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Vol.2 Issue 8


Becoming a Relevant
HR Leader
What I learned from
Dave Ulrich

On the Cusp of
The future of HR

Strategic Thinking
And 3 myths that kill it!

Reflections on
HR Certification vs.
And its role in the
development of a field

Focus on Creating Value not Splitting HR

Dave Ulrichs letter to Ram Charan about splitting HR
Dave Ulrich
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08.2014 Vol.2 Issue 8



Becoming a Relevant
HR Leader
What I learned from
Dave Ulrich

On the Cusp of
The future of HR

Strategic Thinking
And 3 myths that kill it!

Focus on Creating Value not Splitting HR

Reflections on
Dave Ulrichs letter to Ram Charan about splitting HR
HR Certification vs.
You probably know by now that your commentary on HR on the HBR blog has created a Competences
stir, which may have been your intent. PG.07 And its role in the
development of a field

7 Focus on Creating Value not 16 On the Cusp of Change 24 Mergers and Acquisitions
Splitting HR The future of HR And the role of HR analytics and
Dave Ulrichs letter to Ram Charan about Natasha Dillon workforce planning
splitting HR Tracey Smith
Dave Ulrich 18 HR Managements Credibility is
Now On the Line 25 Reflections on HR Certification
9 Great Workforce Planning Important to be strategically pro-active vs. Competences
A hiring mystery exposed! Richard Dealtry And its role in the development of a field
John Hagen Dave Ulrich and Wayne Brockbank
20 Strategic Thinking
12 Becoming a Relevant HR Leader And 3 myths that kill it!
What I learned from Dave Ulrich Nick Tasler
Jonathan Jarrell
21 Building Business Performance
15 The Revolution in HR The truth about trust, engagement
From Administrator-in-Chief to Minister and performance
of Culture Rosanna Nadeau
Liz Ryan
Guest Editors Note Vol.2 Issue. 8

HR Strategy and Planning Excellence

Theres no question that todays HR lead- a turn of focus towards culture (articulating is published monthly by,
ership teams must focus on building value to the culture & mission in a way that resonates 124 Wellington Street East
maintain relevance and make progress for with employees, communicating it, and living Aurora, Ontario
Canada L4G 1J1.
shareholders, customers, executives andem- it) represents a powerful way forward for
ployees. HR. When employees are aligned with, and Editorial Purpose:
The fact that value can come in many living the culture, this nets us better results Our mission is to promote HR Strategy and
forms and is pretty well unique in every orga- in recruiting, hiring, retention, performance, Planning on constructive
nization, creates challenges and opportunities productivity and growth, all of which are values, sound ethics, and timeless
for HR; challenges in that theres no one-size- outcomes of value to the business. This revo-
fits-all, and opportunities characterized by lutionary perspective starting with culture Article Submissions:
business-focused engagement and consulta- and ensuring we have a strong, shared, and Please send any correspondence, articles,
tions with the clients you serve. aspirational one that motivates and supports letters to the editor, and requests to reprint,
In my line of work, I see first-hand how employees, will go a long way to delivering republish, or excerpt
articles to:
innovative, action-oriented and business savvy positive and measurable results. Editorial Department,
HR Leaders create value through fact-based In Nick Taslers point of view on Stra- HR Strategy and Planning
decision-making and the strategic use of in- tegic Thinking, he eloquently reminds us 124 Wellington Street East,
sights generated from workforce analytics that theres a major difference between being Aurora, Ontario Canada L4G 1J1.
yet there are a multitude of other strate- productive and being strategic given that Phone: 1-877-472-6648
gies and approaches out there to help you productivity is strategically agnostic. This
understand what value really means for your means that leaders must understand business Customer Service/Circulation:
organization, and how that translates into outcomes and what value means, make deci- For customer service, or information on
talent, leadership and capability to adopt sions about what is important and what is not products and services, call
the thinking of Dave Ulrich. important, and then act upon this by mobiliz- 1-877-472-6648 or
In this months issue, which I am thrilled to ing the right resources (talent being one of
be Guest Editor of, the focus is on a number them) in pursuit of excellence in getting the Internet Address:
of fascinating pathways HR Leaders can take job done. Nicely put Nick.
in order to ensure they are creating value for So, even though my Guest Editor jobs HR Strategy and Planning Excellence
the business. almost done and yours is about to begin Publishing:
Debbie McGrath, CEO,,
Dave Ulrichs cover story Focus on Creat- with regards to this jam-packed issue of HR Publisher
ing Value not Splitting HR is an articulate Strategy and Planning Excellence Essentials, Shelley Marsland-Beard, Product Manager
response to Ram Charans opinion on split- my day-job is entirely focused on helping Adnan Saleem, Design and Layout
ting HR (HBR, July-August 2014). Dave organizations focus create and build value
challenges Rams opinion and articulates the through HR. I encourage you to drive towards Marketing Offices:
ways in which HR can create value within the same! 124 Wellington Street East
organizations. Dave suggests that our current Please share this across your social networks Aurora, Ontario
single-minded focus on talent within HR is, and please provide your perspective! Enjoy! Canada L4G 1J1
in effect, obscuring other areas where HR 1-877-472-6648
can and should be making a difference. In John Pensom is the CEO of PeopleInsight, Copyright 2014
addition to the obvious emphasis on talent delivering cloud-based workforce and business
No part of this publication may be
analytics. He has spent 20 years in the people
(competence, commitment and contribution business and gained deep knowledge in how reproduced or transmitted in any form
of employees), Ulrich identifies two other technology, information and analytics drives without written permission from the
business and culture change. publisher. Quotations must be credited.
areas of priority - leadership and capabili- Visit
ties - where attention and effort must also be Email
LinkedIn John Pensom To submit articles for future issues submit
placed. He makes the case for HR to adopt your article to:
an outside-in view perspective. This means
looking at the strategies and actions around
talent, leadership and capabilities from the
point of view of those the company is working
to serve (customers, investors). Simply put,
if HR can deliver employees, leaders, cus-
tomer experiences, and a brand identity that
delight customers or investors, then they are
creating value.
Liz Ryan speaks from experience and puts
her own spin on the Revolution in HR and
encourages HR Leaders to transform them-
selves from acting as Administrators-in-Chief
to becoming Ministers of Culture. For Liz,

