April 1, 2008

The role of HR in the Age of Talent

The role of HR in the Age of Talent is a survey* published by Vurv Technology and the Human Capital Institute that investigates the current global trends in HR. The survey provides useful insight into the relevance of the HR discipline in light of the intense global competition for talent that is now underway.

The survey “begins with a bang” by quoting Keith Hammonds as saying the following to Fast Company magazine.

“The human resources trade long ago proved itself, at best, a necessary evil – and at worst, a dark bureaucratic force that blindly enforces nonsensical rules, resists creativity and impedes constructive change.… it is a career graveyard for people who can’t make it in other parts of the business.”
~ “Why We Hate HR,” Fast Company Magazine, Aug. 2005

It follows, with this introduction.

“When Keith Hammonds made this provocative statement three years ago, the US had only recently shaken off the economic effects of the dot-com implosion and September 11. Since then, the global market for competent, skilled talent has gone from emergent to intense. Between May 2006 and today, unemployment among four year college graduates in the U.S. has averaged about 1.8 percent. In poll after poll, CEOs and corporate board members rank acquiring, retaining and engaging talent as the most challenging business problem they face. In 2007, the Economist Intelligence Unit reported that “human capital risks,” related to “loss of key personnel, skills shortages and succession issues” had become the number one risk to global business operations. At the same time, Deloitte reported that among its “Technology Fast 500,” the greatest challenge to continued growth was in “finding enough talent.”

Certainly these issues are pressing, and are only likely to intensify in the next 5 years, as the "Baby Boomers" around the world begin to retire in earnest. Perhaps most interesting on a global level, the survey unearths the following jewel.

"Despite the fact that only about 15% of organizations employ a chief level officer for HR or talent management, almost 60% of heads of HR report directly to the CEO"


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