Keeping levels of engagement up and the ‘war for talent’ will undoubtedly remain big challenges for HR professionals this year. But what else can we expect to top the agenda in 2012?

Leadership development appears to be a high priority. In some cases this is due to companies introducing fresh strategies and wanting to ensure they have the right leadership skills in place to implement effectively. More commonly though, it reflects a growing acknowledgement that good leadership is essential for long-term business success.

Leadership has a strong influence on engagement, morale and performance. This is why many organisations are investing in people managers through tools such as 360-degree feedback and subsequent leadership development programmes.

Employer branding is another high priority for 2012. In the age of the internet forum, blogs and the ‘twitterverse’ news travels fast (and far). More companies will invest resources here to attract the best and brightest talent and to manage the employer brand in social media channels.

With a flat economic forecast, companies will also focus on productivity and process efficiency.  One way in which this will be achieved is through taking more HR processes on-line. Despite an initial investment up-front, this will afford companies huge time and cost savings later. And the ability to use powerful reporting tools to inform business decision-making is an added bonus.

We are all braced for a challenging year but it can also be a successful one for businesses.  Whatever your HR priorities are, ensure that you invest budgets wisely and align plans to the wider business strategy in order to add real value.

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