Outsourcing and the new talent-centric HR approach
(This column has been written by guest author Sue Brooks, Managing Director, Ochre House.)
Last month we held our HR Directors Annual Symposium which saw leading figures in the HR profession come together from around the globe to discuss this year’s topic, ‘Redefining Business Value Through a Talent Centric Approach’; and the debate certainly gave me an insight into the current situation in HR.
A key trend which was widely acknowledged throughout the day was the increasing pressure on HR to enable growth whilst making operations leaner, faster and more cost effective to run, pressure which shows no signs of fading.
One of the speakers, Gyan Nagpal, former head of talent in APAC for Deutsche Bank and now CEO of the consultancy, PeopleLENS, emphasised the fact that corporate boards are looking for greater involvement and depth of insight from HR, which means it is now more important than ever that the profession presents its business case in a more structured and robust manner.
As pressure grows for this new HR role I can’t help but consider the Ulrich model, an application originally put in place to help HR grow and develop, which is widely being criticised for no longer achieving the desired impact. At a time when HR needs to connect at all levels within a company, the Ulrich model has in some cases removed the all-important middle and created a disconnect between process and strategy, an important connection which can be rebuilt as the profession reacts to the changing business climate.
The new HR role
In a challenging and ever changing economic environment it is difficult to forecast skills and organisational needs. As CEOs look to attract and retain the skills they need to remain competitive, they are in need of strategic outsourced business partners for assistance. In many instances though, they do not view the HR function in this way. To counter this, HR professionals need to align talent strategies with real industry needs.
In the first instance there is a level of education needed on both sides as to the role of HR at board level. For senior line management a better understanding of how talent management can contribute to the bottom line is desirable, whilst HR professionals, in return, need to learn the inner workings and language of corporations to be able to quantify the business impact of talent management in a way the board easily understands.
Take the people agenda for example. As this topic becomes a more important part of human resources, HR professionals need to be able to put it into more quantifiable, commercial terms, so board members can see the incentives behind it before they can agree to any investment.
An ideal approach to this new talent centric focus would see a partnership whereby both parties draw on their experiences to work together and develop robust strategic principles which supply the talent for a business which is yet to be defined. This is a great opportunity for HR professionals to be the guide business leaders are looking for and achieve the boardroom credibility desired by talent management professionals both as an outsourced function and internal resource.
Over the next year or two, external and internal specialists alike will need to take more risks when it comes to talent management in order to develop and retain the right people needed to keep up with the changing environment. Instead of working separately, HR professionals and line managers should be combining their talent management efforts to maximise success and support each other as strategic business partners should.
The full analysis of the HR Directors Symposium is available in the Ochre House White Paper Redefining business value through a talent centric approach. For a copy of the report please contact Prashanie Dharmadasa: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sue Brooks is one of the founders and the Managing Director for Ochre House. Overseeing all corporate strategy implementation and direction, she is responsible for the fulfilment of the company’s mission to deliver transformational value to clients measured in terms of increased productivity and business performance.
Widely respected as a thought-leader in talent management, Sue is a speaker and workshop facilitator on a broad range of HR topics and considered a champion of the adoption of talent programmes to spearhead growth. In 2001 Sue launched the global Ochre House HR Director Network, an extended think-tank of over 650 senior HR professionals from major companies which meets regularly to share best practice and new thinking in talent management.