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2012 Trends and Challenges

Against a tougher economic backdrop, Ceridian’s UK Senior Leadership Team outline their predictions for the five key HR and payroll trends and challenges for 2012 in detail below:

HR Director Challenges – Finding Solutions that Benefit Both Employer and Employee

Managing Director, Doug Sawers predicts that 2012 will be a year of intense focus for HRDs, squeezed as they will be between four forces.

The first challenge is making their workforces competitive, despite a heavier tax and administrative burden. The second is keeping their employer proposition attractive in a rapidly evolving labour market. The third is economic growth showing little positive signs for most businesses. Lastly, real incomes of individual workers are being squeezed for the fourth year in succession.

Against this backdrop, identifying mutually beneficial (win-win) solutions which can benefit businesses and employees at the same time will be the key skill. Single-track solutions and answers will not be good enough.

ERP Declining Influence

Nick Laird, Chief Commercial Officer, predicts that Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) vendors will start to see a dramatic decline in revenues, losing business to companies who have more customer-friendly, agile and cheaper technologies.

They will therefore step up their acquisition of these more mid-sized vendors. Unfortunately, for the ERPs, the acquired companies will then slow down due to the bureaucracy and business model imposed upon them, becoming less competitive for a period of time. Big is not beautiful in agile software environments.

Employee Engagement Ever More Critical

Jeremy Campbell, Chief People Officer, predicts that through very tough economic times in 2012, HR will need to focus on supporting organisations to be as efficient as possible.

HR will also have to balance reducing costs with engaging the workforce and fight to hold onto their top talent. Top talent will get itchy feet, as resources are reduced and projects get pulled. Organisations will have to prioritise projects into what are critical to the success/survival of their business and what can be deferred until the following year, many career developing/CV building projects will be pulled and therefore ‘top talent’ engagement will be a challenge.

Clear open communication within organisations will become critical for employee engagement, with a big reliance on the quality of middle and senior management. There will be an overall need for more practical/business supporting HR in 2012, rather than HR focusing on HR-led requirements.

Pension Reform Budget and Administrative Impact on Business

David Woodward, Chief Product and Innovation Officer, predicts 2012 to be the year when businesses fully realise the impact of pension reform. Not only will the costs of pension contributions be fully appreciated but the complexity and operational readiness needed for managing the new legislation will become evident.

Businesses will need to ensure they have sufficient budgets, planning, resources and systems in place for what is destined to be one of the biggest changes in the cost of employment to hit UK businesses in the last 15 years.

Making Talent Acquisition Count

Mark Merrick, Chief Operating Officer, predicts:

While the U.S. and Western Europe continue to suffer from high unemployment and sluggish economies, emerging economies in China, Brazil, India, Singapore, Russia and Eastern Europe are exploding with growth.

Expect 2012 to be a challenging year in terms of talent acquisition. In high-growth countries like India and China, people leave their jobs multiple times per year – yet in slower-growth economies, companies are hardly hiring, so every hire counts. HRDs in low growth/recessionary economies will be faced with slashed budgets. Any investment will require short paybacks, typically less than one year. Value propositions that make HRDs shine, or survive, in these dire economic times will be those that succeed.

What do you think will be the biggest challenges? Leave your comments below.

  • 1st January 2012
  • EAP
  • HR



Philip Rawlings

Apart from the must do requirements to be legally compliant HR Directors should be focussed on removing all nice to have but perceived low value activity backed up by the business and putting all resources into value creation projects. Talent attraction and retention is key as is controlled churn.

If that means cutting numbers and costs in HR and moving people to more commercially focussed roles then that should happen.

This might be quite a challenge as there is likely to be a lot ofopush back from within HR


Falaknaz Amiraly

Making Talent Acquisition Count

I fully agree with Philip Rawlings, well said.



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