A lot can happen in ten years- and it certainly has! As People Matter’s HR celebrate our 10th anniversary as one of the UK’s leading outsourced HR Consultancies, we’ve been reflecting on the main changes that the industry has seen over the past decade since we started out /as a fledgling company.

Employee-centric work culture
While HR as a department has always put employees first, this has not always been the case in terms of the wider organisation. Over the past 10 years we’ve seen the old ‘Management knows best’ approach largely disappearing in favour of an employee-centric culture where ideas, creativity, free-flowing communication and innovation are encouraged throughout an organisation. It’s an environment in which employees not only feel safe but are actively encouraged to make suggestions and to challenge the inner workings they may consider are interfering with productivity and performance. Ultimately it’s an approach which benefits the business as well as the employee meaning that everyone’s a winner!

The rise of Social Media
10 years ago, Facebook was all the rage for bright young things wanting to waste a bit of time in the office. How things have changed – with hundreds of platforms now available, social media has now become a key business tool. Many businesses now not only used such platforms as highly effective marketing tools, but as ways to communicate internally, keeping employees abreast of company developments, connected and engaged.
For our own business, social media development has made it easier for us to maintain a visible profile and provided another option for sharing news with our clients. The ability to instantly post updates around what’s happening in our world via various platforms, means we can keep them informed ‘in real time’ and enables engagement and two-way communication in a way that just didn’t happen when we first set out.

Remote Working
While some companies already supported home-working prior to Covid-19, it’s fair to say that the pandemic was responsible for bringing about a fundamental shift in working practices which we can expect to continue on a permanent basis. The evidence in favour of a remote-working model speaks for itself: a two-year Stanford study showed an incredible productivity boost among remote workers equivalent to a full day’s work each week! What’s more, it saved high costs in real estate, reduced carbon emissions, and makes companies more agile and ‘scalable.’

Use of Tech
Never before in history has technology advanced so rapidly than in the last decade, making our systems of communication easier, faster and more efficient. Needless to say, at PMHR we have embraced the change wholeheartedly! A key area where we’ve seen this completely transform our business is the use of BreatheHR, our fantastic online system that helps SMEs manage people-related functions and processes.
It’s a self-service system that allows employees to report absences, request holidays, update personal information and more through secure control permission-setting tools to grant or restrict employee or client access to sensitive information.


Increased awareness of emotional wellbeing
The last decade has seen increasing light shed on the importance of emotional wellbeing among employees. After all, the workplace should be an environment in which everyone can thrive. Good mental health at work goes hand in hand with good management and there is strong evidence that workplaces with high levels of mental wellbeing are more productive. Addressing wellbeing at work increases productivity by as much as 12% according to the organisation, Mental Health.org.


Branding for an Improved Recruitment Process
Gone are the days where you would stick a job advert in the local paper and hope for the best. Savvy businesses today understand that even a tough job market, prospective employees expect businesses to adhere to a tough criteria and that the recruitment process needs to reflect their employer branding. Simply put, this differs from consumer branding in that it relates to the reputation of the company and helps to both attract and retain employees. Ultimately it differentiates a business from its competition.
It’s the employer brand which helps potential candidates get a feel for a business – encouraging them to apply based on an instant impression.

Diversity and Inclusion
Today, conversations around diversity include gender minorities, ethnic groups, persons with disabilities, different sexual orientations, previously incarcerated individuals, and a variety of other demographics. The increased awareness and acknowledgment of these nuances was among the significant trends HR has seen in the last decade. And high time too, we say!

Move to continuous performance management
Traditionally, performance management was linked to annual appraisals, and feedback was mainly gathered from the direct reporting manager, to be audited by HR.
Now performance management is linked to short-term business outcomes and real-time feedback which has been enhanced by the technological developments we’ve seen which enable regular data capturing, analysis in line with business key performance indicators (KPIs), and feedback collection from multiple stakeholders. It’s a model that works well.

An ever evolving approach
Just as ‘Personnel’ previously evolved into HR in the 1980s, HR is now set to evolve into ‘People’, that is; a designated team within a people-focused company which has typically embraced new technologies and ways of working.
In People Companies, HR leaders and teams have embraced new skillsets, roles and responsibilities, such as People Scientists, as well as roles in employer branding and People marketing. This again in in response to employee expectations as they seek more meaningful workplace experiences. They want to be paid fairly but they too want to work for a company whose values align with their own, and whose mission they can fully get behind.


HR is Key
After 10 years of running our own business, as you would expect, we’ve seen a lot of changes. The key thing is that HR is no longer considered the “boring admin bit”, sorting out pay role and arranging holiday. HR professionals now play a key role in a business and are capable of facilitating great change, increasing productivity and enhancing reputation.


And to our delight, over the past decade we’ve seen more and more businesses come to realise that their people matter. Because they really do.