Sie sind auf Seite 1von 35

Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

What is Strategy? The origin of this concept can be traced in its military orientation, going back to the Greek word strategos, for a general who organizes, leads and directs his forces to the most advantageous position (Bracker, 1980; Legge, 1995; Lundy and Cowling, 1996). In the world of business it mainly denotes how top management is leading the organization in a particular direction in order to achieve its specific goals, objectives, vision and overall purpose in the society in a given context / environment. The main emphasis of strategy is thus to enable an organization to achieve competitive advantage with its unique capabilities by focusing on present and future direction of the organization (also see Miller, 1991; Kay 1993).

Over the past three decades or so a lot has been written under the field of strategic management about the nature, process, content and formation of organizational strategy (see e.g. Mintzberg, 1987; 1994; Quinn et al., 1988; Ansoff, 1991 Whittington, 1993; 2001). A classical strategic management process consists of a series of steps, starting from establishing a mission statement and key objectives for the organization; analyzing the external environment (to identify possible opportunities and threats); conducting an internal organizational analysis (to examine its strengths and weaknesses and the nature of current management systems, competencies and capabilities); setting specific goals; examining possible strategic choices / alternatives to achieve organizational objectives and goals; adoption / implementation of chosen choices; and regular evaluation of all the above (see e.g. Mello, 2006). The abovementioned first five steps form part of strategic planning and the last two steps deal with the implementation of an ideal strategic management process. They also deal with both the content (revealed by

Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

the objectives and goals) and process (for example, planning, structure and control) of an organizational strategy (Chakravarthy and Doz, 1992; Lundy and Cowling, 1996).

What is Human resource Strategy? Following hard on the transformation of personnel management to human resources management we are now being exposed to another new concept: human resources strategy. Already the literature and public courses are proliferating and urging us to develop a strategic approach. However, very few commentators have so far offered a framework within which to do this. Some have even suggested that, like human resources management, human resources strategy does not really exist and the danger is that it will be talked into existence [1]. So to date we have been offered a mixed discourse on a range of key issues facing organizations in the late 1980s and 1990s.

The failure to define human resources strategy is perhaps not surprising given the contentious history of the word strategy (from the Greek strategos: the art of the general) in the business world. Frequently regarded as being driven by product marketing, strategy has often provoked an It depends on what you mean by... type of response resulting in many different interpretations and considerable confusion with words such as planning, objectives, policies, goals and aims. To some, strategy is a formal process, consisting of a rational series of steps to which managers adhere in order to try to shape their organizations future. This rationalist view contrasts markedly with another which depicts strategy as an elusive and almost abstract concept. This alternative perspective of strategy has largely come from the work of Henry Mintzberg

Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy


Every organization has the same objective. In order to attain organizational objectives, it is necessary to integrate the interests of the employees with that of the employer. Hence the objectives of human resource management are derived from the basic objectives of the organization. The objective of the Human resources strategy is as follows: 1) Integration of goals: HR seeks to integrate all the individuals and groups within the organization by reconciling individual/group goals with those of the organization. 2) Cost containment: In todays competitive business environment, keeping expenses down or cost containment, is a critical HR goal.

3) Goals through able employees: HRM seeks to help the organization attain its goal by providing it with competent and dedicated employees.

4) Harmonious relationships: A top priority of HR is to create a climate in which productive and harmonious relationships can be maintained through partnerships between management and employees.

5) Optimization of human resources: By employing the knowledge and skills of employees efficiently and effectively HR seeks to optimally utilize the human resources of the organization.

Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

6) Growth and development of employees: HR seeks to ensure the growth and development of the employees by providing opportunities for training and development. 7) Self-actualization: HR aims to increase employee Job satisfaction and set them on the path of self-actualization by providing them with opportunities to utilize their potential to the fullest.

8) Satisfy Needs: By providing adequate compensation, HR seeks to ensure that the basic needs of the employees are satisfied and they are able live a dignified life.

9) Motivation: An important goal of HR is to motivate the human resources through adequate monetary and non-monetary incentives so as to stimulate better performance, which in turn will enable the organization to accomplish its objectives.

Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy


The HR Strategy is the important document, which sets the way of Human Resources for several following years and HR Management has to focus clearly on the design and development of the HR Strategy as the document is brilliant clear and it motivates the HR employees to work on its implementation. The HR Strategy development has to be managed strictly and the defined process steps have to be followed as the HR Management Team can keep the evolution of the HR Strategy under a full control as they are finally responsible for a delivered product. The HR Strategy development process should contain the following steps: 1) HR Information Gathering - The team has to complete the information about different HR Processes, their performance and their impact on the profitability of the organization. The profitability can be difficult, but the team can always make a good estimate about the impact of the process to the results of the organization. 2) Organizational Development Information - the information about the development of the organization in the past and its current status. Each organization has several stages in its organizational lifecycle and some trends in the organization are healthy and some trends are extremely dangerous and can impact the future profitability. 3) HR Workshops - when the input information are gathered the HR Team has to organize the workshops inside Human Resources, where the piece of the new HR

Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

Strategy can evolve. The teams should discuss the findings one by one and all the ideas should be gathered as they can impact the overall HR Strategy. 4) HR Managerial Workshops - the information from the previous HR Workshop with employees should go to the next level and the HR Managers should talk about the trends and the topics, which should be included in the HR Strategy and what is the impact on the whole organization and the HR team. The results of the HR Managerial Workshops have to be recorded and the priorities of different parts of the story have to assigned. 5) Preparation of the HR Strategy - a dedicated HR sub-team has to prepare the story of the HR Strategy from the approved outcomes from the HR Managerial Workshops. The story has to be strong and appealing for the audience and HR employees. 6) HR Strategy Feedbacks - the HR Management Team has to present the prefinal version of the HR Strategy to the fellow managers in the organization and their feedback has to be appreciated and fully and honestly discussed with the managers. The same session has to be organized for the HR employees as they can say their feedback to the HR Strategy Story. 7) HR Strategy approval - the HR Strategy has to be approved by the top management as they are the final customers of Human Resources and they should fully agree with the way, the HR wants to operate in the organization within several years.

Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy


Modern management of Human Resources is focused on perfect HR Processes and HR Policies, which support the constant building of the competitive advantage. The HR Strategy helps to build the competitive advantage and Human Resources Function, which is different from the competitors on the market. The HR Strategy aligns the HR Policies, HR Standards and HR Roles and Responsibilities with the overall business strategy and makes HR ready to process successfully the requests of the business units. It makes Human Resources to grow with its internal clients as the organization is fully balanced. As the internal clients of HR grow, Human Resources has to follow the internal clients closely as their satisfaction level is not decreased.

It sets the logical and approved way of building the effective HR Management in the organization, which results in a stronger company, and the organization better prepared for coming challenges. It prepares the organization for the coming future.

Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

The HR Strategy is a main HR Document for several years and HR employees have to update all HR Policies to make them fully compliant, the employees have to change many processes, the roles and responsibilities of HR employees internally and externally and they have to introduce many new HR Tools. It means the HR Strategy cannot be implemented within several months; the implementation of HR Strategy takes usually several years. The HR Strategy prepares Human Resources to increase the productivity and to implement the growth strategies and policies in Human Resources. There are no HR Strategy Best Practices on the market, it has to be unique as it is always a mix of the corporate culture development, developing and enhancing the HR Processes (selected ones building the strategic competitive advantage), feedback from managers and employees and the expected development in the society and the industry. The HR Strategy has to be unique for the organization as it works. Many organizations hire the HR Consultants to design the HR Strategy, but this approach usually produces a nice HR Strategy presentation in PowerPoint. The presentation has many slides, many HR Strategy analyses and the prepared implementation plan, which is never implemented at the end. HR Strategy Development The HR Strategy Development is a difficult and time consuming process as the team responsible for the design of the HR Strategy has to be set up and it has to be perceived as the team result, not the result of the activity of the single or few employees in Human Resources.

Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

The HR Strategy has to be clearly formulated and the team has to go through several milestones to have the certainty, its development is on the right track. The HR Strategy Development Team has to use several sources and many employees in Human Resources and many managers and employees from the organization have to be asked for the regular feedback. The team developing the HR Strategy brings the clear HR Strategy formulation, which is presented to the top management and when it is approved, it has to be communicated to managers and employees across the whole organization. HR Strategy Implementation The HR Strategy Design is difficult to evolve, but the effective HR Management is about the successful implementation of the HR Strategy, which meets all the expected deadlines and the outcomes have the desired quality. The implementation of the HR Strategy is demanding as the HR Team has to produce the standard outcomes and it has to reserve the capacities for the change management, communication and designing new HR Policies and new HR Department. The implementation of the HR Strategy is about the consistent work of the HR Management Team as the employees do not lose the confidence over the time.

Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy


HR Strategy

is an important unifying item in Human Resources. The employees

love to work, when they understand, what the goal of their effort is. And not just the goal of the day, but when they understand the whole concept, they can support it and they can find their own improvements every day. The managers can expect the improved services with an exact time line and they can be patient.

The HR Strategy development is a good opportunity to analyze the current status of Human Resources in the organization. As the team prepares the analysis of the HR Processes, measures the processes and prepares the internal HR SWOT analysis, the HR Manager has a perfect overview of the HR Function in the organization.

On the other hand, the HR Manager has to invite the most important internal clients to participate in the preparation of the initial HR analysis. The internal clients usually appreciate, they are invited and they can influence the final result as they see the HR internals and they can expect to see the successful implementation at their teams.

The HR Strategy can unify the HR team, when everyone is respected and the people are pushed to respect the rules of the game. No one can be more important, all the ideas have to record and they have to evaluated during the team meetings as the employees can see how important they are. It can be extremely demanding, but HR Strategy needs a support from the HR Team and this is a major benefit of the joint preparation. The HR Strategy should be presented to managers from different units in the organization and they can contribute to the process of HR Strategy development

Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

with the useful feedback. The HR Managers should welcome the feedback and the main messages should be fully incorporated into the HR Strategy as the managers can see their contribution was not useless.

The managers from other units can enrich the HR Strategy as they work with their employees every day and they can have useful ideas and tips from them. The employees in the organization have many friends in the external world and they usually speak about their jobs and HR Policies and HR Procedures are always a good topic for a small talk.

Finally, the written HR Strategy helps to the management of HR to monitor the implementation and the progress in the individual initiatives. The HR Strategy has to be divided into the individual yearly KPIs (and the balanced scorecard, when the HR Strategy is complex) and the management can easily report the progress to the rest of the organization.


Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy


The HR Strategy has to be developed using several sources as the document is connected with the existing reality. The connections to the reality are important as the employees believe; they will be able to implement such HR Strategy.

The most useful source of information for the HR Strategy development is the analysis of the internal HR practice in the organization. The HR employees have to analyze their jobs, they have to find all the gaps and they have to identify all the potential processes to be improved.

The other useful source of the information are the workshops among the HR employees, when they have a chance to influence each other and they can enrich the ideas of the others. It is extremely useful as the employees tend not to tell the idea to the others, when it is not in the area of their responsibility.

The employees are extremely useful for the development of the new HR Strategy, but it is not enough. Their ideas are not innovative enough and the HR Strategy is about a constant innovation in the daily agendas of Human Resources.

The HR Managers have to look for the external best practice, which can influence the HR Strategy. The external HR practice is extremely important as the HR teams follows the best practice and it can choose the area of the HR excellence, which will be used as the HR competitive advantage for the hiring and retention processes.


Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

The other excellent source of the information for the development of the HR Strategy are the job applicants, who were hired recently. They can speak about the HR practice at previous employers and they can influence positively the approach of Human Resources towards employees. They can warn Human Resources about the bad habits in other organization and the positive approach can be implemented in the new HR Strategy.

The managers have to be the source of the information for the new HR Strategy as they are users of the HR Policies and HR services. They understand the HR Policies and they feel the areas for the improvement. They can be extremely useful, when they are asked to provide the honest feedback and to add the priorities to their wishes.

The external HR Consulting Company can be used as the source of the information as the HR Consultants see many HR Practices and they can evaluate different HR approaches in different companies. They can easily generalize the experience and they can help the HR Management Team to bring the best HR Practice.


Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy


The HR Strategy is a document, which has several goals and these goals should not be hidden and they should be successfully propagated and promoted internally and externally. The HR Strategy is not just a roadmap; it is a nice inspiring story with the vision about Human Resources.

