The intersection between HR strategy and HR technology

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HR Needs to Be Scared

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Why?  Because we’re not doing our jobs and our bosses know it.

Workforce Magazine published an article saying “Business Leaders Don’t See HR as Key to People Strategies” and Thomas Otter asks a bunch of us this question:  “HR-HCM folks, does this concern you?”  Absolutely yes it does concern me.  And this isn’t the first time I’ve said so.  I feel like I’ve spent the last six month preaching that while HR has a “seat at the proverbial table” we’re just sitting there twiddling our thumbs.  We are all overjoyed that we’re doing great new things like talent acquisition and talent management – topics that have captured the deepest thoughts of our CEO’s.

But let’s face it:  The CEO doesn’t care about talent management!!!!

“Really?” You ask.  “Dubs, I change my mind about you.  You’re an idiot.” Well, let me rephrase.  They only care about talent in so far as they know they need it and they want their talent to perform.  HR thinks about talent management and we get ideas of training and performance reviews and merit processes.  Let me restate.  The CEO does not care about any of the above.

I’ve been sitting around the last few months preaching that it’s about innovation networks, collaboration and the resulting advances in technology, process, productivity and profits.  These networking ideas are “people” things that are a direct downstream result of the organizations ability to mobilize and get talent into a workable organizational model.

Only 23 percent of corporate leaders see their HR departments as currently playing a crucial role in coming up with corporate strategy and having a significant impact on operating results. And although business experts increasingly recognize people as a key intangible portion of a company’s market value, 63 percent of executives rarely or never consult their HR team on mergers and acquisitions. Even when it comes to regulatory compliance, a traditional HR domain, 26 percent rarely or never check in with HR.  ((Kiger, Patrick, May 29, 2007.  “Business Leaders Don’t See HR as Key to People Strategies.  Workforce Magazine.  Retrieved from on June 17, 2007.))

I’m not saying that the current pieces of talent management are unimportant.  Just like being on point when there’s a harassment case or the unions want to negotiate, there are some things we just have to do.  And when we focus on things like recruiting and performance, we’re thinking about talent, but not in ways that are always relevant to the business.  At the end of the day, CEO’s don’t care if they have talent.  They care if their talent is producing results, and if HR thinks that we can’t play in that game, then we should just get out of the game.

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One response to “HR Needs to Be Scared”

  1. jim Avatar

    Being a little weary and frustrated of “Why We Hate HR” articles, I’ve been trying to formulate what business leaders want from HR. Your observations and statistics bear out the fact that the expertise of the people these “business leaders” have placed and retained in HR positions is rarely tapped for the traditional personnel and compliance issues, why would we expect these business leaders to call on HR for strategic issues or mergers and acquisitions?
    I’d love to see a study that focused on the “business leaders” that strategically integrate HR instead of another study of how HR just doesn’t get it.