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Opportunities and Challenges: Bersin’s Human Capital Predictions for 2014

We often come across research reports in the industry from thought leaders who we respect.

If human capital management is of interest to you, we recommend “Predictions 2014” by Bersin by Deloitte, a human resource-focused consulting subsidiary of Deloitte. The subtitle gives a good idea of what this report is about: “Building A Strong Talent Pipeline for The Global Economic Recovery — Time for Innovative and Integrated Talent and HR Strategies.”

Josh Bersin, the human resources expert who wrote this report, is guardedly optimistic about 2014, calling it a year of “global transition and recovery.”  He sees the year as being both an opportunity and a challenge. He sees a new focus on company growth, and growth-oriented companies will have to compete for the right talent. They will have to invest in developing leaders and creating a progressive and dynamic place where people want to work. People must have a feeling that their work is appreciated and that they can rise as far as their skills, and desires, will take them. They have to have a supportive company culture.

Unfortunately, there will a short supply of people with certain key skills. One key skill is experienced leadership. Companies seek leadership that can motivate employees, not just order them what to do. Education and
training can help meet skill needs, but, as more and more baby boomers reach retirement age, companies are expressing concern as to whether this will be sufficient in the future.

Bersin calls for “Integrated Capability Development,” as opposed to just learning, for developing people with the needed skills. Throughout the report, he makes the point that people are a company’s major resource. Treating staff well is the way to get the most out of staff, but a company always has to be aware of what skills and capabilities it needs now and will need in the future. It has to develop the skills within the company. Companies have to develop a “supply chain” of skills to meet needs when they arise. They have to develop what sports teams call a “strong bench” to be sure they can meet expected capability needs.

Bersin raises the interesting issue of software firms moving to different parts of the world to tap into foreign local talent to meet their needs. Not just “third world” centers, such as Bangalore, India, but also Silicon Alley in New York City and the home of the “Beltway Bandits” in suburban Washington, D.C. A company’s competitors will know these places. He suggests firms look for ways to develop local talent where they are, not just on the other side of the world.

Staff development programs typically include well-known elements like performance management, but Bersin strongly advises that companies add programs such as career planning and development, basic coaching, training to refresh and update skills, formal and informal feedback, recognition, and other programs. Training and staff development programs also have to interface with other programs and with current and future company needs.

This report stresses the need for data collection and use. A company has to know not only where it is going but also where it is now. Data analysis, and training for that matter, has to remember that a simple system used effectively is better than a complicated, even more comprehensive system not used effectively.

We have only skimmed the surface of this interesting and valuable report. The value for those of you involved in sales is to provide a better idea of the environment in 2014 and the years after. In sales, your basic need may be to understand the environment and how your product or service fits into the environment and becomes a “solution” for a client company. At 60-plus pages, this report is long, but it is well-structured and easy to read. This report is worth your time.

About the Author

Richardson Sales Performance is a global sales training and performance improvement company. Our goal is to transform every buyer experience by empowering sellers with critical skills so they can create value to buyers and drive meaningful conversations. Our methodology combines a market proven sales and coaching curriculum with an innovative and customizable approach to learning that ensures your sales teams learn, master, and apply those behaviors where and when it matters most — in front of your customers. It’s our job to anticipate change in your industry so that your sales team can focus on fostering long-term relationships, becoming indispensable partners for their buyers.

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