4 HR Strategy and Planning Excellence Essentials presented by | 08.2014

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COVER Article

Focus on Creating Value not Splitting HR

Dave Ulrichs letter to Ram Charan about splitting HR Interactive

By Dave Ulrich

Ram: body of work. Thanks for doing so much for so many for so long.
Hope you are doing well. Second, while you have an incredible breadth of work, starting with
You probably know by now that your commentary on HR on the strategy, I find that much of your recent work has tilted towards orga-
HBR blog has created a stir, which may have been your intent. I have nization and people (books on strategy execution, leadership pipeline,
had a number of people ask me my reactions to it and encourage me talent and advice on intensity, change, leadership traits, performance
to send a public rebuttal. I have spent a week thinking about your management, governance) My take on your blog is that it reflects an
comments so that I might offer a thoughtful response and I would increasing CEO and business leader emphasis on the organizational
rather share it with you than have a public brouhaha which does not capabilities required to win. I believe you have pivoted your attention
help me learn nor the profession move forward. So, let me share with to these organization dynamics in response to CEOs recognizing that
you my thoughts about your HR blog in a spirit of how it helped me access to financial capital, technology, operations, or even strategic
reflect and learn. (Note: Ram has approved sharing this letter to him positioning statements is less differentiating than their organizations
with a broader audience to encourage constructive dialogue.) ability to respond to opportunities. As business leaders demand more
of their organization, they look for counsel to create more competitive
organizations, thus raising the bar on HR. I find your work and this
blog affirming the value of HR to sustained competitiveness.
Third, as the bar on HR has gone up, more is expected of HR
professionals. Your blog (intentionally or not) lambasts the entire HR
profession (Its time to say good bye to the Department of Human
Resources). I think this is both unfair and far too simplistic. In my
experience, I see a version of what I call the 20 60 20 rule. My expe-
rience is that this 20 60 20 rule of thumb (not locked into specific
numbers) could apply to almost any function financial people
moving from cash flow to intangible market value; marketing and
customer professionals moving from product features and market share
to customer share; IT professionals moving from systems to informa-
tion and decision making. In HR (or any of these other areas), 20% of
HR professionals are exceptional, with growth mindsets doing value
added HR work that helps organizations move forward in areas you
have written about. 20% of HR folks are locked into a fixed mindset
and lack either competence or commitment to deliver real value.
60% are in the middle. It is easy to critique the bottom 20%, but it
is not fair to paint the entire profession with this same brush. In my
commitment to help the HR profession move forward, I tend not to
focus on either 20%. The top 20% are exceptional and dont need
help. They can and should be role models for others. You pointed
out a few of these folks in your blog. There are many others in leading
companies in senior, middle, and junior roles. The bottom 20% wont
take help. But, the 60% seem, in my view, to be anxiously engaged
in learning how to help their organizations improve. Sometimes they
are stymied by their personal inabilities to make as much progress as
First, I have such enormous admiration for your body of work. I they could, but I find that often they are also limited by their work
have followed your work for decades and find it some of the most setting and senior leaders who dont understand or appreciate the HR
illuminating insights on many important topics. You have a unique value. Business leaders are also likely to be 20-60-20 about HR value.
ability to bridge theory and practice, to synthesize complex disciplines Some get it; some never will; and some can be convinced. I hope we
into actionable solutions, and to work across functional boundar- can build the profession to lift the 60% by showing them what they
ies (finance, IT, marketing, strategy, HR). I marvel that you have can do to deliver value even if in difficult circumstances (e.g., non-
consecrated your life to building successful organizations. I appreci- supportive leaders, difficult markets, etc.). So, I think you made a
ate all you have contributed not only to the body of management more blanket statement about the HR field than a differentiated one.
knowledge, but to the practice of management. You have personally Fourth, as HR professionals engage with business leaders to deliver
coached hundreds and directly influenced thousands of leaders; you value. I think that the conversation is NOT just about talent. My
have shaped thousands of organizations to be better. I revere your view is that when the top 20% today (and hopefully more of the 60%

