Has HR really changed? Part two

by 10 Jul 2007

It’s been only three years since senior executives started demonstrating a more sincere conviction that talent is indeed the only source of differentiation and competitive advantage in knowledge economy organisations. Booming economies, globalisation, and an aging workforce throughout most of the world have made access to talent the number one issue in organisations. But how much progress is the profession making as a strategic driver of the business? How is HR transforming itself and organisations toward a place where people are viewed as talent and talent is truly managed as the most important competitive lever?

To help answer those questions, the Human Capital Institute and Vurv Technologies launched a research initiative last month to both provide a benchmark for future studies and to gauge the current state of the HR profession. Impatient to analyse the results and to encourage more participation, I’ve extracted some preliminary findings, and will briefly comment on what we’ve observed. We are eager to hear from Australian HR professionals, managers and executives as well, so I’d encourage you to complete the survey at www.zoomerang.com/survey.zgi

Overall, based on preliminary results, the news is generally good. In response to our first question: “Who does the head of HR report to in your organisation?” a surprising 43 per cent of respondents, across all sizes of companies, said the reporting relationship is to the CEO.

It follows that where an organisation’s head of HR reports directly to the CEO, HR is taken very seriously in that company. Our preliminary results show that to be true in a full two-thirds of the organisations represented in the responses. In fact, one-quarter of respondents said that HR is “Very important, highly-respected and consulted with frequently on corporate strategy”; encouraging indeed.

Our findings also suggest that while only 2 per cent believe it is a fast-track to senior management and career growth, at least 80 per cent appear to have chosen HR as a career, as opposed to being transferred into it without their consent (2 per cent). Most encouragingly, a solid majority not only believe it is a good career fit for them, they also want to be part of a profession that they believe is dynamic and changing.

By Allan Schweyer, president of the Human Capital Institute