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HR Predictions for 2016: Prepare to harness technology, analytics, and diversity and inclusion

Is your firm having difficulty attracting and retaining great employees? Maybe it’s time to employ some inventive HR strategies.

According to a new report (“Predictions for 2016: A Bold New World of Talent, Learning, Leadership and HR Technology Ahead”) from Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP, in 2016, organizations will be challenged to design a more engaging and productive workplace if they want to attract and retain employees.

“New digital technologies, increased transparency in employment brand and work practices, and the need to compete vigorously for talent are all disrupting the workplace,” said Josh Bersin, principal, Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP (“Bersin by Deloitte”).

“In this environment, effective HR teams are starting to practice ‘design thinking’—studying the behavior of employees and designing solutions to fit their work lives. One of the biggest challenges for HR in the next few years will be to focus on improving the work experience for employees while driving productivity. So HR leaders will have to work harder to understand what drives results.”

Here are 10 predictions from the report that highlight many of the massive changes underway in the workplace:

1. Digital HR arrives, changing the way HR organizations design and deliver employee solutions. Instead of allowing digital processes such as online learning and communications to overwhelm employees, Bersin by Deloitte anticipates HR and learning and development organizations will focus on designing digital applications to improve the way employees are served and supported.

2. The stampede to replace dated HR systems will accelerate. As HR organizations strive to build true “systems of engagement” (versus systems of record), look for ease of use, integrated data and analytics to drive a massive transformational shift—away from traditional licensed HR software to a new breed of integrated HR and talent tools in the cloud.

3. New models of talent management breed a new generation of talent management systems. For example, the redesign of performance management to an often rating-less model is driving the need for talent management software built around feedback-centric systems. Similarly, aging applicant tracking systems used in recruiting are being replaced by new integrated recruitment platforms that include smart sourcing, candidate relationship management, interview management, applicant tracking, and smart analytics.

4. The rush to replace and re-engineer performance management will accelerate globally. Many organizations around the world are moving away from top-down annual performance processes. Now is the time to test pilot more continuous, developmental, and empowering performance management and feedback processes to get the details right and aligned with an organization’s culture.

5. Engagement, retention, and culture will remain top priorities as new feedback tools come to market. As the competition for talent remains fierce, the report writers expect the topics of culture and engagement will remain high on the list of concerns. Look for new tools, techniques, and analytics methods to encourage and collect employee feedback and help leaders understand where culture and management should change.

6. Global leadership development, coupled with career and talent mobility, will take on a fresh new focus. Mentoring and coaching will grow rapidly. According to Bersin by Deloitte, coaching and mentoring are the most valuable talent practices to develop in an organization. These activities should be built into an organization’s culture and rewarded, and should include the use of technology tools to bring in external coaches.

7. The revolution in corporate learning will continue as a new model evolves. Bersin by Deloitte’s research finds that the most effective learning involves education (formal training), experiences (developmental assignments and projects), environment (a culture and work environment that facilitates learning), and exposure (connections and relationships with great people). Organizations that think about those four functions will likely be ahead of the curve in learning in 2016.

8. Diversity and inclusion will move beyond compliance and become a strategic part of business and talent management. Organizations that align diversity and inclusion practices to business objectives are more likely to perform well on financial outcomes. Prepare for the talent market of 2016 by benchmarking existing diversity and inclusion programs against key areas including age, culture, gender, nationality, ethnicity/race, and mental and physical status.

9. People analytics likely will evolve to become a mainstream program in the HR function. Using new data streams coming from mobile, engagement, and feedback applications and network analysis, organizations are building valuable databases about what people are doing, their history, experiences at work, and career progress. Increasingly, this data likely will be used to identify specific solutions to business challenges and to drive business results.

10. The HR profession leaps forward as a new breed of HR leaders emerges. Companies are investing heavily in innovation and analytics, organizations are sharing creative solutions more openly, and HR’s alignment with business is improving dramatically. Look for 2016 to be a year of positive changes in multiple areas of HR and for a new breed of innovative and strategic HR and L&D leaders to come to the forefront.


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