Since 2015, HRN has presented a Lifetime Achievement Award to an outstanding individual in the HR Tech Industry who has revolutionized the field and brought much-needed insight into the industry, helping to pioneer and create true HR transformation. During the year HRN gathers opinions from the leading thinkers, movers and shakers in the HR Tech field, soliciting their feedback on who is the deserving recipient. The winner of the award is celebrated at our flagship show each October; the last two celebrations occurring in Paris. In 2017, we’ll celebrate the winner at HR Tech World Amsterdam.
In 2015 we were truly delighted to present the inaugural award to Naomi Bloom for her huge and unparalleled contribution to the HR Tech space.
Josh Bersin, Founder & Principal at Bersin by Deloitte, received the 2016 HRN Lifetime Achievement Award, presented by Jason Averbook, in honor of his outstanding work and ongoing contribution to the industry. Congratulations, Josh! This is a much-deserved recognition for one of the most prolific experts in HR. Josh is a heavyweight in the HR world. More than 60% of the Fortune 100 are Bersin members and more than a million HR professionals read Bersin research and information each month. A piece of Bersin research is downloaded approximately every minute of the business day. A much sought-after analyst and commentator, Josh writes regularly for Forbes.com and has often been quoted in various media, including Harvard Business Review, Bloomberg, the BBC and National Public Radio. Josh founded Bersin & Associates in 2003 and in 2012 it became Bersin by Deloitte.
To celebrate Josh’s positive impact, we’ll be dedicating several pieces to the amazing work both he and Bersin by Deloitte do.
The first of this series is an interview HRN had with Josh that was published in our onsite show guide at HR Tech World Congress in Paris, and republished below for those who could not make it to the event or who didn’t find time to read it during the show.
The world of work is changing at unprecedented speed. What, for you, are the drivers behind this and how can organizations and HR best adapt?
For me the drivers fall into three major categories: technology, management philosophy, and employee expectations.
First, technology. We all live in an “always on” world with far too many messages, emails, and other tools to deal with. More than two-thirds of organizations tell us their employees are “overwhelmed” with the work environment – so the job of HR now is to simplify, to curate the experience, and apply design thinking.
Secondly, management philosophy. Ninety-two percent of companies believe their organizational design is wrong, yet only 14 percent know how to fix it. We want people to work in small teams, we want to reward collaboration and continuous learning, and we want people to iterate and stay close to customers. These changes require a new way to manage people, and most HR practices – performance management, training, reward systems, compensation – are being stressed by this shift.
Third is employee expectations. We now want and expect our employer to be mission-driven, purposeful, and humane. We expect feedback and lots of information at work. We expect reasonable health benefits, some kind of work-life balance to manage the onslaught of technology we have to deal with, and we expect leaders to inspire us.
How has the digital world reshaped the way people co-operate within organizations, and what kind of tools does HR need going forward?
Most companies are reorganizing into a team or network of teams structure, and this is the way work is getting done.
Digital tools are helping with this, but it’s also a form of disruption of the HR Tech industry. We are now using a new set of work management tools that easily help us give feedback, ask for feedback, share our goals, and share our work. These new technologies are part of the HR landscape too, so I would now make sure all the HR tools you consider have feedback features built in.
Finally, I see a major shift in HR technology away from “process management” to “work management.” New performance management tools are more like productivity and goal alignment tools – look at these exciting new apps and you’ll see how easy it can be to create activity streams, networks, peer groups, and shared goals with these exciting new HR and work management systems.
The idea of the “Gig economy” seems unstoppable. Is this a lasting trend, and what should HR be doing about it?
Yes, this is a long lasting trend. Today employers want people who can “get work done” on a given project or organizational need. So in a way we are all “gig” workers.
From an HR standpoint it means we should tap into this huge labor pool in a more strategic way. Too many companies still treat contractors as “purchased services” not as talent, and there are amazing crowd-based networks available that HR should be aware of.
On a personal note what inspires you, and what keeps you engaged with your work?
I feel blessed to have found myself in this career, to be honest. I feel lucky to be able to bring all my personal work experience, our research, and the wonderful relationships I have with HR leaders around the world to help people see the future, learn what to do next, and understand how HR and business leadership can help drive value. The HR community is an amazing, loving, and tremendously supportive world of people – so I enjoy all the personal interactions and opportunity to share and learn every day. Finally, as an engineer, I love technology – so my opportunity to learn about new technologies and help technology companies and HR people understand the best way to use technology at work is also quite a thrill.
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