comment stating that women should not ask for raises caused a serious backlash. At the same time Gallup released survey results revealing that 30% of Americans think equal pay is the top issue for working women.
Open enrollment was hot in part due to the U.S. Affordable Care Act’s health insurance website launching its second open enrollment season. The launch featured significantly fewer problems than the initial launch.
Veteran’s Day / Remembrance Day pushed the veteran employment trend in November, with new data revealing significant growth in the hiring of veterans over the past year.
With the holiday season in full swing, the topic of employee rewards has trended as voices weighed in on how to best recognize and reward employees during this busy and often stressful time of year.
And wage growth spiked as new stats out of the U.S. and the U.K. revealed very different perspectives on what’s happening in regard to wages in these two countries. In the U.S. they appear to be on the rise, while in the U.K. they experienced a decline.
So you may be asking, beyond just being interesting, how is this information valuable to HR suppliers? When you stay on top of the issues and topics that are currently popular, you’ll know when topics that relate to your business are hot. You can share relevant articles on social media. Another strategy is to comment on posts related to your business, providing your own expertise about the industry. You can also create your own content on these topics, riding the wave of the hot issues and adding your unique perspective to exciting and provocative conversations. Plus, you can connect online with influencers and advocates who are writing and sharing on those topics.
As we enter 2015, it will be exciting to see what events, political decisions and news stories will drive up the popularity of HR issues in the coming year. One thing is for sure – HR issues are front and center in our personal lives, the media and the government.
You can stay on the pulse of the HR space by subscribing to our What’s Hot in HR newsletter to get a weekly snapshot on the trending topics, most-shared content and latest news in the HR industry. And to see how HRmarketer can help you in your marketing in 2015, see it in action in a live demo.
Also, be watching for our upcoming post on 10 of the most-shared content pieces in HR in 2014.