Tuesday, 17 June 2008

Organisational wellness

Some reading over the weekend left me feeling a bit more optimistic about the future of HR.

Firstly, interviews with Jackie Orme (the new head of the CIPD - pictured) in Personnel Today and People Management. In both publications, Orme notes the need for organisations to think long-term about people management:

"Factors such as the impact of technology, globalisation and the influence of emerging economies are all contributing to a context of change which HR must be mindful of, Orme warns. 'I have seen HR done really well and not so well. When it’s done well it’s about building capability, not only for today but also tomorrow.'

'Chief executives now want HR people who know how to pull the levers of competitive advantage. The future will mean pulling those levers even harder in a more technologically enabled, globalised context. HR needs to build capability for today and for tomorrow.' "

This capability, of course, is human capital.

Secondly, I finally got round to reading Bradley Hall's book on the New Human Capital Strategy. Whilst this includes quite a few things I don't agree with, there is quite a bit that I do.

Hall defines HCM as a system designed to create sustained competitive advantage through people. The book explains:

"In addition to reacting to annual business challenges, companies must create the business analogue to a wellness programme - a systematic and disciplines approach for year-over-year human capital growth."

I quite like this analogy. I wrote an article on health and wellness in Strategic HR last year. In this, I linked individual health support to the three levels in the value triangle - suggesting that Personnel tends to focus on avoiding illness and meeting basic safety needs, HRM on general health requirements and HCM on ensuring wellness.

The same applies to the organisational level too - with HRM being about developing organisational fitness to achieve certain objectives, and HCM creating a well organisation that has the capability to be effective longer-term.

If Orme can help develop more well organisations, then I think she'll be doing a good job.