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BW Businessworld

What Ails HR?

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HR professionals may be keeping track of a company's most valuable assets, the human professionals, but as far as their own lot is considered, they are struggling. Questions are being raised as to the actual contribution of HR in an organisation and inefficient processes and disconnected disciplines are holding HR back. According to the latest survey on next generation HR by global management consultancy —  the Hay Group — human resource professionals are making slow strides in becoming strategic business partners within their organizations.

Only 34 per cent of those surveyed believe HR is making any significant strategic contribution to their organization.  About 60 per cent positioned themselves somewhere in the middle, confirming that there's still much room for improvement.

The research, which surveyed over 1,400 HR professionals and senior management from around the world, found that the cost cutting and efficiency priorities – introduced to weather the economic storm of recent years – have now evolved to a focus on driving performance and growth. Meanwhile, the emerging HR concerns for the years ahead lie around developing the workforce and ensuring the right people are in the right roles and doing the right work.

"As market demands continue to change, organizational success will hinge on HR's ability to connect human capital decisions with business strategy. HR will need to stop clinging to traditional processes and inefficient silos and move toward an integrated approach that links work and people to business results. Such change is critical if HR is to transition to its rightful place of strategic business partner," said Phil Johnson, Hay Group's global head of work measurement.

However, respondents report that there is still significant misalignment across HR disciplines:

  • Only 40 per cent say work measurement and talent management processes are closely aligned


  • Even fewer (36 per cent) say talent management and organizational effectiveness are closely aligned


  • Slightly more than one-third (39 per cent) say they have moved away from traditional silos, but this leaves 61 per cent that haven't – or worse still, are unsure.

The research highlights how HR will lag behind management expectations if a holistic approach to people management - based on a framework of understanding work - is not adopted. Jobs are at the heart of HR processes, therefore it's crucial to analyze work if people resources are to be best deployed to deliver on business objectives.

Despite 76 per cent of respondents saying they use a formal work measurement system, the research suggests that many organizations are not seizing upon the full potential or making the most of their investment.

"Organizations are largely looking at Work measurement systems to align their rewards and grading architecture which is a sub optimal use of such a powerful organization effectiveness mechanism", says Sridhar Ganesan, Practice Leader, Rewards Services, Hay Group, India.

We are seeing a major shift aming our Indian clients who want the work measurement system to be a platform that would also anchor different HR processes such as succession planning, career pathing, organization design review etc. An holistic approach to work measurement can feed enormously into strategic decision making with respect to the organizations.