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SHRM Identifies Top OD Trends Affecting HR

Developing five generations of workers and managing the environments and tools they need to be effective are among the key challenges organizational development (OD) and HR professionals face, according to a new trends report produced by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Future Insights: The Top Trends for 2014 was compiled by SHRM’s volunteer Special Expertise Panels, comprising senior HR practitioners, consultants, academics and policy experts. The SHRM Special Expertise Panels annually create the lists of key trends, beginning about five years ago as a way for SHRM to tap into the cutting-edge insights from the most experienced thought leaders in the HR field.

Noted among the broader recurring trends are:

  • The continuing impact of the economy, and market uncertainty and volatility.
  • Competition for in-demand skilled workers.
  • The ongoing influence of information and communications technologies developments.
  • Demographic changes.
  • The importance of flexible and effective work/life strate­gies.
  • A growing emphasis on measurement.

Specifically, the HR Disciplines Special Expertise Panel identified the following OD trends, in order of importance, for 2014.

1. There are many challenges to developing technical experts into senior leaders. There is increasing focus on the development and engage­ment of high-potential employees who possess deep expertise, drive innovation and uniquely contribute to their organization’s value proposition.

2. Line managers need to develop HR skills and expertise. As HR departments place more focus on strategic initia­tives and expand self-service models to deal with tactical requirements, line managers must become more proactive in managing and coaching talent. HR has a responsibility to educate line management and help them acquire those skills.

3. Organizational structures are becoming increasingly complex and subject to change. There is a growing need for OD professionals skilled in organizational design and change management required to effectively implement enhanced organizational structures. Understanding and responding to the talent requirements of various organizational designs is an important skill for OD practitioners.

4. Workforces will continue to diversify with five generations of employees working in a globalized environment. To be effective, leaders will need superior communication and situational leadership skills, motivation, energy and learning agility. The ability to recognize and respect cultural differ­ences and to reconcile the issues cultural diversity creates will become even more valuable.

5. The output of the workforce planning process is being increasingly integrated with career planning and employee engagement to provide information and support for employees to help them identify and choose from available career paths and job opportunities.

6. The emergence of decision support tools and predictive analytics that can be used for selection and forecasting will make the ability to use “big data” more valuable. This increases the knowledge requirements for OD practitioners due to the need to interact with the technology specialists to produce accurate and useful models to use in planning and managing the workforce.

7. Advancements in mobile technologies are increasingly being used for bite-sized on-demand and focused training and performance support applications. These advancements have accelerated the trend for just-in-time learning via “pulled” rather than “pushed” instruction.

Theresa Minton-Eversole is an online editor/manager for SHRM. Follow her @SHRMTheresa.

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