HR Strategy and Planning Excellence presented by | 08.2014

Focus on Creating Value not Splitting HR

tomorrow) engage with business leaders, they focus on three things: has been underway for over 20 years. We have talked about finance
talent, leadership, and capability. You have written about these three vs. accounting, marketing vs. sales, and information solutions vs.
issues extensively in piecemeal fashion, but it is useful to be explicit data centers. I (along with others like John Boudreau and Ed Lawler)
and integrated on what unique value thoughtful HR professionals have advocated dividing HR into the embedded HR generalists who
deliver to the business conversation: deliver talent, leaders, and capability to business leaders, HR centers of
Talent: Delivering competence (right people, right place, right expertise who offer unique analytics and insights into HR knowledge
time, right skills) * commitment (engagement) * contribution (growth domains, and service centers who do the administrative work of HR.
mindset, meaning, and well-being) of employees throughout the The logic of this HR governance model has been around for 20 years.
organization I am not opposed to your idea of separate HR into two groups, just
Leadership: Ensuring leaders at all levels who think, feel, and act surprised that you have not seen the idea being done. All of these
in ways that deliver sustainable market value to employees, customers, parts of HR need to work together to offer integrated solutions to
investors, and communities talent, leadership, and culture.
Capability: Identify the organization capabilities (called culture, In addition, the structure of the HR department should be tied to
system, process, resources, etc.) that enable organizations to win over the business structure (e.g., a centralized business should not have this
time. These capabilities would vary depending on the strategy, but HR governance nor should a pure holding company). It has been
might include service, information (predictive analytics, metrics), built on the logic of HR departments in diversified organizations being
innovation, collaboration, risk, efficiency, change (adaptability, flex- run like professional services firms. When run well, it has the benefits
ibility), culture change, learning, strategic focus, etc. of centralization (efficiency, economy of scale) and decentralization
Defining HR only as talent limits the value HR professionals can (effectiveness, local responsiveness). There are many lessons to be
add to a business. learned about how to make the basic structure you advocate work,
Our strong view is that talent, leadership, and capability focus but companies have been and are learning those lessons.
outside/in not inside/out. Outside in means that talent is not being Finally, with many others, I have an incredible passion for helping
the employer of choice, but the employer of choice of employees cus- the HR profession fully deliver value to organizations through busi-
tomers would choose, that effective leadership is defined through the ness leaders. I think that there is a holistic approach to moving the
brand promise made to customers and the intangible leadership capital 60% forward. This includes redefining the strategy (HR outside in)
investors value, and that capability becomes defined as the identity and outcomes (talent, leadership, and capability) for HR as well as
of the firm in the mind of key customers. We have suggested this the organization (HR department structure) as well as innovating HR
outside/in view of HR complements current strategic HR perspectives. practices (in people, performance, information, and work) as well as
Note that the HR processes (staffing, training, compensation, indus- upgrading the competencies for HR professionals (we have 25 years
trial relations) can be used to deliver talent, leadership, and capability, of assessing what HR professionals should be, know, and do) as well
but the focus on good HR is on these three simple but demanding as getting HR analytics focused on decisions more than data. It is
outcomes. Many great organizations are relying on thoughtful HR not easy to move a profession forward. The top 20% dont always
professionals architect these three outcomes. share their lessons in ways that others can learn. The bottom 20%
I actually worry that the HR profession has focused too much on become too much the focus of attention and cannot change. And,
talent. Your advocacy for a talent HR role actually limits the breadth the 60% get discouraged when respected colleagues demean and
of what I think HR can and should deliver. My view is that when (unintentionally, I believe) belittle them and their efforts.
HR professionals bring unique insights about talent, leadership, and This is a much too long response (far longer than your blog) to your
capability to the senior management dialogue, they add enormous commentary. But, I hope that you can see that your words create
value. The top 20% of HR professionals already bring these insights response. I would hope to look forward not backward, to be upbeat
and hopefully the accessible 60% can learn to do so. In addition, not downtrodden, and to help HR professions who want to deliver
I think that HR professionals should have unique ability to define value be more able to do so.
and deliver in each of these areas rather than line managers who get Take care.
moved into HR roles. And, I hope you continue to produce integrated insights that create
Fifth, your recommendation for restructuring HR into two groups competitive organizations. S&P
has two concerns for me. First, it offers a structural solution (reorganiz- Dave Ulrich
ing HR) to a more fundamental challenge which is shifting HR focus
to delivering value through talent, leadership, and capability. I think
Dave Ulrich is the Rensis Likert Professor of Business at the Ross School,
the solution to moving the 60% of HR professionals forward is not University of Michigan and a partner at the RBL Group a consulting firm
as simple as splitting HR into two groups. I am a little surprised that focused on helping organizations and leaders deliver value. He studies how
organizations build capabilities of leadership, speed, learning, accountability,
your integrated strategic approach to business that flows throughout and talent through leveraging human resources. He has helped generate
your body of work is simplified into a governance solution to the award winning data bases that assess alignment between strategies, organiza-
tion capabilities, HR practices, HR competencies, and customer and investor
HR challenge of delivering more value. Upgrading HR requires more results. He has consulted and done research with over half of the Fortune 200.
rigorous redefinition of how HR can deliver value, how to develop Visit
HR professionals, and how to rethink the entire system of HR work
in a company. Simply creating a new HR department in two groups
is not enough. Books by Dave Ulrich
Second, your recommendation of separating HR into two groups

8 HR Strategy and Planning Excellence Essentials presented by | 08.2014

Great Workforce Planning
A hiring mystery exposed!

By John Hagen

Can a Workforce plan be developed, implemented and successful title or buzzword in their online rsum--or have six years experience
if it cant find and retain the people needed? instead of seven. Research done by the U.S. Federal Reserve revealed a
We have developed and perpetuated the inability to identify, hire nice tidbit: When there are lots of applicants, employers tend to raise
and retain great people, not find them.... their standards, hoping to score a way-above-average hire.
In the 04/2014 issue of Inc. magazine Cait Murphys article Is There Simply put, employers pile on so many requirements that finding
Really a Skills Gap?, should have every companys and HR/Talent/ a match is like hunting for a white elephant: They do exist but are
People heads blood boiling at hearing the dreaded constant refrain of vanishingly rare. Employers, in fact, are not shy about saying this is
we cant find qualified people..Because, in a phrase, the skills what they are doing. According to a 2013 Career Advisory Board survey
gap doesnt exist. except in todays recruiters results and minds!!! of 500 U.S. hiring managers, 67 percent said they dont feel like they
This is supported by the U.S. DOL, the BLS, the Wharton School of have to settle for a candidate without the perfect qualifications. So
HR, the Federal Reserve and many otherslike me who have been if they dont find the white elephant, they will keep hunting--even
sounding the alarm and sending the message for a number of years. though there are willing elephants ready to do the job.
Butwe continually hear there arent enough qualified people. That When we look at the hard numbers, none of them are so dra-
concern is reflected in numerous recent surveys of businesses--big and matic that you get the sense that this is a major, major issue right
small. Almost four in 10 U.S. employers told Manpower, a staffing now. Another clue that the skills gap is overblown: About 8 percent
company, that they were having difficulty filling jobs. The feeling is of executives surveyed said they were considering moving out of the
particularly acute at small and midsize companies. The U.S. Chamber U.S. because of issues related to skills. But almost five times that many
of Commerce reports, 53 percent of leaders at smaller businesses said were considering moving back to the U.S. because of the presence of
they faced a very or fairly major challenge in recruiting non-managerial skilled labor. The only evidence of the skills gap, says Peter Cappelli,
employees. A 2013 survey of Inc. 5000 CEOs, 76 percent said that is employers saying Ive got a problem.
finding qualified people was a major problem. There are issues finding people for specific jobs in specific industries
Whos reporting this? I find it hard to believe any CEO has any in specific areas. For the labor force as a whole, however, the skills-
actual recruiting or Talent acquisition assignments. Logic would gap crisis is no such thing. And to the extent that your business is
say the HR department or other well intentioned survey reports are having problems, to a large degree, the solutions are in your hands.
being ingested and repeated as a statement of fact I believe HR is Specifically: Start training programs, pay competitive wages, and work
reporting their own broken unquestioned application/hiring processes with governments and community colleges. Of course whats really
and practices resulting in a failure to attract, identify and hire quality being said, and some of us have been saying this for quite a while
candidates. How can a Workforce plan be developed and implemented the recruitment and retention process is broken. We have developed
if you cant find and retain the people needed? and perpetuated the inability to recognize, identify, hire and retain
One possible reason companies and HR may not realize there is great people, not find them.
a problem is the number of HR departments who outsource their The old saying about no matter how hard you try to polish a
Recruitment. The extent to which this has happened is somewhat a sneaker.its still a sneaker (the cleaned up version).... seems to apply
matter of semantics. If they use an outsourced (paid/leased) applicant here. The ATS may be the greatest recruiting innovation ever, but it
tracking system they have outsourced at least part of their recruitment was designed for volume, speed, metrics, record keeping and tracking
effort. Taleo and Kenexa immediately come to mind, but there are (hence the name Applicant Tracking System). It is neither the greatest
many others. When you also include the emphasis on temp workers for finding great candidates for the company or recruiters nor for the
handled by temp agencies, employment agencies and outside recruit- Applicants. Otherwise it would be called the SCS (Superior Candi-
ing firms, the outsourced % really climbs. This puts a great deal of date System) or SCMS (Superior Candidate Matching System)!!! Is
distance between the applicant, HR and the company. there an app for that?
OTHER POSSIBILTIES: Regarding laborious application processes Finally, although actually a prerequisite, the holy grail and at
and the dreaded ATS - heart of a Workforce program is the question, How are you going to
A 2013 study found only about 17% of those who begin the ap- keep em once you get em? Failed Employee Retention represents
plication process on an employers career web site actually complete about 40% of current openings in the professional and management
it! 17%??? If this is true, and I cant refute it, it is a powerful message arena alone!!!! 40%!!! What type of successful Workforce plan can be
regarding how disengaged company hiring processes are from their developed and sustained if 40% of the trained thought and manage-
applicants. ment leadership leave annually? what???
The extensive use of online hiring applications, for example, is not To question the Why results of poor retention requires questioning
exactly helpful, says Peter Cappelli, an economist at the Wharton the fundamental culture of your company/organization, way down deep
Schools Center for Human Resources. Screening software can and at its heart. Without that answer, a plan to change the fundamental
does filter out otherwise-qualified people who just dont have the right attraction and retention structure of your company will result in the

