Why 2020 Is 'The Year of HR': A Conversation with Josh Bersin
Best-Self Management · 37 minutes ·

Why 2020 Is 'The Year of HR': A Conversation with Josh Bersin

Perhaps now more than any other time in History, demands on People Operations roles are incredibly high. Handling just the administrative side of HR while establishing a remote workforce can be a full-time job, let alone the all-important human element that requires your resources and attention. Because the true power of human resources lies in unlocking the potential of every employee, many HR leaders are discovering or refining new skills in 2020: “The Year of HR.” 

Josh Bersin founded Bersin & Associates in 2001 (later acquired by Deloitte) to provide research and advisory services focused on corporate learning. He expanded the company’s coverage to encompass HR, talent management, talent acquisition, and leadership and became a recognized expert in the talent market. In 2019, Josh also founded the Josh Bersin Academy, an online professional development resource that has become the “Home for HR” in recent months.

Right now, in addition to staying in business during an economic downturn, companies are struggling to meet the demands of a workforce coping with a rapidly evolving world. Dealing with a global pandemic and escalating conversations about race and inclusion, every company must ask itself what type of citizenship they want to practice. This begins with how they treat their people, and then echoes out into the marketplace and beyond. HR has an ongoing role to play in aligning the mission of the company with the mission of its people—this not only determines how employees perform but what kind of citizen the company will be. 

In 2020, companies are working proactively to create a sense of stability and safety for people, Josh sees the role of HR expanding more and more to fill this need.

How have you seen the role of HR evolve in your company? Let us know in the comments on the episode page!


In this episode

  • How current trends in HR are leading to more workplace creativity
  • Creating values alignment between companies and their employees
  • The economic factors that actually matter right now
  • How companies can provide stability for their people in unstable times
  • What companies can do to promote equity in the workplace and society



“Companies exist in a world of societal issues. Every employee and every customer has a perspective on the role they want to play in society.” [9:21]

“It always pays off to think more about your role in society. It seems to always make the company more successful.” [18:39]

“I think DNI is a critically important program, but I hope it isn’t getting in the way of the real issue of pay transparency, pay fairness, and talking about these issues so people can share their fears and concerns.” [24:46]

“2020 is the year of HR in every single company. We are being asked to take on heroic roles…. Try to enjoy this as stressful and difficult as it is.” [38:08]



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