Strategic HR Predictions for 2012: Brace Yourself for Change

Recognize This! – Bersin’s predictions for 2012 are already beginning to come true. Are your ready?

What can you expect in 2011 in Strategic HR and Talent Management? Bersin’s 14 predictions for the year seem largely on target to me. John Hollon, editor of TLNT, provides an excellent summary of all 14 predictions, but here are four that stood out to me (quoting Bersin in italics):

Prediction 2. The HR and Talent Team Goes Globally Local (Glocal)

Given these talent imbalances around the world, the first priority is to build a global mindset and global operation for HR. We like to call this being “globally local” or “glocal.” Organizations have to think about their workforces in a global way, build global tools and best practices, yet empower local managers and HR teams to act locally. This is a new operating model for most companies.

This is reflective of the ongoing struggle for multinational organizations to become truly global, which requires merging of processes, missions and values while still leaving latitude for local/regional customization. With strategic employee recognition programs, organizations must consolidate into 1 global program to gain true governance and oversight as well as dramatic cost savings. But truly strategic programs also ensure local constituents feel their cultural needs are respected and included.

Prediction 5. Employee Engagement Takes Center Stage

A startling set of statistics was just released by Mercer. In late 2011, its global research (more than 10,000 employees responding) found that 32 percent of employees are “planning on leaving” their employers, versus only 19 percent two years ago. It appears that much of the global workforce is “hanging on to their jobs” and waiting for the economy to recover. This problem – that of low engagement and employee performance – is now the second most common business challenge cited in our TalentWatch® research.

Some will argue “employee engagement” has run its course. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. Only now are organizations fully embracing the importance of engagement to employee performance and productivity, so leadership is finally looking beyond survey results to what they need to do to respond appropriately to survey findings and meet employee needs. Just one of those areas, also highlighted by Bersin in this report, is “modern rewards programs (social rewards is one of the hottest-growing new markets in HR).”

Prediction 7. Performance Management Will Go Agile

The world of performance management has been turned upside down. In 2012, we expect an increasing number of companies to rethink their traditional (often hated) performance appraisal processes. Our groundbreaking research in 2011 discovered that companies which regularly revisit their goals (quarterly or even more often) dramatically outperform those which create annual cascading-goal programs. The dynamic nature of global business makes it necessary for performance management to become “agile” and “real-time.” …

What is “agile” performance management? The concept is very similar to agile software development – rather than put the manager in the middle of the appraisal process and use a “waterfall” approach which reviews employees once per year, create a more continuous, dynamic and transparent model of feedback. …Our research fully supports this direction. Companies that revise and update goals quarterly generate more than 30 percent greater impact from their performance management processes than those which implement the old-fashioned annual review.

My CEO, Eric Mosley, participated in a webinar with Josh Bersin recently on precisely this topic (summary and recording available here). In the webinar, Josh noted the most valuable thing you can do to improve performance is to improve the quantity and quality of feedback. He highlighted Globoforce’s solution as a way to create a much more feedback-rich environment to create a much bigger and better culture of continuous performance improvement.

Prediction 10. Social Rewards, Social Learning, Social Performance Management, Social Recruiting, Social Career Management Will All Take off in 2012

The two biggest buzzwords this year will be “social” and “mobile.” In 2012, we will see the practices of “social” start to revolutionize rewards and recognition, learning, performance management, recruiting, and career management. … Social Rewards and Recognition – We are implementing this type of program in our own company.

Employees are already interacting through social media. It’s an obvious step to make it possible for them to recognize each other through a social platform as well. The trick is in keeping your intellectual property safe within your organization at the same time.

What do you see on the horizon for 2012?

Derek Irvine

About Derek Irvine

The VP of Client Strategy and Consulting at Globoforce, Derek Irvine is one of the world’s foremost experts on employee recognition and engagement, helping business leaders set a higher vision and ambition for their organizations. As a renowned speaker and co-author of "The Power of Thanks" and "Winning with a Culture of Recognition," he teaches companies how to use recognition to proactively manage company culture. Derek holds a B.Comm and Masters of Business Studies from the Smurfit Graduate Business School at University College Dublin.

5 Responses

  1. Paul Hebert says:

    Great stuff Derek – one thing I might comment on is the idea of “mobile” – I think we should look at it as “connected” rather than mobile. Mobile brings up devices and new platforms – and that does impact the “way” in which you present stuff. However, if you think about it what we’re really saying is “connected.”

    If I take my laptop to the corner and my city has wifi – I’m mobile – but not on a mobile device. I think we need to think through not only what device – but what tasks – we want to “mobilize” – that is the true issue IMHO. Not to say we don’t need to design for separate platforms but when you think of the work that needs to be done – it might make more sense to think in terms of the fact that almost everything is mobile.

    • Derek Irvine Derek Irvine says:

      Interesting take, Paul. I use the term “mobile” because of how it is most commonly understood. Making your entire recognition program available on a mobile device specifically (iPhone, iPad, etc.) certainly makes it easier for people to quickly recognize others or move recognition through the approval process (if necessary) than it would be to power up a laptop, etc. When the “mobile” version of recognition is simply your recognition program mobilized – you don’t create problems of program syncing or possibly creating multiple programs where you really only need the one.

      I hardly referenced at all the tremendous benefit of having your awards available for redemption on your mobile devices. As more and more merchants move to letting you complete your purchase with a swipe of your phone, the ability to see what you want in a store, for example, redeem your awards for that store, then swipe your phone to complete your reward selection – all in the matter of minutes – is now possible.

  2. […] I highlighted Bersin & Associates 14 predictions for strategic human resources and talent management in 2012. But while we anticipate the future, we mustn’t stop focusing on […]

  3. […] most common business challenge cited with one-third of employees looking to leave compared to 19% two years ago.” There are few factors more damaging to your band than discontented employees, trapped by […]

  4. […] most common business challenge cited with one-third of employees looking to leave compared to 19% two years ago.” There are few factors more damaging to your band than discontented employees, trapped by […]

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