The HR Strategy brings the push to improve the HR services. Not just by the improvement of the current HR processes, but it usually brings some new HR services, which can affect the employee satisfaction and it can improve the work with the human capital employed in the organization. This has to be one of the goals of the HR Strategy as a proper analysis of the HR processes has to be done as some processes have to be cancelled, some processes will be redesigned and some processes with the value added will be introduced to the organization.

The HR Strategy has the goal of integrating Human Resources into the organization as it has to align the business strategy and the HR Strategy. The business strategy drives the whole organization and the HR Strategy has the focus on the human capital development and it is focused on the organization, which is slimmer, quicker and competitive on the market.

The HR Strategy is a good moment to present the ideal manager. The ideal manager has a good balance between the hard targets and the soft targets and the employees admire the strength push for the equal approach to all employees. The ideal manager supports the employees in their personal growth and supports fully the growth of the organization. The HR Strategy is a good moment to announce such a goal.

Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

The HR Strategy is a good moment to demonstrate what kind of the employee behavior will be rewarded and recognized in several years and the employees have a chance to adapt to these new rules. This is the extremely important goal of the HR Strategy as the employees can easily recognize the expectations. The HR Managers will coach the managers to recognize such a behavior and they will push the managers to reward the employees, which are fully aligned with the corporate culture.

The new HR Strategy has to increase the employee satisfaction, it is another goal for the HR Strategy. The employees will see the difference among the employers. When the employer is different, it is always recognized as the employer providing some extra to its employees.


Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy


The business world is changing at bullet-train speed technology, the global economy, increasing regulatory scrutiny, the looming talent crisis, the recognition that mental illness is dramatically affecting the workplace. All of these are having a huge impact on the HR profession.

The c-level is finally starting to realize how important your role is. They want you to get out of the day-to-day administrivia - while still making sure everything is done perfectly, mind you. They want you to measurably contribute to the top-line and the bottom line, and help mitigate risk.

There are ten major trends that you need to be aware of as your role evolves to meet these challenges. 1) The Changing Role of the HR Professional: We need to put the human back into human resources. Employees are humans, not commodities, and HR departments have to start seeing them differently. With the current push towards strategies that engage employees, attract top talent, and contribute to the bottom line, this change is imperative.

We need to stop whining about being at the table. These days, almost every book or article you read about the role of HR talks about HR needing to be at the table or to be more strategic.


Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

Its my observation that in almost every respected company, HR is at the table. So for most HR leaders, the question is not how do you g et to the table. It is now that you are at the table, how do you best contribute to the success of our organization? How can you be taken seriously at the table? Clearly the first step is to make sure that the organizations HR practices are effective. The practices should create competitive advantage by building strong organizations, strong leaders and managers, and strong teams and employees. But few HR departments do this in a measurable way. CEOs are demanding that HR stop giving lip service to strategic performance and find the metrics that prove they are contributing to the growth and performance of the company through effective people management.

Increasingly, more is being expected of HR practitioners than just being good at HR. They need to broaden their skill-sets so that they can sit at the executive table and understand as much about the business as the other leaders.

A Finance person who only understands Finance and a financial perspective, a Sales person who only understands Sales and the Sales perspective these individuals will have limited career prospects and very little chance of succeeding in a leadership role. The same holds true for HR people. That this is the case is good news for HR. It means that HR and HR people are too important to be set aside in the corner. It means that HR skills and knowledge need to be brought to bear on the strategic management of the organization.


Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

Organizations consist of people. People are real. You can see them, touch them, and hear them. And people have capabilities. And those people with their capabilities will determine whether the organization thrives or dies. As Jim Burns, Ceridians president, likes to say people are the only company asset that increases in value.

If HR is to be perceived as an enabler of business strategies, they need to be seen to be making measurable contributions to the bottom line through expense reduction, or revenue generation, talent management and risk mitigation. HR people need to be a lot more creative in the way they do things. The one size fits all approach doesnt work anymore. HR departments of today need to be the talent departments of tomorrow.

2) The War for Talent: The most important corporate resource over the next 20 years will be talent: smart, sophisticated business-people who are technologically literate, globally astute, and operationally agile. Talent really does matter for example top software developers are more productive than an average software developer not by 10x, 100x, or even 1000x but 10,000x (Nathan Myhrvold, former Chief Scientist, Microsoft) According to The Conference Board of Canada, the war for talent is fierce, and is likely to become more so with the massive number of employees retiring in the next five years. Top organizations are moving beyond the vanilla employer of choice concept to a more rigorous strategy of attracting and retaining the right employees through branding.


Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

Here are the facts: a) The Conference Board of Canada predicts a shortage of 1 million skilled workers by 2020. b) By 2006, for every two workers leaving the workforce, only one will enter. c) 2.6 new jobs are expected to be created for every person entering the workforce. d) Younger workers are now bosses of the older workers.

The key to attracting and retaining scarce skills is to be, and be seen to be, a firsttier employer that can meet the needs of high potential/high performance employees.

Traditional workforce planning is being replaced by talent strategies and skills gap analysis. Once they determine the gap, it becomes clear what talent they need to hire, to layoff, or to develop or transfer internally.

Now is not the time to sit in the ivory towers thinking you know who your major contributors are? You need to dig deep into the organization to identify the top talent, the high performers in every aspect of your business. In all likelihood its not the people who are the most politically astute or the most popular.

Traditional marketing practices are going to have to be applied to recruitment. Employer branding and unique selling points with a strong differentiator are imperative. Look at strategies such as changing your employer brand from the groan-inducing were a big successful company to a company delivering on the promise of continuous learning, work-life balance, personally-fulfilling roles and innovative reward and recognition programs.

Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

Some recruitment effectiveness strategies include: a) Employment branding b) Ongoing recruiting, not stop-start c) Nurturing relationships with strong candidates, even though no jobs for them are currently available d) Referrals this is particularly effective with Generation Yers. They do everything through leveraging their networks. They are always connected using mobile phones, text messaging, instant messaging, blogging or email. e) Realistic job previews f) Managers trained in interviewing (so that they will create a favourable impression of company) g) Selection criteria Can they do the job? (Competencies) Will they do the job? (Motivation) Can we offer them what they are looking for? (Cultural Fit) h) Rapid response and follow up Hard to hire skills are in high demand i) Debrief candidates as quality control monitoring for recruitment process j) Most candidates will not get jobs but they might be current or future customers, hence the importance of handling the rejection process effectively. k) Note: Ceridian surveys rejected candidates to get their feedback on the entire recruiting and selection process. Even though we have not hired those candidates, their feedback about the process and their treatment during it is very favourable.

Recruitment, while strategic, involves a lot of administration. Now is the time to outsource some of those tasks to organizations that have the people, technology and process so that you can decrease time-to-hire, increase the quality of your candidates and reduce your expenseswhich leads into our next point.

Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

3) Outsourcing of HR Functions: The Virtual HR Organization: If you are an HR professional I doubt that you got hired for your ability to process employee information changes, sort resumes or process the payroll every other week. CEOs expectations of their senior HR people have changed significantly. The HR executive is expected to deliver value in areas like organizational effectiveness, talent management, change management, leadership development, succession planning, merger integration, strategic compensation. If you read job postings for senior HR positions, these items are listed time and time again as the key expectations for HR leaders.

The primary benefit of HR outsourcing is that it will allow you to keep your job because it will enable you to tackle these more strategic issues! HR professionals need to embrace outsourcing. They cant be afraid of it. Outsourcing of HR transactions is a proven way to reduce costs and get access to a higher level of service.

There are five good reasons why companies outsource their HR services: 1. Cost reduction economies of scale, automation and process improvement, especially for transactional work 2. Focus allows HR to allocate time to strategic, not transactional, concerns 3. Regulatory compliance minimizes or transfer legal risk to the outsourcer and obtains specialized regulatory expertise. 4. Access to best technologies mutual benefits to ensure technology is continually upgraded


Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

5. No available internal resources provides an HR capability for a company that does not have one, cannot staff it, or cannot afford a full-time resource, but has reached a size and complexity where expertise is required

However, all that being said, the administrative, transactional aspects of HR are key. What you need to do is identify them now whether its your payroll, your Employee Assistance Programs, your recruitment or your HRIS systems. Then you need to go out into the marketplace and find outsourcing partners who can help take them off your hands. Its the only way you are going to become more strategic.

