Top 11 Predictions That We See Impacting HR and Talent For 2017 – Prediction 6


Research Report Bersin by Deloitte


The concept of “total employee experience,” focused on design thinking and the simplification of work, will become a major focus in HR.


Prediction 6: Focus on Employee Experience Will Overcome Process Design in HR

Many HR departments have started renaming themselves. Some call themselves “people operations” and others call themselves things like “people and culture.” The message here is not to simply find a way to seem more strategic, but actually change the identity of what HR organizations do.

Throughout our research over the years, we have ultimately found that the role of HR in business is to do one of three things.

  1. Make sure the operational people processes work efficiently. People are paid; they obtain good benefits; the company is not sued; people do not steal and cheat; and all administration of compliance, training, recruiting, compensation, reporting, analytics, and record-keeping is done well.
  2. Build the talent system. Make sure that management, leadership, performance processes, career mobility, inclusion, development, and all the talent processes are handled well. Here, the criteria is to “be strategic”—in other words, not just “hiring,” but “hiring the highest-quality candidates for our particular needs.”


  1. Understand, manage, and improve the employee experience. The third role of HR is a bunch of things that fall into the category of “making your company a productive, great place to work.” This includes focusing on culture, engagement, and an end-to-end set of experiences that make sure all employees (from new people to the most senior executives) truly operate in a productive, customer-centric, and collaborative way.


If we look at the 45 or so “practices” of HR that we have studied over the years, about one-third fall into the first category, another one-third fall into the second, and the last one-third fall into the third.


In 2017, I believe the disciplines of design thinking, experience design, and digital app design will start to go mainstream within HR. While companies have been redesigning their buildings, benefit plans, vacation policies, and other various programs, they have not necessarily been focused on what each individual employee experiences. In 2017, using the new idea of design thinking, I believe most HR teams will stop designing “programs” and start designing “experiences.” Let me give you a concrete example.

Case in Point: Design Employee Experiences

The Deloitte University Center for Leadership (DU) is a beautiful building in Texas where Deloitte consultants and leaders go for education, training, networking, and a variety of client events. When it was designed, it took years to discuss the investment, and the team decided to build “not a corporate university,” but a real “learning and collaboration experience.”

While I was not at Deloitte at the time, a huge amount of storytelling exists about how the invitations were designed, how the drivers pick up attendees at the airport, how attendees are greeted upon arrival, and how every room, meal, and facility contributes to the experience. All the rooms are the same size, for example, to give everyone the “experience” of peer to peer and openness. Free coffee and snacks are located everywhere you go inside this building, to encourage people to slow down and talk with each other. The learning rooms are highly configurable, so you can sit, stand, or move around at ease. Throughout the attendee’s experience at DU, the “hospitality” crew takes time to treat you like you a senior leader, even if you might be a first-year consultant.

This was done deliberately by studying the entire “experience” of learning and collaboration at Deloitte. While many of the ultimate elements may seem simple when I explain them, they all fit together into an integrated, high-value experience designed to excite, engage, and inspire people at Deloitte. This is an example of “experience design,” not “process design.”

In HR, we have to deal with hundreds of problems and issues. We have to brand, source, recruit, interview, hire, onboard, train, and lead people of all shapes and sizes. We have to deal with people in the wrong positions, people who need coaching, people who do not get along, and dozens of other challenging situations. We need to help business leaders to run the company well—giving them tools and support to manage people in the best possible way.

Today, in the “overwhelming” always-on technology environment of work, there is no way to do this by designing another “training program” or “onboarding program.” You have to study and design the “learning experience” and “onboarding journey.” We have many examples of this in our research library; in 2017, I think it will become central to your role, your mission, and your function.

Other Predictions:

Prediction 1: Organizational Design Will Be Challenged Everywhere
Prediction 2: Culture and Engagement Will Remain Top Priorities
Prediction 3: Real-Time Feedback and Analytics Will Explode in Maturity
Prediction 4: A New Generation of Performance Management Tools Will Emerge
Prediction 5: A Focus on “Human Performance” and Wellbeing Will Become a Critical Part of HR, Talent, and Leadership 
Prediction 7: Digital HR and Learning Will Help Us to Reinvent L&D and HR Systems
Prediction 8: The Leadership Market Will Start a Steady Process of Reinvention
Prediction 9: Diversity, Inclusion, and Unconscious Bias Will Become a Top Priority
Prediction 10: The L&D Function Will Continue to Struggle
Prediction 11: The Future of Work Is Here and HR Is in the Hot Seat


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

Subscribe to Our Newsletter

Join Our Newsletter