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The HR department has changed a lot in the last decade—and that’s an understatement.

Josh Bersin of Deloitte breaks down traditional ideas of HR using research, surveys and case studies to highlight innovation, potential, and change in the industry. He works with large companies to understand their strategies and update them on trends in the world of work.

In the aftermath of the 2008 recession, HR has moved from administration and compliance to understanding employee experience. His work helps the sector stay up-to-date and embrace experimentation and effective performance management.

Performance management is often a negative experience for team members undergoing feedback, but according to Bersin, good performance management is just management. Good management is about clarity, accountability, and connecting people, and similarly, good performance management should be based on those traits.

Unfortunately, HR had gotten in the way of that.

The new HR needs to understand how employees work—what perks they want and how work gets done so they attract the right people on a regular basis. The aim isn’t to make people happy, Bersin says, but to give them good jobs that are meaningful and supportive, and that will in turn make them happy. This is particularly vital at a time when, as Bersin likes to say, “The war for talent is over, and the talent won.” People know what they want in a job, and can easily find one through the internet.

Feedback needs to be quick, simple, and integrated with other tools. Employers need to become more effective about how they advise employees. Overall, organizations need to provide a positive work environment with a focus on transparency, listening, culture, and good benefits. HR needs to hire people who look at the technology landscape, and can guide companies about the tools that are appropriate for them. Employee engagement—that push and pull of energy in a company—is now an ongoing process of listening to the employee, rather than only a yearly event. Senior management, says Bersin, needs to know that they should listen to and trust its people even during bad times.

The future of HR will hold even more rapid changes. HR practices are built around individuals, but companies need to figure out how to optimize not the person, but the team. How can we align goals around a team? Furthermore, organizations are now more socially integrated. How will business organizations become part of societal good?

In this episode of Resources for Humans, Josh Bersin describes the evolving work environment and explains how HR leaders need to adapt their people practices to the demands of the modern workforce. 


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