The devastating impact of the recession is hopefully nearing and end and as it does changes begin to take precedent. During every recessionary period there are changes in politics, economics, technology and even demographics. Yet many do not often speak of the changes in talent. Yes, with the numerous organizations now needing people to drive new production numbers and those “survivors” seemingly desirous to take a leap there will be many changes in the year 2012.
Many organizations have learned the hard way not to be tactical. The trends coming in the year ahead will require organizations to become more strategic and deliberate in the manner in which they maintain talent. Organizations must come to realize that talent is an asset NOT a liability and when treated correctly they are the linchpin to organizational success. To that end here are some of the items to look for in the year ahead:
- Where Oh Where Is the Hiring? – In the age of “there is an app for that” one does not have to think hard to understand that technology recruitment will be large. Developers and project managers will be in chronic need. And as many organizations re-engineer products to move towards the “cloud” there will be a dire need for facilities managers, critical systems and data center managers.
- The Role of Social Media – While many including myself are not the world’s greatest advocates of social media, suffice to say it is here to stay. Employers will continue to use social media outlets for background checks and to discover new talent for projects. When individuals are visible similar to products they become more noticeably attractive to organizations.
- Changing Demographics – As I research global business trends it is easy to see the fascination of changing demographics. The United States, and the BRIC countries are seeing more individuals entering retirement age sucking not only talent by knowledge from organizations. The knowledge drain has been an issue for sometime but the bigger issue is the lack of individuals to fill positions. According to research India has the youngest amount of individuals under the age of 15 ready for work. This will mean global outsourcing to extremes never experienced.
- Going Virtual – From gasoline to a plethora of commodity products everything has gone up in price. And when commercial and residential real estate begin to escalate again in value so too will commercial space. With many individuals desirous of a work – life balance and organizations becoming leaner for the future, many companies will re- engineer the work team to virtual work. And this will also bring down the cost of travel. With the use of text messaging, Skype and online meeting services such as GotoMeeting there is less of a need to be in the office. And individuals can get work completely wherever, however and whenever possible.
- Temp or Bust – While there appears good news across the spectrum the facts are that we need to add more jobs than what is currently available. It appears that organizations will remain cautious about hiring while also becoming keen to employment volatility. Let’s face it; the notion is always about the bottom line. And with health care costs continually rising, organizations will need to keep costs low. The best way to remain profitable is hiring contingent and temporary workers. Doing so helps with three vital elements: 1) firms keep costs low by making contingent employees pay for taxes, benefits and office space, 2) rapid application and production are possible by hiring contingent workers across the globe working round the clock to deliver time critical products and services 3) organizations can move more quickly through product cycles and quality care by using more “quick strike” efforts to move product. This notion will also hold as employees dislocate the time honored loyalty factor for both work/life balance and more interesting work.
- Attention to Retention – As organizations begin the shift to new workers the “survivors” of the recession will desire new work. Let’s face it the long days and routinized work have angered but also bored workers. Similar to adolescents that bore with the same toy, workers will want to move on to new opportunities.
- Benefits or Bust – Like commodities benefits for many organizations have gone through the roof and do not look to be much better. Organizations because or healthcare and taxes will seek other means to develop benefits that not only retain existing talent but new. Ideas such as daycare, flextime will be some methods afforded. However, for many years the training industry extorted huge amounts of time and money with very little results. Organizations have seen through the fog and will no longer pay as much for soft skills development. Additionally firms have seen minimal results with online learning. As such there will be a shift where employees will need to invest in their own development and this will become part of the their annual MBO’s.
- Customer Service – Firms have watched with reverence at organizations that excel in customer service. Rather than fight they realize the need and will work harder at hiring the right talent for the right culture and to embed customer service to the organization. Too many CEO’s now see especially in a service-based economy the importance of customer-centered relationships.
- Age Before Beauty – Many reports now state that pension and retirement income was diminished due to the recession. To that end many individuals will unretire and return to work. Organizations must accept these individuals and work with them on skills to be used in productive places but not before helping them understand the technology portion to keep pace in a competitive society.
- What Gets Measured – If the year 2012 is known for anything it will be measurement. In the end it is all about results and everyone from the washroom to the executive room will become more accountable. What gets measured gets repeated.
- All Hands on Deck – Innovative technology has proven many things. However, in the age of the iPhone, Android and Internet Television we learn it is not only about leaders and bytes but job rotation and collaboration. The Android and iPad technology has expressed the need to share jobs and rotate the “best minds” through product development to expedite products. Individuals will desire the ability to work on many things but also illustrate how to incorporate their passions/interests into new rapid application development.
- Global Handoff – The use of virtual teams will mean that firms can produce and prioritize 24 hours per day. With shifts to global workteams, organizations can hand off products and services to alternative time zones so that these firms become more international and can service, support and produce all day.
The biggest challenge to any executive leader is talent; always has been and always will be. The problem is that many cannot because a) they lack the time and b) albeit an issue to be discussed in an upcoming column human resources is not part of the organizational plan. However, as executives look to remain competitive in a post recessionary world the need for talent, speed and acquisition will become hot topics. This will mean the difference between surviving and thriving in a post recessionary world.
© 2011. Drew Stevens PhD. All rights reserved.