This Week's Herman Trend Alert

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  The Herman Trend Alert

December 21, 2011

Workforce/Workplace Forecast

Every year at about this time, The Herman Group issues its annual forecast. If it seems like much of this forecast is similar to last year, you are right. Due to prolonged economic challenges, employers are facing very similar conditions to last year. Also again, this year, we offer you our full forecast (longer than our usual alert) for the coming year. Enjoy.

  1. Recruiting will intensify among smaller employers.
    While large companies are bracing for the rippling impact of the European debt crisis, we will see the small and medium-size companies adding staff. Many companies will continue their reluctance to add staff, until they have a sense for the outcome of the elections. Worldwide, we will see areas like growth areas like Southeast Asia, certain parts of South America (notably Brazil and Chile), and the Middle East pirating talent away from other areas. Employers attempting to recruit experienced people will find their challenges increasing.

  2. In the US, unemployment will continue to remain relatively high.
    Domestically, we expect unemployment to remain over 7.5 percent for the coming year for most of the country. China’s unemployment will grow, too, as employers turn away from inconsistent quality and/or find lower-cost source markets for low-skilled labor. The continuing challenge for employers worldwide is that many of the unemployed do not have the skills they are looking for.

  3. More communities will wake up to the critical need for workforce development.
    More communities will become aware that they will simply not grow economically without having an available skilled workforce---with the skill sets their prospects seek.

  4. Metrics, metrics, metrics.
    Looking for efficiencies everywhere, more employers will embrace technology to manage processes and keep track of talent. Companies providing software to employers will see their businesses grow. Employers will face the challenges of training their people in these new systems.

  5. Companies will take greater advantage of social networks.
    They will not only use it in recruiting, marketing, and public relations, but also training and development, and even in succession planning. Large companies will capitalize on their own internal social networking sites to "keep it in the family".

  6. Growth levels will again vary by region.
    The US will have continued slow growth, as will some most areas of Europe. Others will show modest increases. The big winners in job growth and profits will be Brazil, India, and China. The lingering repercussions of the European debt crisis and the Great Recession in the US (including high levels of unemployment and depressed housing prices) will hamper expansion.

  7. A growing number of unemployed people will become consultants and personal coaches.
    The personal and professional services industries are burgeoning. More companies will "rent" the talent they need for the time they need it. Individuals will increasingly seek the services of life-and executive coaches to help them realize their full potential.

  8. Re-engineering will continue.
    As we forecasted in our book "Lean & Meaningful: A New Culture for Corporate America", companies, particularly the larger ones will continue to reduce staff and hire others in an ongoing attempt to optimize productivity and profit. The drop in employee engagement will not affect this drive for efficiency, until that decrease begins to affect the bottom line. Wise employers will engage their employees in finding these efficiencies.

  9. Far too many employers worldwide will ignore the roles of engagement and retention in their bottom line profitability.
    Though employers will have higher employee turnover and greater difficulty in recruiting, too few will take action to meet this challenge. By necessity once again, employers will be forced to look at the real drivers of employee retention, which may not be what is reflected in their surveys.

  10. In the US, the escalating regulatory environment will cause employers to need employment lawyers more than ever.
    With the continuing increase in regulations affecting Human Resources, smart employers will have no choice but to collaborate with their employment lawyers early on to avoid problems after the fact. The largest employers have been working with their trusted partners for years.

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