When work isn’t just what you do, but what your work is about (am I the only one thinking about the oozlum bird?), a certain attraction to milestone dates is inevitable. And for all our talk of habits, the world is not about to give up spending the last two weeks of the year reviewing the last 12 months and peering into their crystal balls for the next one. (To make the exception that proves our own rule, we’ll be blogging soon about what we’d like to see next year: suggestions welcome, by the way …). So rather than our usual Crackers, here’s a round up of some the most relevant or interesting reviews and predictions we’ve spotted in the last few days.

Training trends and tools: A review of 2009 (TrainingZone): Mike Ditchburn sees the virtual classroom and e-learning reborn as ‘just in time and just enough’ learning becomes a trending topic (as they say on Twitter). But there’s a note of caution: these remain only part of the arsenal, and are not a magic bullet. Elsewhere, he detects a change of emphasis in attitudes to evaluation, commenting:

too much focus solely on the ‘pounds and pence’ has, in some cases, led us to take our eye off the ball and forget that we’re in the ‘people’ business.”

Not a universally held view, we suspect, but clearly a man who remembers what ‘reductio ad absurdum’ means.

2010 – the year the talent war resumes (HRZone): Richard Doherty has six predictions for you:

  1. social recruiting becomes mainstream (although we think the candidates are ahead of the companies on this one, Richard)
  2. Generation Y is here and now (we suspect Richard hasn’t seen the ‘Five myths’ articles below, but we appreciate a mixed diet and a variety of views)
  3. Increased career development budgets (we’re applauding, even if it is quite difficult to clap with your fingers crossed)
  4. Talent management becomes a board-level issue (like prediction 1, this is in the ‘wake up and smell the coffee’ category, surely?)
  5. HR software becomes more personal and self sufficient (fingers still crossed, clapping on hold till we see it, and quiet word to everyone in HR that social networking solutions are free, easy and waiting to be used: the only learning curve is in the attitude and outlook )
  6. Reward schemes become truly ‘transparent’ – Richard foresees the convergence of reward mechanism, performance management, compliance and risk management. For 2011, can we suggest adding in learning and development and performance appraisal (as we did in October) and company culture (as we also did in October)

Employee Engagement 2010: How I would change Gallup’s Q12 to the Q13:  as they say in his country (the US), David Zinger is a ‘go to guy’ on employee engagement. For 2010, he offers a constructive suggestion on Gallup’s 12 question engagement survey. Ever the positivist, Zinger applauds their work to date but says qualifying ‘opportunity’ has had its day: opportunities aren’t optional, they’re essential. (It struck us when we read Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers that the coinciding factor on all his cited success stories was that everyone had – for whatever reason – received opportunities.) “If you get no chance to grow, you don’t grow” is a straightforward concept, and hats off to David for suggest more companies try it out.

A Bartender’s Predictions for 2010: HR Bartender is always worth reading, and we quite often find ourselves agreeing with her. We’re particularly struck by two of her 6 crystal ball (crystal shot glass?) moments for the coming year:

Management coaching will become a key retention tool.  When the mass exodus starts (and it will), companies will have to figure out a way to show key employees they care”

Sharlyn, we agree wholeheartedly, and we’ve said so too (sorry, can’t resist). The other one we applauding loudly here is “And the buzzword word for 2010 will be ‘trust.’”. As the Edelman Trust Barometer (and many other surveys show), this hasn’t been a bumper year for trust in the workplace, and we hope – like Sharlyn – that companies will work hard to repair the damage (and realises it’s in their interest to do so).

Five learning myths to dump before the New Year (HRZone): This is where the whole prediction business gets a little blurry, unless those mince pies are getting to us. Another interesting (opinion) piece, but author Nigel Paine disagrees about Generation Y:

Age is a dangerous area to fixate upon. Someone of 45 can demonstrate all the characteristics of a generation Y persona, and someone of 25 won’t! It depends on multiple personality factors.”

(I’ll be 50 next year, so I’m avoiding ageism too – well said, Nigel), and his Myth #5 (“Avoid all discussions on return on investment)” shows that responses to and outlooks on evaluating ROI are as diverse as 45 year olds. Some excellent points from Nigel, who should have maybe been allowed a longer piece to explore the complexities and contradictions of his final two myths in more detail.

So, while we leave Nigel and Richard to slug it out in cyberspace, we’ll leave you with two offering from the ‘bah humbug’ end of the prediction market: if the whole fin d’année thing is already getting to you and saying in French isn’t making it any better, try HRMargo’s Why I don’t believe in making predictions: 2010 or Punk Rock HR’s Predictions for 2010. Although given that birthday, I might still start buying the wrinkle cream …

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