Just about the time that I am getting used to writing 2013 on checks and other documents, I can usually count on predictions for business and other areas surfacing for the year ahead. Sure enough, this week I saw projections from Josh Bersin, a well-known name in the HR field. Not surprisingly, he anticipates challenges in the months ahead for those of us who are concerned with HR and talent issues.

Although Bersin typically writes about large-scale organizations, much of what he has to say can apply to small and mid-sized businesses, too. He isn’t alone in his anticipation that companies (and HR) will need to be more agile this year as changes continue to occur rapidly in our business environment.

Concerns about skills and employee development opportunities are additional factors receiving attention of late. Mobile learning applications and the need for just-in-time performance support and learning materials already are re-shaping organizational training initiatives in many large firms. For smaller companies, the takeaway is that workers are likely to see and hear more about larger businesses offering career and educational growth options. To ensure our ability to compete for and keep top talent, we’ll need to think about innovative ways to help our small-business employees add to their knowledge, skills, and professional capabilities.

In particular, I was interested to see that Bersin agrees with many other HR thinkers that transformation will continue within our function. He says that HR will become more specialized and that “cloud-based systems will finally make integrated HR technology” a reality for many organizations.

That’s where small and mid-sized businesses have a leg up on larger and more complex organizations. BambooHR’s cloud-based system is a proven performer that is already making integrated HR technology a reality. The greater efficiencies and effectiveness that automated HR data management makes possible means that HR in small firms can free much of the time often lost to manual transactional tasks. And that means that we have more time to contribute to higher-level concerns that can support overall business performance and growth.

It’s great to read the predictions of others in the HR field, but no outside source can be as accurate as we can when it comes to our own companies. Take a few minutes to imagine the kinds of scenarios that might play out in your business this year. And think what those circumstances will mean for HR. There are no guarantees of what will or won’t occur, but thinking ahead and envisioning how you could best respond if this challenge or that issue arises can certainly help you build agility into your HR function.

And if your organization hasn’t already discovered the many great benefits of BambooHR’s cloud-based HR management system, make an upgrade in HR technology a goal for 2013.

 

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