HR well-placed for strategic contributions (Web sight)

Effective talent management can make a huge difference

HR is too often left out of an organization’s major strategic decisions. But since those in the human resources department are on the front lines of employee selection, staffing, training and development, they are in an excellent position to be an integral part of a company’s growth and development. With some planning and effort, HR professionals can spend a portion of their time carefully examining the needs of the organization and becoming instrumental in forming effective people-management strategies.

Talent management top strategic issue: Survey

ORC Worldwide surveyed companies worldwide for its Senior Human Resource Executives 2007 Priorities Survey and found the top strategic issue overall for 61.7 per cent of respondents was “talent management,” meaning specifically acquiring, developing and retaining top talent and current executives in leadership positions in their companies. The survey also breaks down the main areas that consume HR executives’ time — and how much time is spent on each — including transforming and leading the HR function and supporting the board of directors and senior management team.

Seven-point checklist

“Steps in developing HRM strategy” on the Accel team site provides a straightforward, easy-to-follow, seven-point checklist with a series of questions for HR professionals. The first step, “Get the big picture,” looks at understanding business strategy, including the simple question: “What is the fundamental people contribution to bottom-line business performance?” The list includes analysing the organization as well as its COPS (culture, organization, people, HR systems), examining consequences and solutions, then looking at implementing and evaluating the action plans.

The CHRO’s first 100 days

“Your first 100 days as Chief Human Resource Officer: Make a Good Impression for Lasting Success” on the Mercer site looks at what a new chief human resource officer can do to “spend these critical first 100 days at the strategic level, focused on the development of connected strategies for both the organization’s workforce and the HR function itself.” The article outlines a three-step process, including the development of workforce and HR function strategies. “The HR function strategy defines what HR will deliver — the services, outcomes and performance standards that will deliver workforce and business results. It should also specify priorities, roles and detailed deliverables.” The article goes on to say that the most successful HR executives “are business partners first… and administrators never. You are the steward of the organization’s critical talent. Your job is to ensure that business leaders at both the executive and line levels have the tools and resources to attract, motivate and retain a winning workforce, and that the workforce is engaged and empowered to deliver the desired business results.”

HR struggling to meet ‘enormous demands’

An article on the Deloitte site examines a global survey that was conducted by Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu and the Economist Intelligence Unit. “Global Survey Suggests Modernizing the Role of HR to Meet Increasing Strategic Challenges” discusses how HR is “struggling to serve enormous demands as people issues move to forefront of leadership agenda.” The survey Aligned at the Top revealed that while most participants agreed people are vital to an organization’s performance, only three per cent describe their organizations as “world-class” in people management and HR functions and “only 23 percent believed HR currently plays a crucial role in strategy formulation.”

Why HR should eschew traditional benchmarking

The article “Measuring HR? Benchmarking is Not the Answer!” urges HR professionals to turn away from the standard benchmarks of performance and adopt customized strategic performance measures. “HR professionals should judge their performance relative to their firm’s own strategy rather than the HR efficiency of other organizations.” The document provides a chart outlining benchmarking versus strategic performance metrics and outlines steps to transform HR into a strategic asset.

Ann Macaulay is a Toronto-based freelance editor and regular contributor to Canadian HR Reporter. Her Web Sight column appears regularly in the CloseUp section.

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