Going forward, 2012 will see organizations focus more on optimizing rewards and investing in leadership. Talent will be an important aspect in the business agenda. While every company faces the same challenges in terms of talent, it is in how they deal with these situations based on their own context that will make the difference. Some companies have got the formula right and some others are just starting on the journey. The slowdown foreseen in 2012 is not going to be like in 2008; the difference between 2012 and 2008 is basically that in 2008 organizations stopped spending and it was all about conserving, profitability, and maintaining margins. But I think companies are going to treat the slowdown in 2012 differently through optimization of HR budgets, so companies will not necessarily look at reducing their HR budgets but optimizing its use by investing in the rights things and on the right people.
Hiring might not come down drastically. While it will certainly reduce, there will be smart companies that will continue to hire the right talent as this is the best time to get great people. Clients will continue with their investments in HR. So I do not see a sharp turn in terms of environment but I do see a slight change from how we have been in 2010 to 2011. The slight slowdown will result in change in priorities. The new priorities will be around managing growth in an environment of slowdown and what that means to the organization. So, managing risks will become even more important, whether that is in ensuring that employee engagement is still high, employee engagement is focused towards a segmented employee group, optimizing total compensation and total rewards, and the way the organization wants to divert those investments and create a blue print of how the organization should look once we come out of the slowdown, and what we need to do in order to get there.
Workforce optimization and measuring the effectiveness of human capital will become very important for HR professionals; measurability of HR effectiveness by looking at analytics will take precedence and become more prominent as we go forward.