HR Strategy and Planning Excellence presented by | 08.2014

Great Workforce Planning

continuation of these same problems. This is whats causing the new We have a major company (HR) to people disconnect AND we,
3Rs (Ridiculous Recruiting Results) in the first place.a catch 22 HR, did this!!!
the definition of insanity.continuing to do the same things over IN SUMMARY
and over, but expecting a different outcome or result. It wont change if we think its fine. It wont change if we dont
Rather than to continue erroneously reporting the results of broken recognize it as a problem.
systems and processes as a skills problem and our nation failing at How do we fix it? What can we do? Do we need additional steps?
supply an educationally rich system to fill real skills gap needs, busi- Are there other solutions?
nesses should be getting involved and make a difference (this should THIS?
be an HR mandate). Why not start with fixing obvious $0 cost items
like job descriptions and the dreaded ATS pass through conundrum.
Asking real and insightful questions about why things arent working
would be the easiest $0 cost step..One just has to have enough POOR / POISONOUS
knowledge and awareness to ask the right questions to begin with. No
core people
company culture lack of average pay

However, you just have to ask the right questions and be willing to lack of poor quality
attraction processes policies Poor employee
reward candidate
negative & fear based referral
commit to and make the right changes. internal brand people policies

lack of trust & respect

Most applicants react terribly to the lack of input or response TM
and it has been happening for years. It has become a real applicant
issue in the recruitment process. There have been long running and
varied discussions testifying to the extent of the feelings surrounding
this absence of or poor human to human interaction in the Human
Resource application process. The ATS embodies this and recruit- OR THIS?
ing firms, RPOs, HR and their companies continue using it as Their
Primary Matching Tool rather than a tool.
To simply say this is the way we do it, fails to address the issue - the great values

bad results of these processes, regardless of whether it is efficient or

not! The ATS is very efficient - at its designed purpose.Tracking quality Great
GREAT core
GREAT TOTAL pay quality
Great company culture TOTAL
applications historically for federal reporting purposes. Whether or Candidate
policies (internal brand)
retention rewards
referral &
not it is a reliable candidate matching system as it is being used in
most companies, is the heart and soul of the disconnect issue. trust & respect
Simply because companies hire people from the process doesnt
address this issue, either in terms of its results internally to the orga-
nization .or. to the applicants perception and feelings about that
organization, and its reputation, having gone through it. Because, the S&P
results are most applicants/candidates hate the process, how they
are treated and how it makes them feel both personally and about the John Hagen has headed Talent and People Services (HR) for Fortune 300,
Private and Family Owned retail and vertically integrated manufacturing,
company, regardless of why it is happening! wholesale and delivery, developing both start-up to maturity scalability and
Or as Tucker Miller, Esq. at ELI said on Fri, Aug 01, 2014, Trying transforming $Multi-Billion brand cultures.
LinkedIn Johnr Hagen
to convince people that their feelings dont matter, particularly in the Email
face of our own anxiety and frustration or busyness, is absurd. Feel-
ings matter; they matter a lot. And as I am frequently reminded by
a wonderful friend and colleague, success is best measured by how
we make people feel, not by what we check off of our to do list or
add to our resume.
If the companies use these systems, but the applicants/job seekers/
candidates hate it, no good justification or reason can ever be made
to that candidate/applicantyour customer or potential customer!
From a purely company customer/consumer sales perspective, what
company could justify alienating customers???
The result is HR/companies are allowing an ATS to speak for
them (or in this case not speak). How oxymoronic it is that the ONE
department tasked with applicant to company and people to people
contact, interaction and communication has allowed a software system,
RPO or recruiting firm to not communicate for them!!
As the late great poet, Maya Angelou, said I have learned people
will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people
will never forget how you made them feel.

10 HR Strategy and Planning Excellence Essentials presented by | 08.2014

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CONNECTING HR EXPERTS GLOBALLY For more information phone: 1.877.472.6648 email:

