Human resources trends to watch in 2016

Published April 12th, 2016 - 11:19 GMT
Millennials will account for 75% of the global workforce by 2025. (Shutterstock)
Millennials will account for 75% of the global workforce by 2025. (Shutterstock)

The role of the Human Resources (HR) department is becoming increasingly important. In recent years, the HR department has become a key player in any company’s strategy; it is helping companies become more diverse, efficient and engaged.

With all the new technologies and changes the world is currently witnessing, the HR field is also seeing changes of its own. In this blog, we list some trends we believe the HR profession will see this year. These trends are based on hundreds of conversations and interviews with HR practitioners from across the Middle East, a series of regional online surveys conducted by, as well as secondary research.

Here are the 5 HR trends you will be seeing in 2016.

1. New ways to engage employees

Organizations are focusing more and more on achieving high levels of employee engagement. The reason for this is simple: Engaged employees drive the innovation, growth and revenue that companies need in order to thrive. According to the ‘Employee Engagement in the Middle East and North Africa’ poll, April 2014, 82% of professionals across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region feel engaged at work. Today, HR managers are promoting open communication channels and fostering a feeling of corporate citizenship across their organizations. Here are five ways to encourage employee engagement in your company that will truly make a difference.


2. Cost-effective training

With the world’s fast-paced advancements in all areas, companies need to stay up-to-date. Today, companies are adopting internal training programs as opposed to external ones. In 2016, keeping the skills of your workforce up to date will be more important than ever. Many companies immediately turn to an external training firm but it is worth thinking about the expertise and experience already in your company and how you can tap into this for the benefit of the rest of your staff. Your younger employees, for example, probably have technological knowledge which an older generation might struggle with. Harnessing this peer to peer learning can be an efficient and cost-effective way of increasing skills, and the knowledge transferred is likely to be relevant because it is delivered by people who understand your organization. You can find more about the preferred and best methods for training in the January 2016 Career Development in the Middle East and North Africa survey.


3. Reliance on big data and analytics

Companies that want to gain a competitive edge are using analytics to collect data-driven insights and then taking action to refine their recruitment, compensation and retention strategies. Companies are now collecting all sorts of data that come from a variety of sources; ranging from performance numbers and attendance, to job satisfaction surveys and tracking employee life events. These companies are aware of the importance of using analytics to help them outline trends in the job market and improve their HR strategies. Not only is there a lot of employee data that is becoming readily available, but HR teams have started to understand what to do with that data and how to make sense of it. This, of course, requires a deep understanding of analytics and data science, andHR teams are hiring data scientists and analytics professionals to help them make better sense of their people.


4. More attention to employee health and wellness

With the increasing importance of healthy lifestyles, many companies have started offering and investing in wellness programs to ensure their employees are happy, healthy and productive. According to the ‘Health and Lifestyle in the Middle East and North Africa’ poll, March 2016, over 87% of professionals in the region are more likely to exercise if their companies offered a gym or gym subscriptions. The ‘The Role of HR in the Middle East and North Africa Workplace’ poll, December 2015, shows that 66% of professionals in the region feel that their HR department effectively promotes employee wellness.


5. More jobs for millennials

According to a Deloitte research, millennials will account for 75% of the global workforce by 2025. In some companies, they already constitute a majority. Millennials are the workforce of tomorrow; they’re energetic, creative and are interested in making their workplaces more innovative. They are still full of ambition and are willing to learn and make mistakes in order grow and improve their skills. They are the social media generation and are capable of managing social media and other digital marketing roles better than their older counterparts. According to the Millennials in the Middle East and North Africa survey, February 2014, millennials are willing to sacrifice their personal life in order to further their career. Organizations that want to attract and retain fresh talent will need to recruit this cohort of digital natives and ensure that their journey through hiring and onboarding is supported through mobile and social platforms.


By Ghadi El Hajj

This article originally appeared in

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