We are in the midst of a seismic shift in the workplace that will transform not only the way we do business but also how we lead, who will lead, and how we work with others. Innovation and technology will continue to play a growing role in this disruptive state. Consider how radically even our vernacular has been impacted: Just as the word Google became synonymous with search, Uber is becoming the standard for how to innovate. Companies are starting to say “let’s uber” to describe the necessity of adding a dose of daring. Where does HR fit into this disruptive, innovative approach?

More than ever before, the focus for HR must be simplicity: Streamlined and individualized performance reviews, effective leadership development opportunities, and successful talent acquisition will be essential. I love all of this – because we have to think and act differently. It forces us all out of our comfort zones. I say, bring it on!

[Tweet “A seismic shift in the workplace will transform how we lead – and who will lead. #leadership”].

The Performance Review Dilemma, Solved

There is only one solution to the ongoing debate about performance reviews, and that is for HR leaders to realize that when it comes to performance reviews, one size will never fit all. In fact, as we move through 2016, a big emphasis will be placed on performance, but the measures will be more subtle and more individualized. That’s as it should be.

While companies like Accenture are ditching the annual performance review, it is not because they no longer wish to evaluate their employees. Instead, they recognize that immediate feedback from managers on recently completed projects (along with their employees’ guidance on how best to implement suggestions for improvement) on an ongoing basis is more effective than an annual rating.

Fluid feedback results in better employee engagement – and engagement is the result all companies are seeking. Better engagement leads to measurable gains:

  • 16 percent higher profitability
  • 37 percent lower absenteeism
  • 5 times higher revenues
  • 65 percent reduction in turnover
  • 18 percent increase in productivity

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Opening the Door to Effective Leadership Development

Leadership development will continue to become more collaborative. It’s not whether the CEO alone can accomplish the mission or not, but can the entire team – as a group and as individuals – exemplify culture, accomplish critical goals, obtain buy-in, and encourage innovation? Not only will it be up to HR to find ways to compel senior management to own the woman agenda in 2016, but HR will also need to take the lead in helping to create an atmosphere that attracts millennial talent.

HR must continue to:

  • Create opportunities for improved diversity by providing ample opportunity for leadership development among women and minorities.
  • Develop a culture that will attract the millennial workforce by offering flexibility.
  • Hire business-savvy people who are technically capable and who embrace the necessity of analyzing data.

By helping CEOs understand how important it is for them to set the bar for ongoing developing and improvement, you can help steer the entire culture of the company in the right direction.

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The Talent Acquisition Revolution

To attract the best talent, it will take more than flexibility in the workplace. We will be forced to refine the ways in which we attract talent. According to LinkedIn’s Global Recruiting Trends 2016 Report, 32 percent of the nearly 4,000 talent acquisition leaders surveyed say employee retention is a top priority over the next 12 months.

  • 59 percent are investing more in their employer brand compared to last year
  • 47 percent say they share or contribute to employer branding with marketing
  • 39 percent agree quality of hire is the most valuable metric for performance
  • 26 percent consider employee referral programs to be a long-lasting trend

More organizations will welcome boomerang employees and will continue to employ freelancers, consultants and other sources of talent that may not wish to become corporate employees but deliver much-needed innovation and fresh perspective. To manage this ever-growing remote workforce effectively, a strong company culture and savvy use of technology will be necessary.

Painting the Picture for Senior Executives

2016 and beyond will be enormously challenging and exciting as disruption becomes the norm throughout HR and for every leader. To succeed, you need to be nimble, able, and smart about getting the right people, tools, and approaches in place to hit the ground running and bring the best solutions to the table so your company can be in a competitive position to grow.

We know improvements to the bottom line come in many forms, and in our role as HR leaders today, it has never been more critical to deliver on this mandate. My own challenge will be in the asking: what am I able to “uber”?  Where am I going to get out of my comfort zone? And, how am I going to offer insights, direction, and solutions to my clients that are bold, smart, and flexible, to take them well into the future?

[Tweet “What are you able to “uber” for your company? #boldleadership”]


As the CEO & Founder of East Tenth Group, Michelle leverages 25 years of business and experience as a strategic advisor and executive coach to help drive actionable people solutions and provide practical insights on business strategy to senior leaders. she and her team and are fiercely committed to the development and growth of people and companies because we believe that when people thrive, business thrives.

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