Moving from understanding to action: Six key steps

Moving from understanding to action: Six key steps

Posted by Josh Bersin on September 16, 2015.

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 precisely can I implement it in my organization?”

After thinking about this issue for many years, we realized 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 a similar path:

  • Learn: The first step in addressing a problem is to learn about the space. If you have a 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.
  • Prioritize: The second step in developing a 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 successful company, only to find that they simply “can’t get there from here” and it might take years to reach that level. Organizations should figure out precisely what the “next step” means to them and their organization.
  • Design: The third step is the fun part—designing a solution approach. Here is where you sit down with a whiteboard (or website) and start to design how you want to redesign your onboarding program, architect your new leadership development, or maybe change your pre-hire assessment or interview guide. Design practices tend to change every year or two; right now, for example, using mobile apps and behavioral economics and gamification can be critical to designing talent solutions.
  • 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.
  • Implement: The fifth part of designing 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.
  • Measure: And finally, perhaps more important now than ever, is the need to measure what you’ve done. 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.

These six steps form the basis of a new offering from Bersin by Deloitte called BersinOne. From a technology perspective, BersinOne is a major upgrade and face-lift to the BersinInsights platform we launched back in 2012. The new platform combines all of our research, tools, community, and diagnostics into an integrated 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.

I’ve detailed the BersinOne approach and offerings in my blog post here.

To learn more about the six basic steps to addressing challenges and BersinOne, please join me, Bersin by Deloitte General Manager Andrew Huddart, and Vice President, Product, Kim Lamoureux, Deloitte Consulting LLP, for our online webinar, “Closing the Gap between Business Needs and Human Resource Capabilities,” September 17, 2015 2 PM EDT/19:00 BST.

I look forward to sharing more with you, and of course welcome your feedback and comments.

Josh Bersin is the founder and a principal of Bersin by Deloitte, Deloitte Consulting LLP, a leading research and advisory firm focused on corporate leadership, talent, learning, and the intersection between work and life. Josh is a published author on Forbes, a LinkedIn Influencer, and has appeared on Bloomberg, NPR, and The Wall Street Journal, and speaks at industry conferences and to corporate HR departments around the world. You can contact Josh on Twitter at @josh_bersin and follow him at Josh’s personal blog is at

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