Saturday, 4 August 2007

Global Leadership Forecast

The Human Capital Institute have just sent me an invitation to participate in their global leadership forecast. It's an interesting survey, particularly in the way that it seeks to gather separate but linked data from HR professionals and business leaders.

In some ways, this approach links back to the approach taken by IBM in their 2006 study, The C-level and the Value of Learning (TD, October 2005, ASTD) which was based upon separate interviews with CxOs and CLOs (Chief Learning Officers) in 26 organisations. This was a seminal study that raised real doubts about the Learning function's pursuit of Training ROI as the 'Holy Grail'. Basically, L&D seems to think it needs to calculate ROI because their Boards need it, but their CXOs don't actually have this expectation, understanding that so many assumptions would be needed within this calculation to make it practically meaningless.

The IBM survey shows the importance of HR and the business discussing each others' perspectives and expectations (and I firmly believe this shouldn't just be one way - from the business to HR - but that HR should provide its own perspective to the business too).

I have also just received a Trend Watcher email from, 'HR Struggles with Organisational Growth'. This refers to a survey conducted by the Human Resource Planning Society (HRPS) in collaboration with i4cp (the Institute for Corporate Productivity) into how HR is responding to the strategic challenges related to profitable new growth.

The good news is that 2/3 of the 466 participants in the survey – most of them HR professionals - recognised that the requirement of growth is changing the meaning of "strategic HR". A third of participants also felt that their senior HR leaders are critical members of the executive team and are, as such, responsible for profitable growth, or that HR is a "key architect in positioning the organization to promote more growth".

The bad news is that many senior HR professionals are obviously struggling to establish a prominent position in this area. The bottom third of participants said HR leaders form part of a team that is below the executive-team level or is simply not included in the organization's growth strategy.

In the middle, is another third of participants who suggested that senior HR leaders are "on the sidelines" of the growth agenda and only contribute in spot roles such as talent acquisition and integration. It is this group that are most exposed to different perspectives along the lines of those that were identified by the IBM survey. It is also this group which would most benefit from am HCM diagnosis that reviews the perspective of both HR and CXOs, and is the basis for an audit tool that I am currently developing (please contact me for more details).

The HRPS/i4cp survey also asked respondents about how HR can help their organisations grow. The main three suggestions are:

  • Programs geared toward helping leaders become better at growing their organisations
  • Designing and staffing the growth-related organization through talent management
  • Helping leaders to frame the growth challenge for the organisation.

"HR professionals have unique perspectives on the workforce challenges associated with profitable growth. For example, they can be the first to spot "scalability" problems if an organization is too dependent on workers who have rare skill sets. They may also be uniquely able to assign measures to growth-related problems such as turnover, hiring costs, and other staffing concerns."


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