Prediction 1: Culture, diversity, engagement and retention will be front-burner issues

By Josh Bersin January 7, 2015

In today’s highly transparent job market, employee engagement and employment brand are becoming the same thing: If people are unhappy at work, they are not only underperforming and increasing the cost of turnover, they are also making it harder to hire good people. So a focus on engagement is a high priority everywhere.

In 2015, the topics of “engagement” and “culture” will likely become central to everything HR does. While we will continue to build many traditional HR solutions, we must ask ourselves continuously “Does this make work more enjoyable and productive?” and “How can we simplify these solutions to make work easier?”

Diversity and inclusion, unconscious bias, and gender issues are similarly critical issues. According to an August 12, 2014, article from Bloomberg (“The Silicon Valley Diversity Numbers Nobody Is Proud Of”), Facebook, Google, Twitter and Apple all publicly disclosed in 2014 that the bulk of their engineering and technical professionals are white men. The CEOs of these companies are now standing up and talking about this issue openly—which begs the question why the pipeline of candidates for next-generation careers is not more diverse. Additionally, only 4.8 percent of all Fortune 500 CEOs are women, according to a June 3, 2014, Fortune magazine article.

The employee engagement marketplace is undergoing disruption, as well. At Deloitte, clients tell us that the traditional annual engagement survey, while important, is not fast, actionable or local enough to give leaders the information they need. In 2015, a flurry of new tools will give managers and leaders continual feedback on employee happiness, making engagement a much more real-time and actionable topic among HR and business leaders. Think about it as the always-available anonymous suggestion box for business. Data about the work environment, managerial capabilities and the company’s mission will appear everywhere—and your job is to collect it, act on it and use it effectively as fast as you can.

Finally, this is the year to focus on culture. If we measure and understand our culture well, we can hire people who fit and use that to drive performance and alignment. If we have a disparate, unclear or unhealthy culture, we need to measure it more carefully and take steps to improve it. If your leadership team has not tried to write down or describe your culture clearly, you may be missing a major opportunity: Companies now use culture as a tool to assess candidates, identify leaders, drive change and improve productivity.

In 2015, take a serious look at engagement, diversity and culture to make sure they play a major role in all areas of your HR strategy.

Josh Bersin is the principal and founder of Bersin by Deloitte, a research and advisory consulting firm in enterprise learning and talent management.


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