HR Trends in the Philippines: What to Watch Out for in 2018

January 17, 2018 | Thought Pieces

hr-trends-2018By Emerald Jay D. Ilac, PhD and Anne Margaret A. Jordan, RPm

The fields of human resources (HR) and organization development (OD) have been constantly evolving in response to economic, political, social, and technological landscapes organizations are embedded in. To understand this context for 2018, a recent survey was conducted by the Ateneo Center for Organization Research and Development (Ateneo CORD) to identify current issues facing Filipino organizations.

Top 5 Issues Facing Organizations

In said study, the following issues were identified by HR and OD practitioners as the top concerns facing organizations.

  1. Increasing employee expectations and demands – Given the increase in employment opportunities, as well as evolving employee needs and wants, organizations are faced with the challenge of keeping their employees satisfied to increase retention.
  2. Organizational change – With the Philippine business landscape becoming more and more complex, organizations must strive to adapt and undergo change to ensure business continuity.
  3. Increase in improvement and use of technology – Technology has been increasingly evolving in the past few years, urging businesses to adapt newer technologies to gain competitive advantage.
  4. Leadership – Particularly, the readiness of organization leaders to handle future roles during succession planning was identified.
  5. Transitions in Culture – Changes in organizations often involve transitions in the prevailing organizational culture for better alignment with the intended changes. Leaders must promote an organizational culture that would support and drive change.

Current and Future HR Responses

What can HR and OD practitioners do to address these issues? The study identified several top HR responses to immediately address these concerns. The top response was providing leadership development programs necessary to select, develop, improve, and train future leaders into their would-be leadership roles. To manage organizational changes, HR specialists assist the organization by facilitating the change process, creating a participative and inclusive change system, and ensuring clarity and employee involvement in the change management process.  In addition, not only do HR practitioners aim to improve internal clients, but also aim to improve themselves by developing HR competencies necessary, responsive, and aligned with organizational change; attending up-trainings for professional development; and developing competency frameworks or assessment tools to aid succession planning.

What are HR initiatives that will be implemented by Filipino organizations in the next five years? Respondents identified the creation of a competency-based pay system as the top response. This would give proper credit to employees who excel and perform in relation to organizational standards. Improving employee engagement surveys was also specified as a key future initiative to better understand employee expectations and demands. In relation to this, other future responses include increasing the attractiveness of flexible benefits, re-engineering work systems, and creating transition teams for possible organizational change.

Other than interventions for the organization, respondents also stipulated future responses for the development of HR. One intervention that would make technology more useful for HR is to create a self-service administration of employee records and benefits, in addition to the development of HR information systems. HR practitioners should also develop new HR competencies since the current competencies can be outdated five years from now. Lastly, instilling values on leadership and character building, a culture of purpose, and the implementation and monitoring of capacity development programs are other possible future responses HR can deem to do. This will help address both the leadership continuum of the organizations, and the organization culture that will be necessary in the future years ahead.


Erald Ilac is the Director for Research of the Ateneo Center for Organization Research and Development. He holds a PhD in Leadership Studies, Major in Organizational Development from the Ateneo de Manila Loyola Schools.

 Anne Jordan is the Research Assistant of the Ateneo Center for Organization Research and Development. She is a licensed psychometrician, and is currently finishing her MA in Organizational Psychology at the Ateneo de Manila Loyola Schools.

 Ateneo CORD is the training and research arm of the Ateneo Psychology Department that partners with people and organizations to improve their effectiveness. To know more about our services and training offerings, visit our website or follow us on Facebook


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