Becoming a Relevant HR Leader

What I learned from Dave Ulrich

By Jonathan Jarrell

A few weeks ago Joyce Chastain (President of HR Florida) for a HR Manager in Atlanta. I asked all the candidates that exact
and I had the opportunity to interview Dave Ulrich specifically question. Who are your customers? EVERY single one of them
on the topic of Becoming a Relevant HR Leader. Not only was replied the employees.
it an honor to interview a man who has had a great impact on What most HR people think is their customers are the employees
our profession, but listening to his advice really made me reflect of the company because after all its them that we serve or cater to.
on my own career and forced me to ask myself am I doing the Wrong!! If you are a relevant HR professional you know the customers
things that make me a true relevant HR leader? of HR people are the customers of the company itself those people
To give you a brief overview, Dave Ulrich is a university professor that pay for the bills and buy your products and services.
at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan. He is a So instead of thinking about how you can help your employees,
management coach and consultant and he co-founded The RBL think about how you can help your business with the overall goal of
Group, a leadership consulting company. He is also a speaker making money. Believe me by supporting the goal of making money
and an author, having written over 25 books on the topics of you are supporting your employees.
leadership and human resources. The second point comes from a behavioral perspective. This means
There is no doubt that he has made a mark in the field starting with simple behaviors and directing your focus on building
of Human Resources, being dubbed as the father of human talent, leadership, and culture to make growth happen. We as HR
resources, receiving the Lifetime Achievement Award fromHR professionals should act as both pastors and parents to the employees
Magazinein 2012, for which he was also honored as the most influential we serve. As pastors, we focus on the social side. As parents, we take
person in HR for three years. care of the business side.
So what have I learned from the Father of Human Resources? Potential of HR as CEO
The 20-60-20 Rule Interestingly, Dave talked about the tremendous value HR can add
In the interview, Dave shared that HR people are categorized into to any company and I am a believer of that. Whats more interesting
three groups. Those that belong to the top 20% are considered as is that Daves study suggested that the profile of an effective CEO
the best of the best. These people are strategic; talent focused and actually matches that of an effective Chief HR Officer. So if we as HR
understand business results. The next is the middle 60% who may people have that business skill set, then we certainly can be candidates
have the ability to transform themselves into the top 20%. And lastly, for CEO. Let me ask you what one thing can you do today to get
the bottom 20% which consists of those who will never understand yourself to the next level?
that their role integrates with the organization they serve. In short, Long Term Commitment
they will never get it. These are the people who do not bother to learn Another important lesson that I have learned from Dave is
the details of their business. transforming how we lead from a choice model to a commitment
So which among these three should you focus on? model. Sometimes, weve got so many things on our plate each day
Dave says that we should focus on the 60% and it does make that we get caught up in our daily choices that we tend to set the
absolute sense. The first group basically knows what theyre doing more important aspects aside. We are too preoccupied with making
and theyre the ones whose goals are synchronized with that of the the right choices everyday i.e what does the handbook tell us, what
companys so minimal supervision is required. On the other hand, does the labor attorney tell us, while we should instead focus on the
directing most of your attention to the bottom 20% may only prove long term commitments that we need to make in order to achieve
futile, because theyre not going to get it. These are the people who long term business success.
still focus on command and control and love to find ways to stifle the Lastly, we should act as anthropologists. We are not called Human
organization with all the reasons why an initiative wont work or why Resource professionals for nothing. Hence, you should interact
we cant fire someone. In short they love to be the department of NO with your employees as humans instead of treating them like they
or the HR police. Sometimes, taking off your HR Cop Uniform is are our numbers. The best value you have as a HR professional is to
not really an act of defeat or surrender, but rather an act of strategic invest in yourself and then invest in others. I always like to say in my
thinking. Instead, focusing on the majority of your time where you leadership presentations that the action is in the interaction we have
will get the best business results is what you should strive for. with people. S&P
Focusing on the 60%
Now that you know where to focus your efforts on, the next Jonathan JJ Jarrell is a Regional Human Resources Manager for one of the
challenge is HOW? largest food distributors in the United States and one of a select few leaders to
be trained and certified as a coach, speaker, and trainer by The John Maxwell
Dave outlined two points to help us accomplish this. First is to Company. JJ has successfully blended his passion for leadership, human
start working on the intellectual agenda. This entails shifting your resources, and people into a career that inspires, guides, and supports the
growth of others.
mindset in the way you see who your real customers are. As a HR Email
professional, who is your customer anyway? Recently I was recruiting Visit

12 HR Strategy and Planning Excellence Essentials presented by | 08.2014


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The Revolution in HR Interactive

From Administrator-in-Chief to Minister of Culture

By Liz Ryan

There is a revolution going on in HR, quietly but insistently. have to look after regulatory compliance issues and take care of
HR chiefs around the world are seeing that they cant policy daily fire-fighting, but those tasks will become easier.
their way to greatness, or performance-manage their way there. When employees are excited about the organizational win
In order to have the impact they want and need to have on their and their own win as intertwined goals, they wont have time or
organizations, they have to take a completely new approach. interest in internal politics. Petty squabbles will become less of
These HR leaders are ditching the old frame for HR, the mental a focus, and the informal grapevine wont be as essential a com-
model that taught them HR is the function that keeps track of munication network. When people know what theyre working
employee matters, and keeps our organization out of court. That for and know that the company is behind them, naturally they
is the palest version of the colorful and vibrant influence that bring their best to work.
your HR function can have on your organization, not to mention How do you morph from Administrator-in-Chief to Minister
on your employees, customers, shareholders and community. of Culture? Start with the organizational mission. If the mission
When HR leaders step out of the old Administrator-in-Chief isnt clear to employees, start to yell it from the rooftops. Im
job description into a new role as Minister of Culture, the job not talking about the Mission Statement on the wall in your
becomes a lot more influential and a lot more fun! boardroom. Most Mission Statements are boring and evergreen
they never change. No ones going to get excited about making
Video your company The leading provider of yada yada with excellent
customer service. Thats every companys mission statement.
Rather, what are you trying to accomplish over the next year
or two? Let the employees know about it. Let them in on the
win. Let new employees know what youre driving toward and
how their job helps everybody win.
Once the mission is clear, look at your policies. Most com-
panies have way too many policies and procedures. Its nearly
impossible to make an independent move, and thats incredibly
frustrating to the smart and capable people you hire. You can
have fun dismantling and re-evaluating every policy in your
Employee Handbook. Do all of those rules and restrictions
really serve their purpose, or do they merely slow down your
For years weve been told that our mission as HR leaders is to operation and keep the brilliant people on your team from using
get a seat at the table. That begs the question Once Im at the their brains and energy?
table, what will I talk about? Well, what are the other leaders at Lastly, talk about fear and trust at every opportunity. Make it
the table talking about? Theyre talking about the organizational easy for people in your company to share concerns. Go past the
win. Your Sales leader is talking about how to hit his or her sales annual Employee Engagement Survey to ask every employee how
goals and keep the company growing. Your Manufacturing leader theyre doing, all the time with a confidential email address for
is talking about using new technology and innovation to keep reporting problems, a confidential telephone hotline and even
your manufacturing processes ahead of the competitive curve. an old-fashioned suggestion box. Make it easy and organic for
You have the same agenda to move your company into the your employees to speak up. If you start with these three shifts
future and to grow your own flame in the process! We are all in the energy, youll soon see the benefits of creating a human-
learning and growing at work, and if were not, then the paycheck powered workplace.
cant possibly be compensation enough for the time and energy Youll grow your HR leadership flame in the process, too! S&P
that we expend. When you look at the impact that a Minister
of Culture can have on his or her organization, the possibilities Liz Ryan is a former Fortune 500 HR SVP and the worlds most widely-read
HR and workplace commentator. Liz is CEO and Founder of Human Work-
are immense. place, a publishing, coaching and consulting firm whose mission is to reinvent
A great organization brings in the best people in the talent work for people.
Call 650 276 6088
marketplace, and keeps them excited. When your culture is Visit
widely known as open and friendly, people seek you out as an Email
employer. Your employees bring in their friends to fill your open
spots. Everything is easier. People have more fun and trust one
another more. They trust their managers and they trust HR.
When you embrace your Minister of Culture role, youll still

