Strategic HR Predictions for 2012: Brace Yourself for Change

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

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