Josh Bersin’s View on HR’s Role and Future of Work

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Suraj is a passionate blogger who writes for a global audience. His writings can be inspired from a myriad of topics to anything distinguishable that keeps a reader hooked. He has written for many websites and also been showcased as a guest author. Suraj lives in India right now.

The Human Resources world has one notable name that every HR loves to speak of or get associated with – Josh Bersin. Longtime HR commentator and well-noted HR guru, Josh Bersin recently talked about the current pandemic and its impacts. Josh was also the president and founder of Bersin & Associates, leading enterprise research and talent management firm that got acquired by Deloitte in 2012. The unique feather of the hat is, however, The Josh Bersin Academy, the only global professional development academy for HR. Josh founded the academy himself and currently leads as its dean. 

Bersin recently talked about Covid-19 and how the pandemic has impacted leadership, future of work, and an HR’s role amid everything. Over the years, he has observed changes in HR like no other leader. 

We will discuss some of the broad categories of the discussion and understand his take on each of them.

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Future of Work

Josh emphasized the impact of AI and how many firms have used the terminology and related buzzwords, such as “future of work”, to satiate personal goals. 

According to Josh, “The future of work just landed in your lap. It’s basically working with the digital tools you have, is much more flexible on your time and location, being heavily focused on soft skills and communication skills and empathy skills. Yes, you need to know how to use the technology – that hasn’t gone away.”

Josh believes we are way past things like ‘automation’ or ‘AI’ right now. And, instead of unemployment, new job opportunities will present themselves.


Leadership doesn’t work the way it used to before the pandemic. Today, your team leader/manager/supervisor isn’t demanding and deadline-specific. She/he is more caring and empathetic. 

Before the pandemic, leadership models were not how it is today. Josh says, “the leadership models, in general, were not super-empathetic to people; they were more empathetic to the stock market.”

In other words, leadership has changed overnight. Leadership development requires the presence of soft skills and the qualities of listening. This might not look like how traditional leadership works, but this is how leaders will be able to lead teams.


Currently, the role of HR is more distributed than ever. Tasks usually taken care by managers or other superiors require an HR’s involvement now. Apart from the regular team, you also need local HR business partners that can help people deal with circumstances. 

Josh says, “There’s a much more co-ordinated, but distributed HR operation needed, so the local HR people all of a sudden have a lot more power. They need to be skilled up so they know what to do and the central group has to be very good at communicating with them on a regular basis.”

This is not the way HR groups were set up. As a result, the need for local as well as central HR is a challenge. However, it is also an unparalleled opportunity for HR to understand all aspects of the domain. 

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