HR Trendcast Survey Reveals HR Will Become More Data-Driven in Five Years

As Investments in People and Data Increase, HR Leaders Will Focus on Soft Skills and Become More Strategic to Their Organizations

CINCINNATI, OH–(Marketwired – Nov 16, 2017) – Human Capital Management company Paycor today announced the results of “HR Trendcast,” an independent nationwide study that surveyed more than 500 HR professionals and C-suite executives within small and mid-sized organizations about the present and future of HR. Conducted by Harris Poll on behalf of Paycor, the goal of the study was to understand how HR leaders in small and medium businesses (SMBs) feel about the direction of their business, what the industry will look like in five years, and how HR leaders can prepare for the changes to come. 

According to the survey findings, HR leaders feel optimistic about the direction of their business in 2018 and employee morale is high, but 45 percent are concerned about recruiting and retention. In order to address their two biggest challenges — finding the right people and keeping them motivated — the survey showed that the next five years will see heavy investment in people and data. Of respondents, 47 percent say they will be more data-driven in 2022. Survey findings reveal that SMBs will become much more focused on using “small data” — information that can be immediately interpreted and put to use by a human without extensive processing — for practical insights that drive business decisions and help solve big challenges.

Over the next five years, HR is expected to become less about administrative tasks and more about adding strategic value, with 82 percent believing “soft skills” will become more important and 47 percent expecting their jobs to become more strategic. Moreover, 48 percent believe many core HR functions will be automated by 2022. With rigid, legacy HR systems and manual processes no longer preventing them from cultivating relationships, HR leaders will be able to double down on data and create people-centric models of recruitment and retention in order to truly make a difference in the lives of their employees.

The survey also found that the trend toward less formal and more frequent feedback sessions continues to gain momentum. Forty-nine percent of SMB HR leaders today provide their employees with feedback in real-time more than once a year, in lieu of conducting the traditional annual performance review, and 38 percent say they plan to review even more frequently by 2022 — giving employees more opportunities to learn and grow.

By 2022, HR professionals predict their teams will be focused on three top priorities: training and development, employee morale, and employee retention. Over the next five years, HR's diverse mix of skill sets and unique perspectives on business operations are positioned to add strategic value to the C-suite. With most respondents reporting that their department will increasingly become more strategic, more data-driven, and critically focused on people development, the “HR Trendcast” survey indicates that HR leaders are gearing up for the challenge.

To access the full “HR Trendcast” survey report, please visit:

Survey Methodology and Participant Demographics
The “HR Trendcast” survey, conducted in August 2017 by Harris Poll on behalf of Paycor, is based on responses from more than 500 full-time HR managers/directors and C-suite executives with significant involvement in HR-related functions at their organization, at companies with two to 999 employees, with an annual revenue of $50,000 or more.

Supporting Quotes
“As technology continues to disrupt the HR status quo in ways big and small, it's critical that SMB HR professionals are able to minimize their focus on administrative tasks and achieve a more strategic position in their organizations,” said Stacey Browning, president of Paycor. “At Paycor, we remain committed to offering modern and intuitive solutions that allow our clients to embrace the trends of larger organizations, so they can make accurate, data-driven business decisions faster — allowing them to stay ahead of the competition, regardless of size.”

“Most people embark on a career in HR to make a difference, but many get stuck in the administration,” said Karen Crone, chief HR officer of Paycor. “That's all changing fast. Over the next five years, look for the most successful teams to embrace technology and focus more on performance. Armed with the tools to add more strategic value, HR leaders will be able to evangelize a holistic approach to the entire employee lifecycle — from hiring and onboarding through career development, learning and training — so they can spend less time on the administrative work that has kept HR in a box and more time enhancing their company's people power.”

Supporting Resources

About Paycor
Paycor is a trusted partner to more than 31,000 small and medium-sized businesses. Known for delivering modern, intuitive recruiting, HR and payroll solutions, Paycor partners with businesses to optimize the management of their most valuable asset — their people. Paycor's personalized support and user-friendly technology ensure that key business processes, including recruiting, onboarding, reporting, timekeeping, compliance and payroll, run smoothly. Paycor's people operations solutions are recommended by today's most innovative brokers, bankers, and CPAs. Learn how Paycor can transform your business by starting a conversation at

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About the Author: Carrie Brunner

Carrie Brunner grew up in a small town in northern New Brunswick. She studied chemistry in college, graduated, and married her husband one month later. They were then blessed with two baby boys within the first four years of marriage. Having babies gave their family a desire to return to the old paths – to nourish their family with traditional, homegrown foods; rid their home of toxic chemicals and petroleum products; and give their boys a chance to know a simple, sustainable way of life. They are currently building a homestead from scratch on two little acres in central Texas. There’s a lot to be done to become somewhat self-sufficient, but they are debt-free and get to spend their days living this simple, good life together with their five young children. Carrie writes mostly on provincial stories.
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