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Image: Mid Journey. Prompt…Imagine what irresistible looks like?

Josh Bersin is a legend in the world of Human Resources and Talent.

His four decade long career has spanned all the twists and turns and ups and downs of a career from studying to be an engineer at Cornell and Stanford, earning an MBA from the Haas School of Business at University of California Berkeley to working for large companies such as IBM as well as smaller firms. Josh also has had the experience of being laid off which gave him the opportunity to began Bersin & Associates in 2001 an advisory firm focussed on corporate learning which expanded and grew and was bought by Deloitte in 2012. Josh spent 6 years at Deloitte before he began yet another career in launching the Josh Bersin Academy in 2019 to help develop HR and Learning professionals and in 2020 the Josh Bersin Company which today has 40 analysts and advisors who publish constantly, undertake research and help guide organizations through the transformations at work. And in Fall of 2022 he published Irresistible: The Seven Secrets of the Most Enduring Employee Focussed Organizations.

What Next in the World of Talent?

I was lucky to have Josh as my guest on the latest episode of my What Next? podcast and it is a conversation that everyone who is interested in the future of work whether you are a CEO, a Human Resources professional and most importantly talent navigating your career should listen to!

Some highlights include the following insights and statements and this is just a sampling:

1. Companies will become their employees rather than the employees becoming the company as the future of talent is crafting jobs around skills of the people versus fitting people into jobs.

2. Too much emphasis on measurement can lead to reduced productivity as people work to hit goals versus doing the right thing and many times the goals can be counterproductive and can lead to significant damage to a company like Wells Fargo employees opening fake accounts since they were compensated on how many accounts they opened.

3. Many organizations compensation and reward models as well as management styles are broken being stuck in a world where people moved up a hierarchy, worked full-time in an office, stayed at a company for many years. In today’s environment when skills rather than tenure, unbundled and distributed work and side gigs and side-hustles permeate and careers last much longer than most companies it is management that is failing to transform themselves from bosses to coaches.

4. Focussing on employee experience and culture is even more important than customer experience and investor relationships. We discuss the ups and downs at two world class firms Starbucks and Microsoft and what we can all learn from them. And how in a world of AI the best companies will be Human Services Companies.

A conversation with Josh Bersin:

Listen wherever you can access podcast from Apple to Spotify. Here is the Spotify Link.

It will change the way you manage and grow yourself, your teams and your business.

Read on below for The Seven Secrets of the World’s Most Enduring Employee-Focussed Organizations.

The Seven Secrets of the World’s Most Enduring Employee-Focussed Companies.

I have been reading and re-reading Josh’s latest book and have marked it up a lot since it is chock full of examples, methods, approaches and stories on the big shifts all of us have to undertake to attract, retain and grow talent.

Here are the Seven Secrets ( which are in one way no longer secrets since Josh has published and shared them) but they are secrets in that too many companies remain oblivious of them or rather so many of us have the answers can be in front of our faces but we choose not to see or after seeing them refuse to accept them.

1. Teams not Hierarchy: Josh defines teams asa highly interdependent group of people that comes together in a physical or virtual setting to plan work, solve problems, make decisions and review progress toward a specified goal”. In a world of work that needs Jazz like improvisation and agility versus Classical hierarchy and bureaucracy the team is the key to the future of work.

2. Work not Jobs: In a world where people work all around the world, some part time and some full time and where companies are delayering and reducing levels the future is not jobs to fill but work that needs to get done. Companies have to re-architect around skills, outcomes and work versus titles, layers and jobs.

3. Coach not Boss: Leaders will build and guide people helping them unleash their inner talents rather than monitor, oversee and evaluate them. These days leaders focus on zone of influence versus zone of control.

4. Culture not Rules: Culture is often mistaken by many companies to be about a place. So many corporate campuses particularly the tech companies were more about inculcating cult like behavior rather than cultures. Josh Bersin reminds us that while culture does include the work environment it is not just physical place, but also an environmental and a virtual experience. And in addition there are four other components of culture which include well-being, inclusion, recognition/reward and flexibility (optionality, agency and freedom). Focussing only or mainly on physical space and believing the “office” is where its at is rather outmoded, outdated and outlandish given where we are going in the future.

5. Growth not Promotion: Companies should find ways to grow people so they can up-skill, re-skill and adapt and learn to fill future needs instead of constantly trying to find the right skills for the job today which will change tomorrow. As companies focus on flexibility, teams and getting work done there is a significant amount of de-layering underway. Compensation aligned with levels, tenure and how many people one commands or the size of budgets one oversees is increasingly mis-aligned with being effective, efficient and evolving in an increasingly accelerating and fluid world. Talent needs to grow and re-invent so companies can grow and re-invent.

6. Purpose not Profits: Companies that succeed behave like good citizens and ensure well-being of employees, alignment with society and openness and inclusion. These build deeper relationships with their customers and consumers, stronger attraction and retention of talent and a more resilient eco-system of relationships with communities and suppliers. Focussing on these right things ends up building competitive advantages which lead to profits. To win a game focus on the ball and not the scoreboard.

7. Employee Experience not Output: Talent will grow more important in the future and not less important. AI will require not just great talent but increasingly the ability to be more human and the future will be about Human Services Companies. Great results, brands and much more will not be possible without employee joy driven by great employee experiences.

Get the book. It will make you better.

And check out the articles and resources at Josh Bersin’s site. Its filled with amazing FREE content. It is a deep masterclass to help us improve.

Thank you for reading The Future Does Not Fit In The Containers Of The Past. This post is public so feel free to share it.

The Future Does Not Fit In The Containers Of The Past is read by tens of thousands of talented folks in 135 countries! Subscribe for free to receive a new post every Sunday at

Rishad Tobaccowala helps turbo-charge companies, teams and leaders growth by helping them see, think and feel differently. Forty years of experience delivered fast and flexibly with no muss, no fuss, no BS and no handlers. For more about Rishad Tobaccowala click here.

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