I had an opportunity to read a copy of Bersin’s Predictions for 2013. The document provides a good insight into the key challenges that are shaping HR and Learning & Development functions in the enterprise. According to Bersin, all of us in the HR and Learning functions should be aware of the six key dynamics that are already impacting our business. Here is a snapshot:
1. Business Speed & Scale, Disruptive Competition: Oh no, not again! This is exactly the phrase that comes to mind when I read clichés 🙂 But, some of these clichés are unfolding right in front of our eyes. Look at how established brands are struggling while others are thriving. Companies that are able to change and adapt are successful. You know what happened to others.
2. Geographic Shift in Opportunities & Skill Sets: A significant majority of the world population is still starving for goods and services that people in the developed economies take for granted. This is also a key factor that is driving the speed of change. As a result enterprises are diversifying their talent acquisition strategies to capitalize on local talent and expertise.
3. Flatter Organizations, Cultural Diversity: It’s not uncommon to have your supervisor working out of a different continent. Cultural diversity is much more than a nice PR word. It also has implications for infusing new ideas and cultivating new business opportunities to keep up with the changes.
4. New Roles, Specialization, Talent Differentiation: Are your employees quipped to deal with the above changes? Can they slip into a new role tomorrow? Are there specialists that you can count on? All of these present a big headache, and consequently, opportunities to innovate the talent management function.
5. New Leadership Capabilities: How are new leaders different from the old school? Can old school leaders transform themselves to meet new challenges? One example that comes to my mind is Zynga. It feels like it was yesterday when Zynga was the knight in the shining armor. They had blown past traditional gaming companies in terms of growth and market value. And all of a sudden, they are back on the ground and shedding people. Zynga has had a strong CEO who had a tight reign on operations. Now, the CEO has stepped back and has brought in an industry veteran from Microsoft to run Zynga. The speed of business has forced this dramatic leadership change at Zynga.
6. War for Talent & Skills: Tools like LinkedIn have made it easy for recruiters to identify talent. However, passive recruitment has also gone up and people with skills are not easy to find. The focus is now on employee engagement and retention.
Clearly these challenges are inter connected as depicted in the diagram from the report. The HR and the Learning functions should take a step back and seriously look at the big picture and how these forces can impact their own functions. Organizations that can harness these insights will be successful in riding the new wave of changes.