Re-blogged from Forbes.com
Author: Christopher Koch
We all know who really runs companies, right? It’s those who design/make and those who sell. Everyone else is referred to as part of a function in order to make sure, in case you had any doubt, that you are not part of the core of the business – you serve the business.
But everything changes, right? What if, right under our noses, one of those functions begins to matter as much to the success of the business as the traditional elite?
Who will negotiate with the Hollywood agents?
It happened with IT in the aughts and it’s happening with HR now. In an era when top IT talent has Hollywood agents, it’s time for CEOs to wake up and smell the commissions.
According to research by my colleague Fawn Fitter, HR has managed to edge its way into the C-suite in some companies, with mixed results. In some cases, the invitation is disingenuous and the CHRO gets to sit there and listen while everyone else makes the real decisions. In other cases, the top HR executives simply don’t have the necessary business chops to add much to the discussion.
This has got to change. In a recent interview with Fawn, Karie Wilyerd, Vice President of Enablement of Learning, SAP Education, and User Adoption for SAP, cited five strategic areas where HR must manage coming changes:
Have a succession plan for the Boomers. If your company’s IT department is 80% Baby Boomers, what is HR going to do when they all retire at once and the company has to replace all its legacy systems because colleges no longer teach COBOL?
Accommodate new work habits. The newest members of the workforce are increasingly diverse, insistent on flexibility, wedded to personal technology, and used to working in a more collaborative, freewheeling style than many companies are comfortable accommodating.
Quantify the skills gaps in your company. In a 2013 Accenture survey of US executives at large companies, nearly half (46%) were concerned that their companies will not have the skills they need – not five or ten years down the road but in the next year or two.
Maintain a stable corporate culture. The workforce is increasingly reliant on temporary, contract, and contingent workers, which puts companies in the challenging position of trying to maintain a stable corporate culture with a highly transitory workforce. HR must prepare itself to train and develop talent with the full knowledge that the talent might walk out the door tomorrow, only to return again, or not, at some future point.
Develop data analysis skills.Just 39% of companies use quantifiable metrics and benchmarking as part of their workforce development strategy. Only 42% know how to extract meaningful insights from the data available to them.
HR already tracks traditional activity metrics, such as number of people trained, number of forms processed, and benefits used in a given timeframe, but it can go deeper. Data analysis skills will let HR deliver solid strategic insights, such as “We don’t have enough people in the organization with skill Y to meet our needs if we land this big contract. Here are some options for filling that skills gap quickly.”
Clearly, HR matters now – and it has a lot of work to do. It’s time for CEOs to give HR the proper recognition and authority to do it and it’s time for HR leaders to stand up to the challenge.
View original article here.