As we enter the final weeks of 2016, most organisations would have already started putting their plans in place for the coming year. 2016 was a year for digitising HR, and it seems like “be digital” is a phenonemon likely to continue in the year to come.

According to a new report by Bersin by Deloitte, in 2017, business and human resource leaders should rethink almost all of their management and HR practices as the proliferation of digital technologies transform the way organisations work.

These are the 11 predictions for 2017:

1. Organisational design will be challenged everywhere
To thrive in the digital age organisations should focus on breaking functional groups into smaller teams, customer-centric learning, experimentation and time-to-market. Organisations should examine the way work gets done and then provide support mechanisms to facilitate cross-functional success.

2. Culture and engagement will remain top priorities
In 2017, organisations should carefully define their organisational culture – defined as the reward systems and implicit behavior that happens when nobody is looking. They should also measure it, and find where and how it may be misaligned.

3. Real-time feedback and analytics will boom
Driven by the need to understand and improve engagement, and the continuous need to measure and improve employee productivity, real-time feedback and analytics will explode.

4. A new generation of performance management tools will emerge
This development already is underway, as dozens of new companies respond to a huge gap in the market. Specifically, they are responding to a shift from a very top-down, process-driven approach to employee performance management – to a more agile, continuous, feedback-based approach.

ALSO READ: Asia’s most effective HR tech practices in 2016

5. A focus on “human performance” and well-being will become a critical part of HR, talent and leadership
One of HR’s emerging roles in 2017 will be to focus on how to help individuals and teams perform through initiatives including employee wellness, employee engagement, culture and work-life balance.

6. A focus on employee experience will overcome process design in HR
Using the idea of design thinking, HR teams in 2017 will stop designing “programs” for onboarding, learning, collaboration or other purpose, and instead study and design integrated, high-value “experiences” that excite, engage and inspire employees.

7. Digital HR and learning will help us to reinvent learning and development and HR systems
Digital solutions in HR will mean new approaches, such as embracing hackathons; taking a minimal viable products approach to get new solutions out the door quickly; and increasing transparency by sharing information more freely at work and letting people comment on it or rate it.

8. The leadership market will start a process of reinvention
The “Deloitte Millennial Survey 2016” research shows that millennials are unhappy with the lack of leadership training. At the same time, Deloitte’s new high-impact leadership research indicates that companies should shift away from traditional leadership training programs to focus to culture, learning through interactions and relationships, and continuous feedback and coaching.

9. Diversity, inclusion and unconscious bias will become a top priority
Research have shown that diversity improves bottom line performance. HR organisations should make sure they capture the right information, share it formally and develop a holistic inclusion and diversity program that touches all talent practices. The learning and development function will continue to struggle. Learning and development organisations should embrace self-directed learning and build a learning experience that helps individuals at all levels learn all the time.

READ MORE: 2016’s top trends in diversity and inclusion across Asia

10. The learning and development function will continue to struggle
Learning and development organisations should embrace self-directed learning and build a learning experience that helps individuals at all levels learn all the time.

11. The future of work is here and HR is in the hot seat
As the rapid commoditisation of artificial intelligence (speech recognition, natural language processing, sensors and robotics) could impact almost every job, the real job of HR leaders will be to figure out what all of this means and to redesign jobs, work and organisations so the “people side” of work has more importance and focus than ever.

“This shift in structure changes the way we lead, manage and move people throughout the company,” said Josh Bersin, principal and founder, Bersin by Deloitte.

“It also pushes us to continuously learn – faster than ever. Companies must try new things, such as crowdsourcing in which you can obtain ideas, content and services through an online community, rapidly deploy new products and services, iterate, and quickly learn what fails and what works. This customer-centric way of doing business has shifted decision-making to the edges of the company, and requires a new way of thinking about management and HR.”

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This article was first published in Human Resources Online Bulletin and is reproduced with permission. Original article can be found at

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