4) The Healthy Workplace: Wellness, Work-Life Balance There is no competitive advantage in exhausted, sick and stressed-out workers. There is growing recognition that there is a definite link between the work environment and the health and well-being of its employees. Further, employers are now recognizing the connection between employee health and the bottom line. Consider a) Specific types of work stress/strain are related to 2x the incidence of mental illness and substance abuse, 5x the rate of certain cancers, 2x the rate of infection/injuries and 3x the incidence of heart and back problems (Shain, 2000) b) Over half of Canadians working for large employers feel stressed, one in three feels burned out or depressed, many are thinking of quitting their jobs, and absenteeism is costing employers billion each year.


Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

Let me talk about a few of the findings of a major government-sponsored study of work-life conflict in Canada as well as published information from other credible research sources that point to the importance of a healthy workplace: a) Canadian companies are experiencing the impact of compromised mental health in an unprecedented manner: 1 in 5 Canadians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime. Harvard School of Public Health predicts that by 2020 depression will rank second to heart disease as the leading cause of disability worldwide, and the cost of mental illness in lost productivity in Canada alone is estimated to be over 30 billion dollars annually. (Global Business and Economic Roundtable). b) Canadians report working at a high speed "all the time," in greater numbers than workers in 17 other countries, according to a new report released by the Canadian Policy Research Networks. Working continually at a high rate is twice as likely to result in health problems, including stress. In turn, this leads to more absenteeism and disability claims both very costly to organizations.

5) The Diverse Workforce: What does diversity mean? Canada has a reputation for embracing people of varied ethnicity, religion, culture, language and beliefs. But our multicultural mix does not make us immune to the challenges of managing a diverse workforce.

Diversity goes far beyond the traditional employment equity criteria of gender, visible minority or aboriginal status, or disability. Diversity is not employment equity. Diversity is a business strategy. The reality is that todays workforce and the workforce of the future will be made up of a diverse, complex collection of employees, all with different needs and

Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

experiences. And this is good, because an organization with a broad variety of people with a diverse range of perspectives is better able to do business with a variety of people, to solve a variety of problems and to make a variety of decisions.

As companies become more global and are using more offshore services, it creates the need for diversity strategies that go beyond our own national borders. It will take a whole new level of education, tolerance and a willingness to embrace change. HR will need to provide cross-cultural support and training for virtual global teams. But diversity is not just about race, colour and creed. Diversity is about managing the demographic and psychographic characteristics of an evolving workforce. According to Reed-Lewis in The Learning Caf 2005, there are four generations in the workforce. 1) Silent or traditionalists 60 78 years old, 10% of workforce - characterized by tradition, loyalty, discipline, commitment, significant knowledge legacy 2) Boomers 41 59 years old, 46% of workforce - characterized by hard work (badge of honor), relationship oriented, change agents, competitive 3) Generation X 28 40 years old, 29% of workforce - independent (latch-key kids), entrepreneurial, flexible, demand work-life balance 4) Generation Y or Millennials 27 and younger, 19% of workforce- This generation was born with computers. They are comfortable in a multicultural environment and full of confidence As a business strategy, the value of diversity is to bring to a company the broadest possible spectrum of knowledge, experience and perspective. A diverse workforce consists not just of people with a broad range of demographic traits, but, more importantly, a broad range of educational backgrounds, professional and other interests, work experiences, life experiences and cultural perspectives. Ultimately

Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

the success of a diversity strategy is measured in how well we capitalize on the skills, intelligence, culture and experience of every employee.

6) The Impact of Technology Resistance is futile!

Eventually technology is going to eliminate most HR jobs as they exist today. Which is another reason for HR professionals to become more strategic. Technology, with all its self-service and anytime-anywhere communications capabilities, coupled with outsourcing, guarantees there will be fewer HR people in corporations.

Technology continues to impact us profoundly, both in our personal lives and in the workplace, and it will continue to evolve. While most of its impact has been overwhelmingly progressive and positive, there are some downsides to its effect on our personal and work lives. Cell phones, email, messaging and Blackberry-type devices have blurred the lines between work life and home life. Now we seem to be always on call, always reachable in our cars, in the air, at home virtually everywhere. To todays young professionals computers, PDAs, cell phones, etc. have become appendages, keeping them constantly connected.

