Are These the Top 10 Talent Management Trends for 2013?

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It’s that time of year for resolutions, predictions, and reflections back on all that has happened during this past year.

Of all of these, it is the New Year’s predictions that are both the most interesting AND the most difficult to get your hands around. After all, who has a crystal ball that works well enough to help us get a good fix on the future, anyway?

That’s why I enjoy it when others stick their neck out and predict what will be happening, and that’s how it is with these 2013 trends from  the leadership team over at Futurestep, a Korn/Ferry company that specializes “in high impact talent solutions.”

They have put together what they believe will be the main trends shaping the global recruitment and talent management industry over the coming 12 months, and it is worth reading if only to help focus your own thoughts on where things might be going.

Forecasting “the landscape for the coming year”

According to Futurestep, “Fifteen (15) members of the leadership team from countries across every continent have debated the changing talent scene and collaborated to forecast the landscape for the coming year, based on the trends, developments and challenges witnessed in 2012 and the industry’s continued evolution.”

So, take it for what it’s worth. These are predictions, nothing more — the “key themes (Futurestep) predicts we will see throughout” next year — but a forecast by people who know something about talent management and the workplace, and who closely watch what is happening with it every day.

Here are the trends that Futurestep believes will shape the recruitment and talent management industry globally in 2013:

1. Building the internal business case

Companies are already asking the insource vs outsource question more than they have historically, both to make more sense of what outsourcing can mean for them but also to build an internal business case to present to the key decision makers and executive boards. As budgets continue to be scrutinized during 2013, organizations will increasingly ask for help in making outsourcing make sense for them in their specific situation, thinking more broadly about the bigger picture rather than concentrating on the detail of each individual tactic.

2. Balancing short-term challenges with long-term positioning

A trend that will become more acute in 2013 is the need to balance shorter term financial challenges with longer term strategic needs – such as the imperative to build a brand that can attract talent over the longer term. Due to the economic climate, many companies are finding it hard to dedicate the time, resources and budget to develop and execute a talent strategy that will continue to attract colleagues in the short and long term.

But in the next 12 months we will see organizations starting to put in place strategies to overcome this as their focus shifts to recovery and growth.

3. Global complexity in workforce planning

The globalization of workforce planning is a trend we will see more of in 2013 as organizations start – both through desire and necessity – to think about their talent more globally. As companies expand internationally, and different markets present more attractive business opportunities, they have to think about their workforce and talent in this way too.

4. Consumer-grade employer branding

Businesses will start to treat candidates like true consumers, drawing on the practiced arts of product-orientated companies to attract and engage talent globally. Smart employers are recognizing that many of the strategies and tactics used by consumer brands to attract and maintain a relationship with customers can be applied to the candidate experience.

5. The new talent battlefields

The “war for talent,” which was once ferocious and dominant, will become more subtle and focused in 2013. Businesses will not hire the volume of talent they once did, but against the current economic backdrop and the drive for growth they will be focused on hiring critical talent. Therefore, in the on-going war for talent, we will see the emergence of some new, fiercely fought, battlefields in 2013 such as the fight for talent in tier 2 and 3 cities within emerging markets.

6. The rise of talent communities

Consumerism will also underpin the continued maturation of talent pool management and the use of talent communities. The challenge, and in fact the opportunity in 2013, will be to build a sustainable strategy for engaging internal and external talent. Organizations are battling with the fact that they know they will need talent at a point in the future, but in today’s economic climate they don’t have the luxury to hire them when they first encounter them.

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7. The engagement imperative; the new norm of employee-driven development

An engaged workforce is essential to drive growth and innovation – a continued struggle for businesses in 2012. The economic uncertainty has left workforces exhausted; employees feel insecure in their jobs and many feel that there is little to no commitment to them from their organization.

In 2013 employers will need to become more egalitarian in their engagement approach — engaging all employees to retain all talent.

Linked to this is the fact that over the next 12 months we believe we will see employee-driven development becoming the new normal. It remains true that the majority of employees globally do not have an actionable development plan – they may know where they are going career-wise but they are not at all clear on the steps the need to take to get there.

8. Closing the innovation gap

HR technology solutions are becoming more engaging – a shift away from the monolithic systems that do little to engage the employee. Driven by a global business arena that is crying out for talent to reach its potential and excel solutions providers are innovating at a rapid rate.

However the level of adoption within HR departments is patchy and is not increasing at the same rate – we believe in 2013 the gap between innovation and adoption will start to reduce – because it has to. More and more over the next 12 months, businesses will look to innovative products to give them the edge.

9. Increased intention for diversity

Businesses will increasingly tend towards demanding greater diversity in the workplace in 2013. This will be particularly apparent in sectors such as engineering where there is a focus on gender equality and in markets such as North America where there is an all-industry push for diversity.

The main driver behind this trend is its presence in the boardroom, with business leaders looking to HR to ensure their company represents society.

10. Focus on internal mobility

The various pressures facing recruitment and talent managers in 2013 will lead almost inevitably to a greater focus on internal mobility and up skilling employees. Tighter budgets, the requirement for specific talent areas and increased complexity in global workforce planning will mean that many businesses look internally to solve their staffing issues, rather than externally.

John Hollon is managing editor of Fuel50, an AI Opportunity Marketplace solution that delivers internal talent mobility and workforce reskilling. He's also the former founding editor of TLNT and a frequent contributor to ERE and the Fistful of Talent blog.