For almost 15 years I have been focused on using research as a tool to help businesses solve strategic HR, learning, and leadership challenges. As most of you know, this focus has helped us pioneer a special breed of "actionable research" designed to help HR and learning professionals understand the marketplace, learn about trends and leading-practices, and diagnose their strategies to better understand next steps.
We are very proud of our innovations – they include the use of validated maturity models (with detailed data and benchmarking behind them) in more than 20 different areas, comprehensive data on spending and resource allocation, and of course much detail on HR technology, solution providers, and content vendors and how they typically fit into the market.
Throughout this journey our goal has always been simple: to help companies address their most pressing talent challenges, and hopefully make their own workplaces more engaging and rewarding. And in the process of doing all this hard work, we realized that we could also help the HR community enhance its own professional skills and expertise – and of course help make businesses better at serving customers.
This week, after more than two years of effort, we are introducing the next step in our journey – a new set of content and technology offerings we call BersinOne. While I rarely write blogs promoting our own offerings, in this case I just want to explain what we've done so you can learn more and see where we're going.
Moving from Understanding to Action.
Over the years we always asked our analysts to focus our research on "actionable information" – models, tools, frameworks, and examples that can help people solve problems. And most of you have told me this is very valuable and very helpful. But it hasn't been enough.
Despite our best efforts to write as much as we can, people continuously come to us and say things like "thank you for explaining that maturity model or that practice, but how can I implement it in my organization?"
After thinking about this issue for many years, we believe we have come up with a new approach – and that is the focus of BersinOne. Simply explained, what we realized is that major HR, learning, and talent management solutions tend to revolve around six basic steps, and when we want to build a world class solution, we always go down this path:
- Learn: The first step in a problem is to learn about the space. If you have retention problem, or a hard time attracting candidates, or a gap in leadership capabilities – the first thing you should do is "learn about the space." This means learning the vocabulary, understanding some of the basics, and starting to identify what "world class" looks like. Our Lexicon, frameworks, case studies, and research reports are heavily focused on giving you the "101 course" in almost every area of talent, learning, and leadership. And now we also include CHRO and VP level content, designed to help leaders quickly learn what they need, while you dive into detail as a practitioner or project leader.
- Prioritize: The second step in developing an HR or talent solution is to prioritize. Where do we start? What parts of our existing process or program should we throw away and what parts should we keep? Should we double investment in this area or just tweak what we have? These issues of how much to spend and what areas to prioritize can be tricky, because many companies aspire to copy a company like GE or Google, only to find that they simply "can't get there from here" and it might take years to reach that level. So here we provide diagnostic tools, Factbooks (books of spending level by maturity and industry), and maturity models to help you figure out precisely what the "next step" means to you and your organization.
- Design: The third step is the fun part – designing a solution. Here is where we sit down with a whiteboard (or website) and start to design how we want to redesign our onboarding program, architect our new leadership development, or maybe change our pre-hire assessment or interview guide. Our goal here is to give you lots of guidance, tools (very precise checklists and action plans), and examples (case studies and artifacts from other companies) so you don't have to "reinvent the wheel." And of course we try to show you what we've learned about design areas that are potential pitfalls or errors others have experienced, to help prevent you from making mistakes. And by the way, design practices tend to change every year or two, so you have to stay current. Right now mobile apps, behavioral economics, and gamification, for example, are becoming very important.
- Select: The fourth step, and sometimes the biggest of all, is to select a solution provider, product, or platform to help. My experience shows that there are very few HR and learning solutions that don't involve vendor technology, content, or platforms. So we believe one of your most critical steps is finding the right partners, selecting the right tools, and sifting through the thousands of content and assessment providers to find the one best for you. This is why we focus on being effective HR analysts – we want to give you as much insight as we can about who does what, where they focus, and what their relative strengths are.
- Implement: The fifth part of a solution is implementation. This, of course, is where the rubber meets the road – and topics like education, change readiness, change management, communication, and stakeholder buy-in can be especially critical. We are just introducing a major new area of research on change, and I think we've learned a lot to share with you – because no matter how beautiful and elegant a solution may be, if people don't use it there is no value at all.
- Measure: And finally, perhaps more important now than ever, is the need to measure what you've done. As an engineer with a background in analytics, I think measurement is very often a missing piece – and in HR, just like any other part of business, there are many things we can now measure. We study all areas of measurement and analytics and we offer tools, working groups (people you can learn from), diagnostics, and lots of templates to help you measure what you're rolling out. Measurement is far more than computing the ROI – it's putting in place an ongoing process to monitor and help continuously improve the program you've created.
From a technology perspective, BersinOne is a major upgrade and face-lift to the BersinInsights platform we launched back in 2012. The new platform integrates all our research, tools, community, and diagnostics into an clean and new experience that will soon include role-based access to help you immediately find exactly what you need. Our goal with BersinOne is to be "the single place you go" to learn, address problems, and meet others in our community.
Part of the new content and platform strategy is to redesign our content around what we now call Bersin Blueprints – specific content designed to address current pressing talent challenges. The Bersin Blueprints, and there are four being launched today, compliment the Bersin Playbooks and extend them to give you step by step guidance using the six phases discussed above.
And we have made it easier then ever to find what you need. While all our subject areas and practices remain, all our content and tools are now also organized by nine solution areas – so you can quickly focus on a problem rather than look for content by topic or date.
Becoming World Class at Talent: More Important than Ever
The world of HR, leadership, learning, and recruitment is more important than ever. We will continue to develop innovative research and tools to help you stay ahead, solve problems, and develop your team.
I look forward to sharing more with you, and of course welcome your feedback and comments.