Weblogs or blogs are favoured by this group so companies cannot afford to ignore their use or existence. A web-tracking site called Technorati reports tracking over

Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

7.8 million weblogs and 937 million links in March 2005. Thats double the number of weblogs tracked in October last year. In fact, the blogosphere is doubling in size about once every five months. Employers need to develop a strategy around blogging. Negative blogs will be able to destroy a companys reputation. Weve entered the century of the employee and technology has to res pond. CRM or customer relationship management is giving way to ERM employee relationship management. Employee self-service has become as important as customer self-service. Customized and personalized content will be king.

Employees can self-manage activities previously handled by human resource professionals. This is a cost-saving and time-saving benefit to organizations and it frees the HR practitioners to focus on more strategic issues. But more importantly, it is a fundamental expectation of Gen Ys and Gen Xs.

Technology that protects the privacy and security of HR data is more important than everbut more on that later. Its important that we continue to embrace technology and keep our eyes on new advances that may bring even better communication and collaboration tools. Technology helps people connect within the work environment regardless of time and place. It fuels the potential for increased productivity and creativity. Todays virtual workers and flexible work arrangements are made possible through communication technology. Organizations can be physically local, yet virtually global, thanks to technology.

Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

7) Talent Management: Leadership Development: Leadership skills are not built through courses. Management is a function of what you do; leadership is a function of what you are. When planning leadership development initiatives, the tendency is to first look for courses.

One of the scarcest capabilities, now and for the foreseeable future, is leadership. As organizations, their customers, their employees and their environment become more global, more complex, and more competitive and more subject to rapid and radical change, the competency requirements for successful leadership are increasing exponentially.

Most organizations would acknowledge that they currently have a shortage of leadership talent or bench strength; how will they fare when the bar keeps on being raised?

Leadership is less definable and therefore leadership capabilities are more difficult to build or transmit. Indeed, one could debate whether leadership skills can be taught at all, or whether they are innate.

8) Talent management: Succession Planning: We now live in a world where the jobs, the job requirements and the organizations are constantly changing acquisitions, divestitures, downsizing, mergers, and technology changes and on and on.

Many of us are in jobs that did not exist three years ago. Three years from now, many of us will be in jobs that do not exist today.

Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

The challenge for HR professionals is to figure out how to look deep into the organization to find talented, visionary people with a passion for the future. They need to anticipate the skills they will need in the future.

There are more and younger people going into leadership or management positions. What kind of mentoring and coaching do they need?

Traditional succession planning identified who could fill what box in the organization chart in how many years time, and what skills they would need to get there.

Even if we have remained, or will remain, in the same box in the org chart, the chances are very high that the skill requirements of our position will change significantly.

Many of us are in jobs that did not exist three years ago. Three years from now, many of us will be in jobs that do not exist today. In this context of unceasing change, succession planning needs to be re-engineered, to focus not on particular positions, which may or may not exist in the future but rather on the competencies that the organization will need in the future, regardless of how the individual positions or the organization chart changes.

Lots of companies have succession plans but very few have done the career planning and skills gap analysis needed to acquire the best talent. I would hazard a guess that most of the companies in this room dont have such a plan.


Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

9) Corporate Values and Culture: We are entering the third wave of public mistrust about corporations, according to Market and social trend analyst Daniel Yankelovich. The first, set off by the Great Depression, continued until World War II; the second, caused in part by economic stagflation and the Vietnam War, lasted from the early 1960s until the early 1980s. In each of these periods companies tended to be reactive, blaming a few bad apples, d ismissing values as not central to what we do, or ignoring opportunities to improve because we dont have to make major changes. The current wave of disapproval began in 2001 with the bursting of the dotcom bubble, the ensuing bear market and the financial scandals involving Enron, WorldCom, Tyco and others. But this time, corporate response is different. Companies are going well beyond the PR exercise of displaying values statements. Theyre engaging in values-driven management improvement efforts, training staff in values and appraising executives and staff on their adherence to values.

What is clearly evident these days is that more and more firms are unwilling to tolerate unethical behaviour from their executives. They are taking drastic action as in the case of the Boeing CEO who was ousted because of unethical activities.

Ethical behaviour should be a core component of company culture. Ethics related language in formal statements not only sets corporate expectations for employee behaviour, it also serves as a shield for companies in an increasingly complex and regulatory environment. But what is culture? What drives it? How do values affect corporate performance?


Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

Culture is not a concierge serving up free fresh fruit in the cafeteria, nor is it a values chart hanging on the wall purporting commitment to integrity, respect, honesty and customer satisfaction. Enron had a brilliantly-crafted set of corporate values. Obviously it was just there for decoration.

Organizational culture is the shared assumptions, beliefs and norms of behaviour of a group. It has a powerful influence on the way in which people behave.

An effective corporate culture is not about being a nice place to work. It is about engaging employees at a fundamental level and translating that engagement to performance that meets the organizations objectives. Increasingly, companies around the world have adopted formal statements of corporate values, and senior executives now routinely identify ethical behaviour, honesty, integrity, and social concerns as top issues on their companies agendas.

Business leaders are now recognizing that an effective corporate culture is essential to long-term success. They are taking steps to align corporate culture to business strategy. Many organizations are now making their values explicit and thats a significant change from corporate practices 10 years ago.

So what does an effective corporate culture offer? 1) Branding: the alignment of the vision of the employee with the vision of the company. In effect, it makes a promise about the values of the organization and delivers on it. 2) Engagement: The congruency between employees needs and those of the employer. Culture is a key element in achieving this match.

Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

10) Impact of Legal and Compliance Issues: Todays legislative and regulatory requirements surrounding data privacy, security, etc., are a bureaucratic nightmare that Kafka would have been proud of.

Highly publicized instances of poor corporate governance, combined with growing consumer concerns about security and privacy, have led us to an era of interventionist and regulatory government involvement in many facets of our business. Regulations or laws that we have to worry about include: 1) Affecting financial systems: Money laundering and support of terrorism (FINTRAC), Sarbanes-Oxley and its upcoming Canadian equivalent and others on a sector by sector basis 2) National security: Anti-Terrorism Act, Public Safety Act, PATRIOT Act (for those of you that deal with or have a corporate relationship with US based entities) 3) Privacy: PIPEDA (Federal private sector), Privacy Act (Federal public sector), public sector in all provinces, private sector in three, and health information privacy in four provinces.

Privacy laws are in the process of fundamentally changing the way in which the HR department interacts with employees. This may include but is not limited to: 1) The creation of employee privacy policies 2) Changing and more stringent rules on HR data 3) 'Least privilege' access rules to HR data - restrictions on access to HR data 4) Restrictions on employee references 5) Restrictions on background checks 6) Changing and more stringent records management practices 7) Implementation of data retention and data destruction policies

Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

8) Employee access to their own data If you have tried to get specific answers to these or similar questions such as how much security is enough or what is the best practice for protecting HR data? from your auditors, then you probably have the same scar tissue on your forehead as I do. On a case by case basis, the intent of each of the regulations is grounded in a desire to make sure that we do the right thing.

So what does all this mean to the HR professional? It means a lot of responsibility around risk management. It means we need to be looking for different skill-sets in HR to understand the new realities of privacy and security of employee data. And it means developing closer relationships with IT and Finance to understand the new rules.


Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

HR professionals need to step up to these challenges. If you dont, your C level executives will make other functional areas responsible.

Think like marketers. Establish an employer brand. Communicate the employer brand. Sell the employer brand. Dont just preach the benefits of continuous learning to your employees. Be continuous learners. Be at the forefront of the latest trends and requirements and react to them quickly.

Acquire a broader range of business skills, in particular, think like a CFO. What are the metrics that you can develop that prove to the business the impact you are making.

Get rid of the stigma around mental health issues. There is no workplace issue more important to your organization, to society, and to Canadas productivity. Anxiety and depression in the workplace must be dealt with or its going to cost your organization in lost productivity and a lot of money. Do real talent management know who your Stars are, nurture them, develop them, and figure out what support they need to thrive in your organization because if you dont another company will. Start working on an HR outsourcing strategy today. Otherwise, you wont have time to do the rest.

Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy

Soif there is a rallying cry for HR professionals, what is it? We need to be at the table? We need to be more strategic? No the rallying cry is we need to change the world of work. To do so we need to change HR departments into Talent departments, and HR professionals must become the C-levels of tomorrow.


Changing trends in Human Resources Strategy


Strategic Management --- Michael Vaz Strategic Management --- Charles W.L Hill Gareth R. Jones Strategic Management --- Anita Bobade