Human resource professionals have long bemoaned their inability to focus on strategic aspects that impact their organizations, as they are burdened by the necessity to perform a wide array of administrative-type functions. Fortunately, that’s changing—and rapidly—as the environment is changing.
The industry is actually quite dynamic.
In previous posts, we reviewed a Harvard Business Review article by Peter Cappelli and Anna Tavis titled “HR Goes Agile” and discussed the shifts that are occurring in the talent management arena related to performance appraisals and coaching (Part 1), and teams and compensation (Part 2). Today, we look at two final elements: recruiting and learning and development.
A few years ago, unemployment was at some of the highest levels seen in years, and employers essentially had the pick of the litter when it came to finding talent. Today, the tables have turned, and many companies are struggling to fill roles. Cappelli and Tavis discuss GE’s creation of a “head count manager” position, whose responsibility it is to keep track of staffing needs across departments, serving the needs of hiring managers.
HR departments are also working hard to remove barriers that can negatively impact time to hire. GE, for instance, tracks cycle time and monitors metrics through a Kanban board to help identify opportunities for improvement.
Learning and Development
Learning and development (L&D) is another area that is seeing some big changes. The authors note that while many companies have had training resources available for employees for a number of years, there wasn’t much structure behind what to use and how to use it. They write, “Newer approaches use data analysis to identify the skills required for particular jobs and for advancement and then suggest to individual employees what kinds of training and future jobs make sense for them, given their experience and interests.”
In addition, artificial intelligence (AI) is finding its way into the L&D space and holds some promise for helping to positively impact employee career and succession planning.
Human resources may, unfortunately, be seen as an ancillary business function as compared with sales, operations, or finance. But innovative organizations are recognizing the power of effectively managing those human resources. Agile HR departments can build a competitive advantage, helping to ensure that workforce is right, ready, and resilient—and assuring HR leaders the strategic influence they seek.