HR, Leadership, Technology, and Talent Management Predictions for 2013

HR, Leadership, Technology, and Talent Management Predictions for 2013


By Josh

2013 looks to be a year of global growth, but for HR and talent leaders, it will likely continue to present challenges. Bersin by Deloitte just released our 2013 predictions for corporate HR, leadership, and talent management.  You can read the entire report here.

Overall:  A year of global talent imbalances. 

As the economy starts to grow here and around the world, companies see major imbalances in their skills. Our research shows organizations are struggling to build a global leadership pipeline, train leaders locally, develop strategic mobility programs, and deepen core technical skills. Workforce capabilities have not kept up with the varying changes in business demand, creating an imbalance between what businesses need and they can find in the labor market.

Prediction 1: Flatter organizations and focus on agility will change HR practices.

In 2013 more and more companies will see the value of what we call “agile management” and “agile HR.” Organizations now operate as flattened, cross-functional teams, creating demand for less top-down HR and management styles.

This is forcing changes in performance and goal management, performance management, reward strategies, and leadership skills. Our research shows that companies which revisit goals for employees quarterly, for example, outperform those which set goals annually by more than 30%.

High performing managers play a hands-on role, redefining the role of leadership. Witness the growth of cloud-based technology and service companies which are rapidly disrupting more traditional organizations.  These fast-movers focus heavily on decentralized, hands-on, technical leadership.

Prediction 2: HR Transformation projects will accelerate.

Many companies we talk with want to “transform HR.” It’s high time. The HR organization of the past is dying away, being replaced by a team of highly skilled and specialized professionals. Just as sales, marketing, manufacturing, and finance professionals have become highly specialized, so will HR. And cloud-based systems will finally make integrated HR technology to many organizations.

Developing a global HR service delivery model is also a big topic this year. We predict a new model of HR will emerge, one which focuses on global delivery of core services, talent services, as well as what we call “strategic enablement” services.  And technology will play a much larger role. (Look at the rapid growth in HR technology companies.)

Prediction 3: Global leadership and bench-strength will be a high priority.

Of all the programs HR executives want to improve, our research shows that global leadership is #1. And our research also shows that companies with mature leadership development strategies dramatically outperform their peers. If there’s anything you should invest in this year, it’s revamping and expanding your global leadership development program. More details in the predictions report.

Prediction 4: Globalization of HR and talent practices will be a major focus.

Many HR programs are developed at a corporate location and then “rolled out” to the business. Unfortunately this often doesn’t work. The way people need to be sourced, managed, compensated, and evaluated varies by geography. Why? There are workforce dynamic differences (some countries have huge labor shortages), cultural differences (some countries require individual motivation, others thrive on group motivation), and skills differences.

In 2013 organizations should learn how to “globally localize” all strategic HR programs. This means shifting authority toward the business and improving local HR skills (more on this below).

Prediction 5: Capability development and continuous learning will begin to replace the focus on “informal learning.”

The L&D industry has gone through a renaissance over the last few years as companies have focused efforts on what we call “informal learning.” It’s time to consider throwing that phrase away and rather focus on “continuous capability development.”

In 2013  we see organizations focused on on-demand training, coaching, simulations, and management-led on the job programs. Spending on corporate training is up (12% last year), and more than 60% of all L&D spending is now spent on “non-classroom” content and programs. The world of blended learning has become very real and this year companies need to focus on their learning architecture, standardizing technology platforms, and developing the skills to build game and simulation-based programs.

Prediction 6: Specialization and career development will emerge as a key talent strategy.

Jobs have become highly specialized (Read “”The End of a Job as We Know It for more detail.). As a result, the need to develop deep skills has increased. So if you want to build a high-performing company, you should let people specialize and put in place programs which facilitate in-place promotion and developmental job rotation. We need fewer managers and more “doers” these days, and that means we must focus on skills ladders, professional career programs, and formalized career development programs.

Deloitte’s Mass Career Customization describes the new world of careers. Organizations must develop a career “lattice” not only a “ladder,” enabling employees to move horizontally, and sometimes out of the workforce (temporarily) to continuously improve engagement, retention, and performance.

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