debbie-bollaBy Debbie Bolla
Executive Editor

December is always one of my favorite issues of the year. We annually challenge industry experts to set predictions for the coming year. This time around it was my turn to put both analysts and HR executives to the test. Looks like HR’s plate is going to be full in 2015. Human capital management leaders will need to execute strategies that improve organizational culture, employee engagement, and retention. Find out more in On the Agenda, page 10.

I always thought it would be interesting -and fun -to have a look back at the previous year’s predictions story and see how the forecast fared at the end of year. 2013’s feature, Full Speed Ahead, captured trends driven by a confluence of talent and technology. Here’s a look at four pairs of predictions and outcomes.

Prediction: “More and more companies are leveraging such tools as video, mobility, big data, social sourcing, and the cloud to redefine how, when, and where employees work.” -Jessica Miller-Merrell, CEO of Xceptional HR

Outcome: Miller-Merrell was on point: Organizations in 2014 leveraged HR technology to get ahead of competitors. By cutting down on time and money invested in the screening and sourcing process, video made headway this year with 31 percent of organizations using the technology in their hiring process. Mobile tools also had an impact across several HR service lines from recruiting to relocation. Continued cloud growth is expected with end-user spending on cloud services around $180 billion by the end of 2015.

Prediction: “I don’t see a return to the old ways of adding headcount and the overhead costs that come along with it each time the business grows. I see the continuing development of specialized projects and teams that are formed from full-time, part-time and contingent workers for a specified outcome.” -Matt Charney, executive editor and head of content of Recruiting Daily.

Outcome: Today’s workforce continues to be a melting pot of worker types and classifications. Contingent workers offer the same benefits they did during the height of the recession -flexibility, sought-after skills, and value. In fact, according to Ardent Partners 2014 research, 92 percent of enterprises say contractors are vital to their operations. No surprise here that growth is expected, with 27 percent of an average workforce being made up of contingent workers by 2015.

Predicition: “Recruiting is no longer is just ‘post and pray.’ It has to be strategic, where the use of metrics and analytics drive the process on who you hire, where you hire from, and the skills sets required in the position.” -Sarah White-Brennan, Principal Strategist, Talent at Accelir

Outcome: 2014 saw major growth in sourcing strategies. Perhaps it was driven by the fact that 77 percent of the workforce was open to seeking better job opportunities, according to CareerBuilder. Plus, The Innovation Imperative Study from Futurestep found 49 percent of candidates are more likely to consider a job if it was advertised in an innovative way. Tracking SEO through Google+, expanding referral networks, and leveraging candidate relationship management (CRM) tools helped organizations be strategic with their sourcing and hiring processes.

Prediction: “Little by little, we will continue to see the nimble, niche startups subsumed by the bigger companies offering bigger and more end-to-end solutions. For now, they might engage in a partnership model, but the future bodes a lot more M&A. Emerging markets like the new tools we’re seeing for employee collaboration and performance management will eventually get bought.” -Josh Berin, founder of Bersin by Deloitte

Outcome: True to Bersin’s words, 2014 saw M&A activity in the tech space. Making big news again was SAP, who made headlines in 2012 when they bought SuccessFactors. This time around the provider acquired Concur, a platform that helps manage employee expense accounts, in a deal valued at $8.3 billion. HCM suite provider Infor acquired predictive analytics platform PeopleAnswers in early 2014 to enhance its talent offering. Adecco Group acquired freelancer management system OnForce to expand its portfolio of solutions for managing the extended workforce, including Beeline, a vendor management system. And Skillsoft’s acquisition of SumTotal shows the movement toward combining learning and talent solutions.

Until next year…

Tags: Employee Engagement, Enabling Technology, Evidence-Based HR, Innovation, Payroll & Compensation, Talent Acquisition

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