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2015 – A Pivotal Year for HR

Via LinkedIn : 2014 was a year of extremes for HR. At one extreme, we saw reports of employee engagement at its lowest levels and published surveys of CEOs indicating HR was not fulfilling its potential. As a result, some business “gurus” were calling for the split of HR into administration and people performance units or arguing to move key elements into other functions like finance. At the other extreme, we saw organizations like Google leading the way on a shift to a focus on People and using analytics to provide fact-based insights to inform people based-decisions to achieve higher levels of performance. To support this focus HR organizations were faced with a dizzying array of new offerings in analytics, mobile and social HR that promised to super-charge HR into a performance driver for the business.

The reality is most HR organizations fall somewhere in between. As a result, 2015 will be a pivotal year for HR to determine to which end of the continuum it will move.

I am hopeful HR is moving more to the end of super-charged HR with the news from Bersin by Deloitte that spending on HR has increased 4% in 2014 with a specific focus on increasing staffing and technology. However, HR organizations at the highest level of maturity are still outspending those at the lowest levels by a factor of 2X per employee.

It’s important to note this isn’t just HR’s responsibility. To make the changes and achieve super-charged HR, it will require a holistic approach by both line and HR leaders to identify the key business issues, develop the right solutions and provide the appropriate funding to implement the solutions.

Josh Bersin and Bersin by Deloitte have put out their 2015 Predictions for HR (see below link). It provides a great summary of the important trends and challenges for HR in 2015 as well as putting forward some recommendations for action. Download the report on 10 Predictions to Guide Your Talent Strategy in 2015

As the piece is lengthy, I list my key take-aways from the piece here:

It’s about Business Solutions – it may sound like a broken record, but the focus for HR needs to continue to evolve to creating solutions focused on business issues and away from HR-specific topics. One of their suggestions is to move away from organizing in a center of excellence with junior HR generalists to more senior HR business partners embedded in the businesses networked together and supported by a smaller center of support for HR technology and learning.

Culture and engagement – Job markets are improving and organizations are faced with trying to retain overwhelmed employees who have been asked for years to do more with less. To re-engage employees organizations need to focus on simplifying the nature of work and creating more people-centered and sustainable cultures to avoid a talent exodus.

Simplified, engaging processes – The trend is moving away from complex HR processes and systems to ones that engage people through their ease of use and continual provision of information – social recognition, mobile learning and on-going employee sentiment feedback to name a few.

Talent marketing – Talent acquisition is now about candidate experience and marketing your talent brand to attract the 75% of people who indicate they are passive candidates. By using your people’s own social networks you not only increase the pool of talent, but also increase the likelihood of a candidate’s culture fit with your organization.

Talent mobility – Internal talent mobility re-engages employees in new challenges while reducing your on-boarding costs. Broadening out successful rotational programs that have been targeted to a few to a larger employee base may be a first area of focus.

Skills are the new currency – high performing companies invest 3-4x the amounts of other companies in growing and developing people at all levels. The trend is creating learning experiences for people through the use of mobile learning and external content (e.g., MOOCs, Ted, YouTube).

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