A Look Ahead at Five Key Trends Impacting HR in 2012

Performance-based hiring PCC process, click to enlarge

The directives facing HR leaders in 2012 are clear: align with the business, engage employees, and remain flexible enough to tackle the unexpected.

Today’s HR leaders are uniquely positioned to transform isolated HR processes into an integrated, dynamic, enterprise-wide initiative. This transformation has the potential not only to align HR objectives with overall business objectives but to increase engagement and overall company performance.

Yet, in a world of uncertainty, how can organizations achieve this goal? What are the talent and workforce priorities for 2012?

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Key takeaways for 2012

How can technology help drive this change? Aberdeen’s latest HR Executive Agenda helps answer these questions by outlining the lessons learned from 2011 and projecting the most critical trends for 2012.

Below are a few key takeaways to help you prepare for 2012:

  • Improve knowledge of customers: Over 70 percent of both HR and line-of-business respondents identified the ability of executives to connect HR initiatives with business priorities as one of the most important skills for the future HR leader. Yet “understanding the organization’s industry and customers” is a skill that falls short for most of HR professionals (cited by 32 percent of line of business respondents and just 25 percent of HR respondents as a critical skill). Aligning with the business is not enough. HR needs to understand the core of the business, the customer.
  • Invest in workforce planning: Workforce planning has become a buzzword in HR. Nearly half of Best-in-Class organizations are looking to identify gaps between the supply and demand of talent in order to meet specific business requirements. This approach transcends traditional headcount analysis by including skill gap analysis and scenario planning. The ability to identify these gaps gives HR the insight needed to prepare for current and future business needs.
  • Engagement needs to come first: Employee engagement was identified as one of the top challenges facing today’s business leaders in Aberdeen’s Quarterly Business Review. Employee engagement has never been more critical for HR. Engagement is not an HR initiative, it is a business initiative. Engagement is also a true indicator of organizational development an growth.
  • Assessments will drive results: The top technology differentiating Best-in-Class organizations was assessments. One reason is that assessments drive organizational performance. Organizations that invest in assessments have an advantage: 10 percent greater organizational goals achieved, 28 percent higher employee engagement, 64 percent increase in quality of hire.
  • Technology enables innovation: Talent acquisition, learning management and performance management continue to remain high-growth markets for a number of reasons including market churn, globalization, and growth in the mid-market. Nearly half of the survey respondents were dissatisfied with their current systems and looking to invest in more innovative technology. Not surprising that one of the top strategies for leading companies is fostering a culture of innovation.

Madeline Laurano is the Research Director, Talent Acquisition Solutions, within Aberdeen's Human Capital Management research practice, and is responsible for leading and collaborating on Aberdeen's research coverage across a range of HCM topics, including talent mobility, workforce planning, sourcing strategy, recruitment process outsourcing (RPO), employer branding, onboarding and talent acquisition. Additionally she is responsible for delivering research findings via published works, speaking engagements, on-line events, and Aberdeen's annual Human Capital Management Summit. Before joining the Aberdeen Group, Madeline was a talent systems analyst for the Newman Group, driving the company's success in the area of Talent Management Technology Evaluation and Selection. Madeline joined The Newman Group from Bersin & Associates, where she served as Principal Analyst of Talent Acquisition. Prior to joining Bersin, Madeline served as the Research Director for ERE Media where she created the ERE webinar series, published the Talent Acquisition Industry Analysis and Buyers Guide, lead the community discussion groups, and conducted various research products and services.


2 Comments on “A Look Ahead at Five Key Trends Impacting HR in 2012

  1. Good points,
    I completely agree that planning will be hot in HR. Especially predictive indicators. Recently I wrote a post about them, summing up examples. http://hrseconds.com/hr-metrics-predictive-indicators/
    Secondly, I think labour flexibility arrangements will be in demand for next couple of years. You mentioned it in the beginning.
    Thank you again for good article.

  2. Align the Business? Engage Employees? None of these are HR topics! 

    These are business topics, which teams should self-organize on – if anything HR should promote frameworks to enable these, and/or coach on skills and competencies to act on such imperatives.The role for HR going forward should be to promote an organization that does not rely on central or even business HR partner, but can act self-reliant. The spirit of invention and enterprise of Resourceful Humans should take center-stage, instead of Human Resources.

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