Human Resource

 The challenges of leading and managing people were complicated by the financial crisis and global recession. The crisis layered in a new level of volatility and uncertainty on top of the accelerating change that most businesses were already experiencing. Companies that don’t adapt to the new state of high volatility will be rendered obsolete by more nimble and flexible rivals – and the key variables for adaptation are the quality of the work force and how it is deployed.

It is no longer feasible to conceive a strategy in an executive ivory tower and expect a docile workforce to implement it. Innovation and growth today require creativity and engagement by employees at all levels.
Most industries and countries will experience a widening gap, notably for highly skilled positions and for the next generation of middle and senior leaders.

Following HR facets stand out as the most critical:

  • Managing talent – identifying, attracting, and retaining talent – continues to be the most important future HR topic. Corporate capabilities in this area have improved only slightly since the last three years.The talent crisis demands bold responses. Skills for high-demand jobs in 2020 must be developed now. Demand will be highest for well-educated professionals, technicians and managers. All over the globe- in developed, newly industrialized, BRIC and developing countries – demand is soaring for these professions. Professionals will be in particularly high demand by companies in trade, transport and communication in developing countries. Healthcare research and development (R&D) will generate enormous demand for skilled labour worldwide, mining companies will need project planners and web designers will be in demand throughout many industries. Demand for other jobs will taper off as technologies render them obsolete. Filling higher-demand positions will require improved and more extensive vocational training, starting today. To be employable in 2020, graduates must be technologically literate and acquire transferable, cross-cultural learning skills. Any nation or company that continues to rely on conventional learning and routine, siloed work without fostering a culture of continuous learning will face an ever-deepening talent gap.
  • Improving Leadership development has risen in importance over the last three years. 56% of Survey respondents (WFPMA/BCG report 2010) cited a critical gap for senior managers’ successors. High-potential employees have many options, so companies must adapt their leadership-development programs in order to retain and motivate the best and the brightest inside the organization – including women, who tend to be underrepresented in talent pools. Companies should augment their training curricula and job assignments to foster the critical skills of formulating and executing strategy, navigating complex markets, and attending to a diverse set of stakeholders. In volatile times, leaders who can convey the company’s vision and motivate employees are invaluable. It is generally easier and more effective for home-grown talent to step into leadership roles. Yet companies fill more than half of their executive positions from outside, suggesting that internal leadership-development programs, including corporate universities, need to be improved.
  • Employee engagement suffered during the last three years because of layoffs and other cutbacks. Companies are now trying to restore a sense of pride and trust. Flexibility measures such as job mobility and flexible work arrangements can help improve engagement and are more effective economic measures than cutback over the long term.
  • Performance management and rewards is an area that separates strong and weak companies (as measured by revenue and profitability growth). It was ranked the second highest HR capability by high-performing companies but only ninth by low performers. This correlation highlights the value of focusing on performance and rewards.
  • Training and Development initiatives  - While both HR professionals and Business managers recognize the need for training and other developmental initiatives, the differences in their perceptions must be addressed. Business managers view HR professionals’ HR expertise as less important than their skills in business planning and conflict resolution. And, while both groups agree that business managers’ handling of poor performers is their most important people-management skill, business managers see a far smaller gap in their own performance than HR professionals do.

The success of almost every corporate initiative depends on the willingness of employees to go the extra mile. Executives now recognize that in order to fulfil their strategic goals, they will need to repair the social contact and rekindle the enthusiasm and energy of their employees. Middle managers are critical to improving the overall engagement and corporate performance. They see the vision at the top of the organization and the pain at the bottom. Middle managers however, frequently do not have the support of senior management or effective levers to do their jobs and provide assistance to their employees. In fact, for the past decade, middle managers have been set aside or neglected. The organization of the future, however, will require this group to be strong, effective, and prepared. Middle managers, who supervise the majority of employees, are key to bringing engagement back.

Functional Areas: