With my terrific colleague, Dr. Todd Harris:

We’re just several months into 2012 and many of MCG Partners’ clients are already deep into tackling their strategic initiatives for the year. In terms of their talent management agendas, here are FIVE trends companies all over the globe and across industries are focusing on:

    1.  Analytics: Given the importance of people, our clients are increasingly moving away from making people decisions based on gut instinct, wisdom and other less-than-rational approaches. Analytics and other evidence-based techniques enable companies to make more effective decisions about their workforce across the talent management lifecycle, from recruiting, selection and on-boarding to leadership development and succession planning. Having a data-driven and empirical approach to human capital allows companies of all sizes to mitigate risks and to allocate scarce resources more efficiently. I am reminded of a quote typically attributed to quality expert W. Edwards Deming: “In God we trust; all others must bring data.”
    2.  Benchmarking: Companies are increasingly searching for ways to measure and compare the efficacy of their talent management initiatives, both over time and against industry peers. At a time of high accountability and a need for fiscal responsibility, this technique is helping to narrow the gap between the perception and reality that talent management programs are much more effective than they truly are. There is also a strong divide between the strengths of corporate talent management departments and what line managers and executives truly value.
    3.  Market Mobility: At the close of 2011, many surveys indicated that a majority of employees would consider jumping ship in the New Year as the economy started to improve. Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics also indicate retirements are starting to slowly inch upward, and the number of job openings companies have is increasing. This is a tentative sign that labor market mobility, greatly reduced during the 2007 – 2009 recession, has started to recover.Last month’s drop in the unemployment rate
      and reported addition of 243,000 jobs has further boosted cautious optimism amongst job seekers.
    4. Restructuring: Organizations are getting flatter and more virtual with technology, social media, virtual teams, highly matrixed structures and 24/7 connectivity. Today, 40% of U.S. employers allow staff to work remotely at least some of the time. This is not only changing when and where people work, but how they work (and how they want to work) requiring managers at all organizational levels to adopt a different mindset and to have different competencies. For example, how do you appropriately mentor and motivate an employee that you don’t “see” every day? The bottom line: companies can no longer afford to be inflexible.
    5. Leadership: As more employees reach retirement age, companies are beginning to lose highly-skilled workers. As a result, corporate leaders are turning the microscope on existing employees to determine what attributes are needed in the next leader, who fits this profile and what needs to be done to make them successful. The concept of leadership identification and development isn’t new—it’s the fact that companies are designating resources, creating departments and trainings specifically for the purpose of identifying  these “high potentials” early on and then determining how to most effectively develop them.