Trending 2012: Human Resources Practices and Ideas for the Future

Trending 2012: Human Resources Practices and Ideas for the Future

Written by Marilyn Brown, SPHR, Senior HR Consultant 

Workforce Training & Development

The workplace has changed dramatically over the past 20 years.  Employers have needed to change in order to attract and retain employees.  2012 brings more changes to the workplace, especially in the area of demographics as more baby boomers retire and a younger generation entering the work force come with a very different perception of what their workplace should be and the benefits they expect.

We’ve spent some time reviewing the trends out there with you in mind.  Below are some changes we can expect to see in the 2012 workplace.

Demographics in Human Resources Hiring Practices

A Mercer survey released late last year found roughly one-third of US workers are considering leaving their job; with younger workers more likely to quit.  Succession planning will be key in maintaining the knowledge bank of the company.  Additionally, in 2012, 47 percent of all employees will be those born after 1977 (aka Generation Y) as mentioned in SHRM’s recent article Emerging HR Discipline is Among 2012 Predictions.  These employees have a different approach to work, and studies predict that this group will switch jobs frequently due to their elevated expectations of the workplace.

Successful companies will need to implement programs to address the estrangement that Generation Y feels when interacting with older workers.  Generation Y employees are looking for more feedback, responsibility and involvement in decision making.

Customized Workforce Training

Corporate workforce training and development will continue to move from the traditional classroom style to programs that are social, informal and on-demand. This will require online courses that are short in duration (30 minutes) and may include gaming techniques such as points and badges.  Reward systems as part of a benefit package may be seen in coming years.

Social Media in Human Resources

HR teams will need to effectively utilize social media to attract new talent to their organizations as well as use social media to retain those already in the company (SHRM).  Outsourced Recruiting and Staffing as part of an overall talent acquisition strategy is a cost effective choice for overwhelmed HR teams of small to medium-sized businesses.

HR Strategies

HR departments will need to focus on data science – this will allow them to differentiate themselves by focusing on smart talent segmentation and analysis.  The data can come from turnover to engagement to demographics.  By identifying trends and patterns, the HR team can build high performing programs. (Source:  SHRM)

Employee Benefits

As employee benefits costs continue to increase, employers will increasingly push the costs of benefits to the employee or just reduce the selection of benefits. Consumer Driven Health Plans (CDHP’s) have continued to grow in use with employers and have high satisfaction ratings from employees.  Additionally, employers will continue to meet the work/life balance needed by the Generation Y as well as other employees by offering telecommuting.  (Source:

Chime In

We’d love to hear your thoughts.  Which HR trends did you experience in 2011?  Which HR trends do you expect to see in your HR hiring and talent management practices for 2012?


About the Author

FosterThomas is a leading professional services company that provides solutions in the areas of Human Resources Consulting and Outsourcing, HR Staffing, Outsourced Recruiting, Employee Benefits Brokerage, Payroll Implementation and Services, HR for Government Contractors, Business Insurance, HR Compliance and Risk Management. We help organizations by providing solutions designed with a focus on cost containment strategies and increasing HR efficiency. FosterThomas HR Consulting was established in 1993 with offices in Annapolis, Maryland (Corporate), McLean, Virginia and Raleigh, North Carolina. Today, FosterThomas occupies a unique position as a full service provider of HR services.

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