HR Strategy and Planning Excellence presented by | 08.2014


On the Cusp of Change Interactive

The future of HR
By Natasha Dillon

Did previous generations of HR transformation end up too quality of their organizations current HR practices.
big? Too expensive? Too standardized? Too systems-driven? While a majority rated their own organization as progress-
A March 2014 whitepaper published by the Hay Group global ing, many felt that more focus or investmentfor example, in
management consulting firm found that many in the field recruitingwill be required across almost all functional areas.
believe this to be trueand that the HR function is on the Enterprise and Verizon are named as organizations that have
cusp of change. brought core recruitment activity in-house to drive employee
It is clear that HR needs to be responsive, solutions focused, brand recognition, take control of the recruitment experience,
and proactive, with hard business acumen, looking not just at the and better manage recruitment costs.
short term, but one, two or three years ahead, states the report, Those who are recruiting the best and have the best brand
On the cusp of change: The future of HR, which published the names look to prefer an in-house recruitment model, Ralph
results of an extensive research project conducted with Z_punkt, Tribe, Organization and People Development Director for British
a German foresight analysis firm. telephone services company BSkyB, said in the report. Survey
According to the study, the HR field will look radically dif- responses about attracting, recruiting, and retaining employees;
ferent by 2030 thanks to six converging megatrends that will workforce planning; performance management and reward; learn-
impact people, work, and business: ing and development; and four other categories were analyzed.
Globalization 2.0: Western firms will find opportunity in Since the industrial revolution, and onward through to the
the rapid urbanization and growing middle class of emerging present day, workers motivations and perceptions of work and
marketsbut with new and significant competition in these the organizations that employ them have changed, the report
local workforces, partnerships, joint ventures, and collaboration statesa trend that is likely to accelerate.
will become more critical to these firms success. Change is the defining characteristic of each of the mega-
Environmental crisis: A scarcity of natural resources like trends, the whitepaper states. Their other dominant attribute
water, food, and rare earth minerals will challenge companies is a significant impact on people.
supply chains and product development operations. More sus- Key principles for being fit for the future of change include
tainable operations will be critical, both for environmental and aligning HR with business strategy; finding the right balance
commercial reasons. between standardization and differentiation; organizing cor-
Individualization: Customers and employees now expect porate activities around customer needs; and building an HR
systems to flexibly meet their needs, and they often switch function with analytical capability, technological savvy, and
between brands and employers that dont adapt to meet this business acumen.
newer reality. The HR function is uniquely positioned to help organizations
The digital era: With social media and other tools, customers adapt to these trends and will need to be at the heart of these
and employees can endorse and help build a brand. Since the changes, the report concludes. The challenge for the function is
opposite is also true, businesses must become more responsive, how to simultaneously play a leading role in the transformation
more accountable, and more engaged. Further, as digital data of the organization while managing its own evolution. S&P
grows, companies must address questions of privacy and ethical
behavior with employee and consumer information.
Demographic changes: Increased life expectancy means people
Natasha Dillon is the Associate Director of Hay Group. She works with
can work longer, and the addition of smart young talent to the senior leaders to develop and implement strategic change solutions. During
employment market is testing organizational policies and ap- her 17-year career in HR and consulting, she has built a particular specialisa-
tion in organisational change and business transformation, working with
proaches. Together with a more diverse workforce and increased clients in the consumer, manufacturing, pharmaceutical and oil and gas
employee mobility, organizational structure and management sectors. Natasha joined Hay Group from Ernst & Young, where she was
responsible for new business development and transformation in the field of
will need to adapt. people and organisational change.
Technological convergence: Cloud computing, personal Visit
LinkedIn Natasha Dillon
devices, nanotechnology, and biotechnology are increasing new
commercial opportunities, but theyre also requiring organiza-
tions to collaboratesometimes with competitorson research
and development. White Paper
Hay Group
As part of the study, which included organizations with less
than 100 employees and those with over 50,000 employees, thirty
HR leaders were interviewed and professionals at 86 organiza-
tions in the public and private sectors were asked to rate the

16 HR Strategy and Planning Excellence Essentials presented by | 08.2014

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HR Managements Credibility is Now On the Line
Important to be strategically pro-active
By Richard Dealtry

As a Senior Executive Manager and Corporate Director, I and organisational development.

have always benefitted from the advice and resources that HR There are many possible reasons for this, but our on-going
Professional Managers have contributed to important decision research shows that the over-riding factors are the lack of an
making and organisational transformations. In addition, I am enhanced HR role perspective and a clear identification of
certain that many people will be the first to acknowledge the the diverse changing needs of organisations and their business
career skills and benefits that they have received as a result activities beyond what some people would see as core traditional
of dedicated HR services. More recent experience indicates, HR disciplines and activities. In simple terms its about the
however, that the HR management role and resources are being perceived boundaries of the HR function and the declining
side-lined, to the detriment of many different facets of individual status of its relationship with burgeoning developments in

