Top 5 HR trends for 2012

Guest post written by: Sarah White

Each year millions of people set New Year’s resolutions for themselves.  These resolutions are traditionally based on what is valued in someone’s society and community at that time.  For sociologists, they can take a look at economic and social trends to make predictions for expectations that will be most popular each new year.   With high unemployment & debt levels, a renewed appreciation of family & friends and emphasis on health issues in North America, it wasn’t surprising the top resolutions for 2012 are weight loss, getting more sleep, reading more books, making better money decision and journaling “awesome moments in life.”

Also not surprising, “working harder” wasn’t one of them.

So what should we expect to see in 2012?  Here are my top 5 trends to help keep people from working harder.

1.     HR takes a peak at consumer marketing techniques.  While a select number of companies have been doing this for the past few years, more mid-market and conservative clients will pick up this trend in 2012 – hiring and engaging people at the emotional, not transactional level.

2.     A shift to solutions outside our traditional systems – more focused on engagement and personal connection with an organization.  Notice I didn’t say “social” here.  For hiring, Recruiting Candidate Relationship Management systems (Recruiter CRM’s) and Recruitment Marketing platforms will focus the attention back to Candidates – not just social.  For Retention, its tools that allow interaction between colleagues in the next cube over, or around the world – seamlessly.

3.     Candidate Experience.  I may be a bit biased here, but 2012 will be the year that the 40 minute application process goes out the window.  High unemployment means more people are looking, but it also means currently employed candidates are FAR less likely to make a move to a company that starts off treating them poorly.

4.     True Talent Management.  It’s been a buzzword for the last few years, but this goes beyond technology and systems.  Successful companies have realized that hiring & retaining the right people requires recruiting teams and management teams to work together.

5.     Conferences, Conferences, Everywhere!  By the end of 2011, my list of HR conferences had come close 100 in the US alone.   That doesn’t include vendor events, state SHRM conferences, small “unconferences” or ones that have yet to even be planned.  Practitioners need to take their time to make sure the events they attend are the right ones.   Regionalized events are becoming more popular so people aren’t taking as much time away from work and family.

Finally, my last one isn’t a trend, it’s more a plea.  Can we stop ONLY talking about social, please?    There is more to human resources and hiring than Twitter, Facebook and Google+.   In fact, it’s hard to craft a strategic policy for social media if you don’t understand the fundamentals.  The new technologies being offered from recruitment marketing to rewards & recognition use social in the way it should be used – integrated seamlessly into business.

With the technology and infrastructure in place to make each of these trends actually happen, it really is possible that we can spend our time working smarter, not harder.   And journaling many more of those “awesome moments in life.”
Sarah White, Principal Strategist at Sarah White & Associates, LLC & writer of
Sarah White has been an industry writer since 2006 and published close to 500 pages of research in 2011.  She has been featured in national media such as NBC News, US World Report, Bloomberg, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, FOX, ABC and has spoken all over the world on branding (SMART by Mashable, London, UK), technology (SxSW, Austin, TX) and recruiting (OnRec, TNL, NIBA, SHRM) related topics.  She was named a Top 11 to watch in 2011, Fast Company Magazines Top 50 online influencers in 2010 and currently serves as a judge for the Candidate Experience Awards.  Sarah is founder of HRTechBlog and a co founder of the Women of HR blog.

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