Talents have long been high on HR professionals’ priority lists. It is a topic which has risen steadily to the top of leadership agendas too. PwC’s 18th Global Annual CEO survey found that 61 percent of CEOs saw retention of skills and talent as a key issue in the workplace, with the ability to acquire and manage talent cited as a critical capability for tomorrow’s CEO. Needless to say, getting talent management right has never been more important.
The value HR adds to the business might vary by industry sector or by company, but when it comes to talent, the acts of recruiting, retaining, developing and engaging the best people is still and will continue to be what HR people must be supremely competent at delivering. The survey suggested that HR function has a way to go in becoming supremely competent about these skills. Almost 40 percent of C-suite admitted that HR is playing catch-up and not delivering expected results due to lack of HR capability.
HR does not spend enough time on strategic issues and spends more time on managing poor performers than top performers. Other factors that impede HR progress are all based around time and resource. C-suite might give misguided interference in matters of talent which might increase interest a double-edged sword. Lack of capability to observe and understand real issues, HR is often following a talent agenda set by corporate leaders, as opposed to driving strategy and direction themselves. Clearly, it is important that the C-suite is a key driver of talent strategy. But, HR should also have knowledge to not fall into misguided assumptions around talent that often drive reactive and short-term talent decisions.
The HR function cannot be sidelined into a silo, left out from decision-making. HR is not just a people function any more. It’s also a numbers function where commercial acumen is crucial. Combining people orientation with HR analytics and business awareness is the only way we can be sure that HR won’t stand aside. Thanks to data access and analytics, HR teams are able to consult and provide insight into a wide range of areas. When companies integrate their HR function into all aspects, they will start to see it reach its full potential.
Many HR professionals enter into the field without a developed understanding or certification in business. Too few organisations invest in developing HR’s general business skills, or even impart industry-specific knowledge. Thus, C-suite needs to appreciate that commercial acumen is essential for HR when it comes to making a positive contribution to the overall running and future success of an operation. Without this fundamental knowledge, HR limits its potential to impact business strategy and goals, and is in danger of becoming too data-intensive and backward-looking.
There are several areas HR should focus on in order to add value to the company they are working for. The areas include talent management, analytics, and multi-generational workforce.
Talent management: HR can add value by sourcing, attracting and retaining the very best talent internally and externally. Employers need to position themselves in a manner that drives attractiveness and remains consistent with corporate branding. The job market is recovering after the financial crisis and candidates are now being looked at by employers as consumers, whereby they can make choices and change preferences regularly.
HR analytics: It’s all about data. Expanding HR’s analytical capabilities to improve decision-making and facilitate the discovery of Human Capital Insights will be key. The goal is to move from data being purely descriptive to being prescriptive, where it tells a story that enables you to make better data-driven decisions. The current HR analytical landscape of many companies will be complex, disjointed and un-user-friendly due to usability, outdated infrastructure and maintenance gaps.
Multi-generational workforce: People are living (and working) for longer. HR leaders must become change-agents in creating a workplace that can get, keep and grow talent from all five generations existing today.