Blast from the Past: HR Predictions Through the Years

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HR predictions

As 2015 comes to a close, various HR experts and analysts are sharing their predictions for how the world of work will change in 2016. Instead of throwing our own predictions into the mix, we’ve decided to take a different approach and take a look back at some of the forecasts that have been made over the past 5 years. It is interesting to see which predictions came true and which ones where, well, less than accurate.


Cutbacks and re-engineering will continue as some employers continue to optimize their workforces and eliminate “redundancy”.

As the economy begins to recover, certain skill sets will be more critical and difficult to find. These high-demand workers will be more demanding about their work schedules, environment, etc.

A focus on engagement will replace the focus on retention. The next step will be to recognize the importance of the total “Internal and External Customer Experience”.

The exodus of long-term employees will challenge some employers to get the work done, without resorting to hiring expensive contract help or paying high fees to recruiters. Enlightened employers will mine the rolls of their retired workers and hire them back on a part-time, temporary, or seasonal basis.


Innovation, empowerment and learning culture will become common themes for talent management and business growth, as research has found that organizations with a strong learning culture are far out-performing their peers.

Specialization and career development will be key, as creating deep skills among professionals, functional specialists, technical roles and leaders is critical to organizational success

Social networking will transform corporate recruiting.



Skills gaps in technical and functional roles will continue to create challenges in hiring and leadership.

Social tools and ads for finding talent will grow dramatically, forcing staffing agencies and job boards to re-engineer their offerings

A heavy focus on building programs to drive engagement of workers under the age of 30.

Organizations will accelerate their focus on career development.



More and more companies will see the value of what we call “agile management” and “agile HR.”

A new model of HR will emerge, one which focuses on global delivery of core services, talent services, and “strategic enablement” services.

Specialization and career development will emerge as a key talent strategy



Talent, skills, and capability needs become global and unlike prior years, this problem is no longer one of “hiring top people” or “recruiting better than your competition.”

Companies will find skills short and they will have to build a supply chain for talent.

Engagement and retention will become a top priority and companies will begin to look at engagement from a holistic standpoint.

Companies will build a “facilitated talent mobility” strategy which includes open access to internal positions, employee assessment tools, interview guides, and leadership values that focus on internal development.



Culture, diversity, engagement and retention will be front-burner issues and will become central to everything HR does.

More companies will deal with overwhelmed employees. As more technology floods the workplace, HR will need to take a hard look at the entire work environment and do everything possible to make work more humane, rational and simple.

Talent mobility and career management strategies will become necessary to compete; companies will need to create a formalized internal mobility plan to increase engagement and retention.


What predictions came true? Which ones are still “a work in progress” so to speak? Share your thoughts and comments below!

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