This year, the Fourth of July falls on a Wednesday, meaning that millions of Americans will get four full days to celebrate with fireworks, parades, and barbecues. With Independence Day being the unofficial start of America’s vacation season, this seems like a good time to look back over the first half of 2018 and the HR trends that have bubbled to the surface.


Upskilling: America’s shift to a service-based economy over the last three decades has led to a serious skills gap. Currently, there are 6.2 million job openings in the US, compared to 5.6 million at the same time in 2016. A recent report from PricewaterhouseCoopers found that today’s working men and women will need to reskill between 15 and 20 times over their careers. For millennial workers, this number is even higher.


Flexible work: In today’s talent-driven job market, people are pushing to work in more flexible work environments. Organizations that don’t offer flexibility are bound to lose their best and brightest to the competition. A recent Gallup survey found that 51% of people would change jobs for one that allowed them to work more flexible hours.


Augmented workforce: Employers are increasingly bringing people into their organizations who aren’t direct hire employees. The open talent economy is creating a major incentive for companies to pay for the services of ‘off balance sheet’ employees. As a result, self-employed, freelance and independent contractors now make up to 40% of the US workforce. According to Deloitte Insights, the shift to an augmented workforce is “one of the more challenging of the human capital trends on the horizon.”


Continuous performance management: With actively disengaged employees costing the US up to $605 billion each year in lost productivity more and more organizations are responding by reshaping the way they appraise. These upgrades include things like ongoing conversations and recognition programs. We’re also seeing a serious retooling of the annual performance review process.


People analytics: Only 15% of organizations rate themselves high on data accuracy, according to a study published in November 2017 by Bersin. Six months into 2018, companies are focusing their energies on using real-time, actionable insights to improve the overall results of both their people and their bottom line.


AI: Artificial intelligence is beginning to have a real impact on HR. We’re seeing it start to play a role in everything from candidate matching to application sourcing. Chatbots, for example, are expected to save companies over $79 million dollars annually. So far close to 20% of companies are already using chatbots in the workplace – and this is expected to shoot up to 57% by 2021.


Barbecues, fireworks…and putting people first

All of these trends are in response to a changing American way of work. Today’s HR pros are seeing autonomous teams replace hierarchies, professional development trump competition, continuous feedback overtake annual performance reviews, and positive performance management techniques boost standard rank-based performance measurements.

These are a few things for HR pros in the United States to consider… after they return from the long holiday weekend.

For now, happy Fourth of July to America’s working men and women!

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From Danielle Mizrachi

Danielle is a Marketing Manager at Hibob. She studied Business and Psychology and believes in the power of utilising behavioral insights to form great companies. She enjoys discovering what the future of work might look like, listening to podcasts, traveling, and hiking.