Human Resources, Health Care Reform, Trends, Benefits, Compliance, Compensation

Workplace Trends for 2017 [Video]

January 6, 2017

Workplace Trends for 2017

It’s that time of year again when we share the workplace trends we see emerging for employers. While there’s some uncertainty going into 2017—like a new president—the best plan will be to stick with what we know works: Working with a multi-year strategy and adjust to course alterations as they come. It’s about thinking big picture, being strategic, and embracing design thinking when it comes to your people and business strategies.

Watch the short video below to hear from me and CEO Bryan Brenner for a deep dive into the workplace trends we see for 2017, or read the transcript below.

 Paul Ashley: Welcome to the FirstPerson video blog. I'm Managing Director Paul Ashley. Today we're joined by Founder and CEO Bryan Brenner. Thanks for being with us.

Bryan Brenner: Thank you, Paul.

PA: Going to talk about trends; we're going to predict the future.

BB: Alright, let's do it!

PA: We'll do it! So, one of the things we're seeing in people strategies is the emerging of a new type of leader. Describe that for us.

BB: Yeah, I think what you're seeing is things like marketing and design thinking applied to HR. This actually is kind of my pet trend, and it showed up in Deloitte's work, too. So I feel validated. But the idea that everything we're doing in HR and with people needs to be through a lens of what I call employee experience, right? So if you think customer experience, you want that to be a really easy thing. You want to be easy to do business with. Putting that through the lens of employee experience means we need to be thinking through a marketing lens, a design-thinking lens. We need think about how people experience things, how they touch things, how it comes at them. And that's a challenge in HR. Are we able to make that happen?

PA: Certainly is. And the titles we see out there are Chief Marketing and Human Resources Officer (CM&HRO)--that's all one person--or we see them bringing those functions together. We also see Chief Experience Officer (CXO). So that's stuff to look out for. And we won't give away too much information, but look for RESOLVE. We have some stuff that's in this area, right?

The other thing we're seeing, too, a trend we're looking forward in 2017 is folks getting hold of their HR technology. And what do you see happening there? What's the challenge and how do you see employers responding?

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BB: I think this fits with the topic we just covered, which is the idea that if an employee experience is going to be a good one, it has to be technology enabled. That's the expectation. Everyone's on a mobile. And then in order to do that, we've got to connect a lot of dots around what we ask employees to do every day. From how they experience their job of serving customers to employee self service and things they need to take care of around benefits and compensation and all the stuff that comes at them every day. Feedback loops, one to another. It's complicated, but it's coming along. I think there will come a day in a couple of decades where we look back and it's like, this is the way it works.

PA: Yeah. And it rapidly changes. Sort of like what happened in Washington, D.C.

BB: Yeah, so Paul you need to talk to us about ACA. We'd be remiss if we didn't. We have an inauguration that's going to bring about some change perhaps.

PA: Yeah. The one constant will be change. We have a new administration coming in, a Republican led House and Senate. And a lot of folks have asked me what I think's going to happen to the Affordable Care Act. And I think the reality is that during the campaign cycle, there was a lot of rhetoric around "repeal and replace," and I think that made sense. I mean, people wanted to hear that. What I think will happen, though, is not a rapid repeal and replace, but instead a systematic tweaking. If you almost think about the ACA will probably remain in place as a framework, and Congress as well as the Trump Administration will start to make minor tweaks throughout the year. I think you could see some tax policy change--that's a pro-conservative agenda item--and some easing of regulation and burden.

BB: So, Paul, with change, employers need a strategy to manage change. How are you recommending employers think about that moving forward?

PA: I'm telling employers the same things I told them seven years ago when their hair was on fire. How do we deal with the ACA; if the ACA goes away what do we do? The same thing I told them seven years ago: Having a multi-year benefits strategy that's three years, where you're real clear on year one, pretty clear on year two, and directionally clear for year three. And you update it as years go by. Those are the employers that are going to win, no matter what comes out of D.C.

BB: Do you think that also applies to other parts of employment where we're going to see change? And is it the same recommendation?

PA: Another one that's on the compensation side. There was a lot of work done in 2015 and 16 leading up to what we thought was going to be a December 1 implementation of new FLSA overtime regs. Well, that got employers thinking about their compensation strategies. That got delayed for a while. It may come to bear truth in 2017, but the reality is employers have got to be thoughtful about their comp strategies.

BB: So be ready for change. Any other thing happening out there in terms of employers and what they're seeing, other trends you'd want to...

PA: Another one with the Affordable Care Act, that's Affordable Care Act related is the exchange marketplaces that are intended to serve individuals. Those are starting to not be as popular. There's a lot of insurers pulling out. And that might mean small groups come back and into the small group market.

So, a lot to happen. A lot coming down the pipe for 2017. If you want to check out more about our trends for 2017, you can go to Thanks for joining our video blog and we'll see you next time.

Workplace Trends for 2018