HR & Talent Technology Trends 2012

HR & Talent Technology Trends 2012

In The Milieu Of Human Relations Management, Blended, Learning Is Becoming More Blended And Recruiting Is Becoming More “Social.”

Talent. It’s what successful organizations are built around. It’s what takes organizations to the next level. Is it no wonder, then, that the biggest trend in human relations/ human capital management in 2012 is developing and nurturing leaders?

“One trend we’ve seen loud and clear is organizations making sure they will have leaders for tomorrow,” says Mollie Lombardi, research director in the Human Capital Management Division for the Aberdeen Group. “We’re really talking about managing talent risk. If you don’t have a backup who knows all the right moves, it can have a severe impact on your organization’s performance. Learning can be a retention tool to keep top talent with an organization as well as a readiness tool, to make sure that you have people to take on [specific] roles when the time comes. It can be a win-win for both the individual and the company.”

She observes four “pressures” driving leadership development:

1) An ever-evolving business landscape that requires new skills of its managers

2) A shortage of available talent in the marketplace

3) A drive to find more creative, lower-cost means of developing leaders; and

4) The aging workforce where key leaders retire

One of the solutions is to have those elder statesmen of the company help their successors.

“Having ties with exiting leaders being mentors or retaining some of the knowledge-transfer relationships can be rewarding for some senior leaders leaving,” Lombardi says, “but it can also allow the organization to tap into the guidance and experience they bring, even as they may be transitioning out of the business.”

Josh Bersin, president and founder of Bersin & Associates, agrees.

“Our talent management research indicates that, among all the talent-related processes in HR, more focus is being given to leadership development and succession planning than almost any other area (with performance management coming in second),” he recently wrote. “HR managers and executives must identify critical talents required by the organization; integrate the business processes involved in retaining and developing employees with these talents; and provide ongoing workforce planning. This requires  eliminating silos of processes and information for compensation, performance management, leadership development, and succession planning. It also requires better integration of HR systems for a more complete view of the workforce.”

One of the ways that companies can solve the talent conundrum is to use analytics, according to The Tarsus Group, which offers a research report titled “Analytics: The New Path to Value.” Tarsus believes that “the HR director is now expected to have a much firmer handle on metrics in the same way the CFO has a handle on finance. Using talent analytics, for example, allows companies to predict future leadership potential — and its capabilities span both recruitment and talent mobility. It can answer questions on whether the company is attracting the right candidates, when a company is losing the best quality  candidates, and [whether] the company has the right talent on board to strategically change the direction of the business.”

Other HR trends for 2012 and 2013, according to various experts:

The New Blend

What Lombardi calls the “new blend” is an evolving form of blended learning. “It’s not just online and offline learning — which was one of the first uses of blended learning — it’s really the multi-faceted learning that takes into account formal and informal, online and offline, mobile, social, and taps into all the different ways people learn and how you create and cultivate a learning culture with this whole concept of blended and continuous learning.”

According to Aberdeen research, the favorite tools and services used by leading organizations to support learning are:

1) Synchronous online training (66%)
2) Online learning portals (63%)
3) Off-the-shelf learning content (52%)
4) Learning management systems (50%)
5) Learning content development services (46%)
6) Virtual classroom technology (39%)

“This new blend is bringing together multiple modalities and multiple different types of content to create well-rounded learning experiences for your wide variety of learners who may be a part of your learning ecosystem,” says Lombardi.

Social Recruiting

Between May and August, more than 1,000 new ads for HR positions included requirements for social media skills, nearly a 160 percent increase above the same period in 2010, according to Wanted Technologies.

Researchers say those skills include being able to develop recruiting strategies and source talent by using the Internet and social networking sites. Candidates looking for HR jobs that include social media components need to be abreast of new, innovative sourcing techniques and recruitment best practices and need to know how to use Web searches, apps, job boards and social media sites to create community and generate leads. Simply knowing how to tweet job openings or scour LinkedIn or Facebook pages to find talent is not enough, Wanted notes.

According to the researchers’ analysis, companies are looking for human resource candidates who can:

>> Direct Web traffic to corporate career sites through social media channels.
>> Proactively identify and attract passive talent through inexpensive sources such as social media.
>> Build and maintain a pipeline of prospects through networking and social media research while maintaining a “robust LinkedIn profile.”
>> Create Boolean search strings, and use advanced search techniques.
>> Assist in placing employment ads with appropriate sources, including Websites and social media.

“We’ve heard the buzz about social recruiting,” says Bruce Murray, chief executive officer of Wanted Technologies. “Facts are showing that forward-looking companies are now expecting their recruiters to have mastered this  core competency. Social recruiting has moved beyond ‘buzz’ and is definitely mainstream.”

Mobile, Social Learning Grow

“One of the challenges is supporting learning after formal learning events,”  says Lombardi. “Formal has to be supported in new and different ways with new technologies.The ability to collaborate and interact after a formal learning event is where mobile and social can really come into play.

“Among leaders, formal learning programs are still high on the list of effective means of knowledge transfer, but a lot of the other means have to do with collaboration, mobile and social: participation in crossfunctional teams, tapping into subject-matter experts, and frequent informal feedback from managers.”

Lombardi notes that “Best-in-Class” companies are 37 percent more likely than all other organizations to use social learning as a delivery modality within their formal learning strategy. “Mobile and social go hand-in-hand today, even  though they are different entities,” she continues. “Wherever mobile tools are being used in HCM, there are two sides to the coin, and both must be included when planning your mobile learning strategy. There’s the employee or learner experience, and there’s the administrative side: how a company can make things more efficient. It has to start with the learner, so organizations are looking for mobile tools to push that learning out, to let people access learning in new ways, to connect people with coaches and subject-matter experts. But  those are not mutually exclusive to some of the efficiency benefits.”

Although 96 percent of respondents to an Aberdeen survey say their mobile learning tools are aimed at employees, 39 percent include customers and 35 percent include channel partners and resellers.

Barriers to implementing or expanding mobile HCM:

1) Insufficient budget to purchase necessary technology
2) Concerns about security of company and/or employee data
3) No perceived need

“Workers expect to be able to look at content from whichever screen they choose,” Lombardi adds, “and we’re also seeing difficulties with organizations linking learning programs to business results. Keeping collaboration around the learning is one of the things that can help prove that.”

Of Note…

The Society for Human Resource Management also notes these current trends in HR’s relationship to existing technology:

>> Mobile access – Employees will expect HR departments to provide mobile  access to core HR functions.

>> Virtual conferencing – HR professionals will increase reliance on videoconferencing as well as help business leaders adopt this technology in appropriate ways.

>> Into the cloud – Software-as-a-service as well as cloud-based software solutions will become the preferred direction for HR technology.

>> Leverage – HR professionals will continue to move away from viewing their role in social media as a policing function and more toward helping business leaders leverage social media for maximum employee engagement.

>> Autonomy – HR managers will gain more autonomy and flexibility in making as well as cloud-based software solutions will become the preferred direction for HR technology.

>> Getting linked – HR information systems solutions will offer integration with social media.


Key takeaways from observing the state of human relations/capital management this year, according to Lombardi, are:

1) Learning is a critical element of organizational performance, and the bigger the footprint of learning within, and even outside, your organization, the bigger impact.

2) Organizations today face the challenge of delivering knowledge in a consistent way to many audiences through multiple delivery channels. This is where technology can help.

3) Technology is the key to helping organizations overcome these key challenges — but it’s very easy to fall in love with shiny objects. The use of technology must suit the business need.

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