18 HR Strategy and Planning Excellence Essentials presented by | 08.2014

HR Managements Credibility is Now On the Line

other organisational activities such as CIT, security and safety they are in fact functionally constrained, simply the window
matters, business performance, changing company values and dressing of existing functions, or engaged in retro-ego trips.
international competition. A constructivist methodology introduces the idea of well
There is a lack of plain understanding of the impact of the considered choice for the integration of diverse developmental
new dynamic forces at work in organisations - or is it just an schools of thinking, to determine a comprehensive and optimised
unwillingness to move out of traditional career comfort zones? configuration school of HR management thinking.
Simply stated, to get a handle on the seismic shift that is How to Configure the Corporate University for Success
taking place wherever there are people actively and productively Exploring ideas and processes using the corporate university
engaged, there is a need for a higher level of HR strategic concept can bring to fruition a dynamic and higher level HR-
management expertise. inspired business development platform. This presents new
Take a good hard look today at the distribution of people in ways of thinking concerning the configuration of holistic HR
your different locations and their skills base haves and needs. properties and attributes to achieve intellectual leadership in
Compare this with an audit taken five years ago to reveal new different business sectors.
centres of intellectual capability, their weight, location, structure This approach to making intellectual relationships more
and working culture.Then match the current HR portfolio with productive and manageable is optimising HR strategic fit by
that of five years ago and identify todays differences, scale and combining a dynamic strategic learning approach with the
the magnitude if there are any. resource capabilities offered by an enhanced portfolio of corporate
Are you culpable of hiding behind the same old management university schools of thinking.
regime of an increasing range of fashionable psychometric The Corporate University Blueprint
inventories and outsourced professional management or academic This dynamic process HR management model and its integrative
provision? What does your leadership look like in the context of people engagement provide the opportunity for all HR managers
change? Are you the shrinking violet in the garden of original to ensure that they are strategically and properly positioned in the
and more powerful development ideas? organisation hierarchy and that the supporting functions become
In other words, get a rough measure of where are we now a contributing service and not an overwhelming influence.
on the international scale of HR management capability and This process can be used to unfold a bespoke corporate solution
determine the scale and quality of your proactive response level. that strategically fits and is unique in character. It helps to identify
All of our Membership and Associate CEOs are intensely the main development relationships involved in HR management
interested in the strategic performance management of HR and examines where relationship and/or knowledge blockages
and its cultural influencing importance. They insist that it has are taking place in the holistic business context.
to commensurate with the increasing intellectual challenges of These 3 free resources will provide you with the essential
todays local, national and international business environment foundation process knowledge and management constructs for
and anticipate future formal and informal provision portfolio successfully explicating your strategic HR leadership solutions.
needs. This indicates the application of strong and comprehensive To receive the 2 named literature resources in pdf format and
holistic management processes, with HR management being at also the Corporate University Blueprint Process management
the forefront of strategically envisioning employee skills and model, entirely free of charge, contact richarddealtry@btconnect.
competencies at all levels and in all organisational paradigms. com using this article title for your subject reference. S&P
In cooperation with many organisations in different stages of
growth and development, how to do that has been our major
Professor Richard Dealtry is the Executive Chairman of The Global As-
pre-occupation. sociation of Corporate Universities and Academies. Richards main area of
As a means of exploring solution options, three valuable business since 1991 has been in organisation and people development. He was
Professor in Strategic Management at International Management Centres, and
resources are offered freely to all members that expand has led and worked on action learning programmes of people and organisation
upon this subject and provide a framework for comprehensive development with a wide range of corporate clients.
Call 44(0)121 429 8995
development. For top HR professionals, there are indications of Visit
major challenges ahead and its up to them to lead the assimilation, Email

customization and population of these concepts in a manner that

best suits their organisational needs and strategic lifestyle.
Configuring the Corporate University - Managing a Portfolio
of Thinking Schools
Our empirical research findings reflect upon a journey into
the exploration and understanding of potential solutions and
outcomes using the Corporate University concept as a real time
business development envisioning magnifying glass.
The outcomes challenge whether the many and diverse schools
of thinking that are needed to shape the intellectual architecture
of HR strategic management are being manifest in new, more real
time, dynamic processes of intellectual development. Or whether

HR Strategy and Planning Excellence presented by | 08.2014


Strategic Thinking
And 3 myths that kill it!
By Nick Tasler

In its simplest form, strategic thinking is about deciding pursuing a concrete goal that could be achieved. You will have to fight
which opportunities to focus your time, people, and money, and through the universal psychological phenomenon of loss aversion
which opportunities to starve. One of historys greatest strategic that results from saying goodbye to a cherished project in which you
thinkers, Napoleon Bonaparte summed it up this way: In order have already poured heaps of time and money. You will have to deal
to concentrate superior strength in one place, economy of force with the social angst of telling some people on your team that their
must be exercised in other places. If dead, despotic French em- big idea or even entire functional area has been demoted in favor of
perors are not really your style, Michael Porter said it like this: something else more valuable.
The essence of strategy is choosing what not to do. In the face of all that unpleasantness, it is tempting to continue
Sometimes this strategic shift of resources means deciding to striving for productivity. After all, whats wrong with being productive?
sell off part of one company in order to buy another one. More The problem is that productivity is strategically agnostic. Producing
often for more leaders whether in corporation functions like volume is not the same as pursuing excellence. Without a strategy, produc-
HR or on the front lines in sales or service, it simply means tivity is meaningless. As Peter Drucker famously said it there is nothing
deciding to move some initiatives to the back burner in order quite as useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.
to concentrate the bulk of your resources on one key objective. Myth 2: The leaders job is to identify whats important.
Sounds simple enough! Yet, three pervasive myths continue to make Heres a quick exercise: Make a list of every project and initia-
strategic thinking an elusive skill set in todays organizations. tive your team is working on right now. When you finish the
list, draw a line through all of the things that are not important.
If youre like 99% of teams, not one project on your list will get
crossed out. Thats because every project your team is working on is
important to someone somewhere somehow. They all add value
in some vague way. Thats why debating about whats important is
futile. Strategic thinkers must decide where to focus, not merely
whats important. Strategic leaders must consciously table some
important projects or ignore some important opportunities.
While productive teams log overtime hours in order to knock out
one important project after another on a first come, first serve basis,
strategic teams decide which projects will contribute most to the
current strategy of the organization, and put the rest of the impor-
tant projects on hold.
Myth 3: Strategic thinking is only about thinking.
Strategic leadership is not a math problem or a thought experiment.
Ultimately, strategic thoughts must yield action. Thorough cost/
benefit analyses replete with mesmerizing forecasts, tantalizing linear
trends, and 63-tab spreadsheets beautiful enough to make a newly
minted MBA weep with joy are utterly useless without an actionable
decision. In spite of the uncertainty, complexity, and the ever-present
possibility of failure, at some point, a strategic leader must step up
and make the call about what the team will and will NOT focus on.
Tipping his bicorn cap to this truth, Napoleon once said that
nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be
able to decide. Perhaps thats also why the ability to decide is the key
differentiator for those deemed worthy to hold the highest leadership
positions in our organizations?S&P

Myth 1: Productivity is the goal. Nick Tasler is the Founder & CEO of Decision Pulse. He is an industrial
psychologist by training, and a thought leader by reputation. He writes books
Productivity is about getting things done. Strategic thinking is about as well as columns forHarvard Business Review, Psychology Today, Bloomberg
getting the right things done well. The uncomfortable corollary of BusinessWeekand a smattering of articles for all sorts of other publications.
Call 44(0)121 429 8995
that truth is that strategy requires leaving some things undone, which Visit,
stirs up a potent cocktail of unpleasant emotions. When you leave Email

projects undone or only half-completed, it feels like a loose end. You

must sacrifice that feeling of confidence and control that comes from

20 HR Strategy and Planning Excellence Essentials presented by | 08.2014

Building Business Performance
The truth about trust, engagement and performance
By Rosanna Nadeau

