Recently I was reading an article in the Globe and Mail about HR challenges and trends anticipated in 2015. The article builds on the Deloitte report on the Global Human Capital Trends of 2014. I enjoy reviewing these articles and reports as there are often great statistics and other insights in them that are captured by the vast resources and audiences of these organizations. As HR professionals and business leaders, they really can be used to our advantage in making business related decisions.

The one thing that always stands out to me is that although the data and the drivers change from year to year, the key challenges and trends seem to be remarkably similar, or resurface every couple of years. If this is indeed the case, are they really trends? Or are they fundamentals of good management that organizations should tap into for the long-haul.

The reports identifies one of the challenges as being employee engagement. Employee engagement has been around since I was a fresh out of school manager. It’s not a new concept that should show up on the cover of this year’s business plan or something that managers should be jumping on with pieced-together programs and flavours of the day solutions. It calls for fundamental practices that are well thought out and integrated into the culture of the organization and other programs, and initiatives. I have actually witnessed one company that launched a massive employee engagement program only to lay-off 20% of the workforce two months later, and in another, they announced the reduction of the anticipated annual merit increases by half, just three days prior to employees receiving them. The outcome in both of these situations was a loss of trust, increased attritions, and the handcuffing of the company in being able to successfully launch future initiatives that really had some merit.

The bottom line is, regardless of what the trends are, only act on them if you are in it for the long-haul, and the actions you take tie into your bigger workplan and organizational strategies.

The three challenges for 2015?
Challenge 1: Lead and develop
Challenge 2: Attract and Engage
Challenge 3: Transform and Reinvent

Bruce Weippert is the co-founder and president of tap Strategy & HR Consulting,
a boutique-style management consulting firm specializing in strategy, HR services and coaching.