Josh Bersin Talks about the Talent Agenda for 2015

LAS VEGAS - Josh Bersin spoke at Human Resource Executive’s 17th Annual HR Technology Conference & Exposition at a Wednesday afternoon in a session titled “The New Talent Agenda: How Integrated Talent Management Has Fundamentally Changed.”  During the session, Bersin explained the need for organizations to embrace change in the new age of work and that the best companies manage talent as an integrated and holistic part of the organization.  For these organizations, engagement is a systemic part of their ecosystem.

Bersin cited two main trends that have emerged in the new talent agenda for 2015:

1.       Leadership. The number one organizational challenge is leadership.  Organizations are not investing enough in the training of future leaders as they transition from individual contributor to people manager. 

2.       Engagement and retention.  Employees are overwhelmed by technology in the workplace. Technology has virtually eliminated barriers between work and life and employers haven’t figured out how to deal with it yet.

He also spoke of several talent imperatives for 2015:

·         The quality of the relationship between the recruiting function and the hiring manager.  Hiring managers need to be coached on talent management. They also need tools such as access to the organization’s ATS systems.  These tools are not just for recruiters. This new system will require a more distributed nature of the talent management function. 

·         Cultivating candidates before we hire them.  Candidate relationship management is no longer a cute phrase, but an embedded part of talent management.  If you’re not cultivating candidates and bringing them into your ecosystem as early as you can, then by the time you post the job, you’re getting a lot of unqualified people.  Zappos doesn’t post jobs.  They create talent communities and get to know people through social media, then they look for people who match roles and offer jobs. 

·         Employer brand – Most companies get a C or C+ on Glassdoor. Your brand is the same as your employee engagement and it’s not 12 questions on an annual survey.  It’s a systemic issue. Meaningful work, great management, fantastic environment, growth opportunity, trust in leadership -- all of these affect engagement.

·         Performance. Juniper Networks discovered that because of the poor design of an old employee performance process, sales productivity went down for at least six weeks at the end of every six months. This is an unproductive performance management process.

·         Environment is important in the workplace.  Due to the overwhelming pace of technological change, most workplace environments have become complex and difficult. Organizations need to provide employees with an environment that helps them to cope with this stress.

·         Opportunities for growth – One of the main reasons people leave companies is because they cannot advance. Mobility, training and growth have a huge impact on the engagement and the productivity of your people. 

·         Leadership – Employees need to have leaders they can trust.

·         Strategy – Organizations with a defined strategy have much higher levels of engagement and are more profitable. 

·         Recognition is important – People get huge amounts of value when you simply say, “thank you.”  It actually creates a hormonal response.  They are happier, more collaborative and better at work.  Recognition tools are important and can change the way your companies function.

·         Engagement -  This idea of a once-per-year engagement survey is becoming a thing of the past. Are we using the data we have on our workforce regularly to measure engagement?  Let’s ask employees, daily, how they are feeling -- not once a year.

Perhaps the most important trend identified is the overwhelmed employee as technology has virtually eliminated all barriers between work and personal life which can lower engagement levels.  Engagement is a major issue and technology vendors are selling tools for workplace happiness and culture because it’s hard to go to work and deal with all this technology coming at us at every moment. The "interconnectedness" of technology has created a situation where everything touches everything.  Every business issue is touched by HR. 




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