As managers in todays organizations, during an economic decades according to a February 26, 2014 article, Fortune
recovery that is challenging even to the worlds top 1% of 500 Companies Receive $63 Billion In Subsidies by David
businesses, our primary concerns are about building business Siroto on This surprising-to-me statistic aside, it
performance and growing. The fact is, the top 1%, includ- is incumbent on us as business leaders tocreate paths to suc-
ing Fortune 500companies, are notnecessarily the models of cessful achievement of high performance and growth, despite
successful leadership that we might emulate, since many of thechallenges we face.
themhave been recipients of governmentinterventionsdesigned Our solutions must be found within our organizations,
to supportthem financially: aid totaling $63 billion dollars in sincebusiness performance and growth are in the hands of our
government subsidies funded by taxpayersduring the past two workforce. According to the S&P 500, todays businesses are

HR Strategy and Planning Excellence presented by | 08.2014

Building Business Performance

primarily valued based on their intangibles, including assets growth,through a strategy ofEmployee Engagement, start-
such as intellectual capital, talent, and leaderships ability to ing withTrust.
execute the strategy. Engaging our people, developing them, Providing broadened, company-paid, proactive wellness
leveraging their skills, knowledge and experience, and retaining programs that do not require employee disclosure of related
them are the recognizedkeys to our success. In recent years, personal information. For example, on-site fitness centers
weve learned that Employee Engagement is primary in driving or reimbursement for memberships conveniently located for
performance. Fortunately, we have lots of knowledge and many employees; cafeterias serving affordable, healthy foods; child
experts on engagementto guide us but, as with other strategic day-care options reducing relatedstress and expense.
objectives, our challengeslay in the executionmuch more than Designing safety initiatives that support employee well-
in developing the plans. being.For example, a manufacturing organization might, well
Analyzing engagement, we can see that Trust is the essential in advance of summer,set up a team including employees and
foundation.How do we develop trust? Many would say that managers to locatewater and other beverages enabling quick and
we build trust by being honest and by doing what we say well easy accessto all employees, to ensure people are able to remain
do. But, when you think about it, theres more to trust than hydrated during the hot working conditionswe know will come
that, isnt there? I trust people who care about my well-being; in the months ahead; providing safety coaches who walk the
who value me and my work and whoI can count on to help me floortoprovide helpful coaching orremindersto employeesin
to succeed.Do you use similar criteria (and more) in deciding safe lifting, proper use of PPE and other safe practices.
who youll trust? On reflection, inthe past decade, leaders and Making time to followannual performance planning with
managers have been faced with challenges weve never before regular, frequent, andsupportive (individual and team) feedback
encountered. Leaders havemadedifficultbusiness decisions with and discussions.
hard trade-offs that impacted the employment of millions of Sharing informationthat enables employees to find meaning
people. People have been downsized,work schedules were reduced and purpose in their work. For example, managers might find
with pay reduced accordingly, salaries were frozen, and managers various, interesting ways to educate employees about the busi-
focus shifted from people-leadership to tasks, goals, efficien- ness strategy, so that each employee understands clearly how
cies, metrics and measures.Training and development budgets he contributes to delivering on the companys differentiation
were cut, rewards and recognition diminished, and jobs were through the workhe does and how he does it on a daily basis;
eliminated by management choices tooff-shore them.Looking sharing information about competitors, customers and the use
back, its not surprisingthat the over-riding message received by of the companys products and services.
employees fromthese collectiveactions in recent yearsis actually Solicitation of employee input on changes that impact
counter toany messageofcaring about our people.Trust has their work, prior to change decisions; including employees in
been lost. But now, more than ever, leaders and managers need monitoring change initiatives to obtain and utilize their feedback
their workforces to improve business performance. throughout implementation.
Interestingly, decades ago, multi-year studies by Elton Mayo To drive strategic performance such as this, managers are
and Nathaniel Hawthornethat involvedchanging lighting ina usually good at setting goals and developing action plans to
Western Electric plantresulted ina conclusive resultthat became execute the strategy. And, some organizations use systematic
well known as The Hawthorne Effect. The Hawthorne Effect approaches to monitor and measureexecution.Participation by
is describedas increased performanceresulting whenmanage- senior leaders and/or support from the right consultants can be
ment shows that they care about their people. This early re- invaluable in turbulent times such as these, when managers are
searchdiscovery fits with todays knowledge about the impact pulled in many directions due to pressing operational demands
of Employee Engagement levels on organizational performance. for their time.
Indeed, managers showing they care about their people and Is your organization taking action to improve organization
peoplesperformance areinter-connected. performance? Is engagement a priority component of your
Todays leaders are reading articles and books about engage- companys business strategy? What is working? Please share
ment, strategy and execution regularly. By integrating these your ideas, opinions, knowledge and experience. S&P
ideas and assessing our organizations, we gain insights and
solutionscan be crafted and tailored to fitour business needs. Rosanna Nadeau is Principal/Consultantwith Prism Perspectives Group LLC.
I am convinced that Employee Engagement needs to become Call 603-878-1546
a priority within the business strategy. Then, organizational Email
leadership, systems, policies and practices must be aligned with
the strategy. And, like other business strategies,its execution
that needs executive level attention and support.
Showing employeesthatleaders and managers care aboutthem
is critical to building trust, which is the foundation for en-
gagement. Engagement isthe driver of business performance
improvement and growth.
Following are 5 targeted tactics managers can include in
initial action plans to build organization performance and

22 HR Strategy and Planning Excellence Essentials presented by | 08.2014

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Mergers and Acquisitions
And the role of HR analytics and workforce planning

By Tracey Smith

I n a previous career, I spent 11 years as an automotive Lets use merging the workforce as an example. In the first step,
engineer. During those 11 years, I witnessed many mergers and we collect data regarding critical roles, the current state of the
acquisitions (M&A). Even more recently, this industry saw 303 workforce, revenue forecasts and analyses of duplicate functions.
mergers and acquisitions in 2011 and another 264 in 2012. In Step 2, we can assess which teams are more efficient, which
In the airline industry, weve seen 9 companies merge into 5 roles contain critical skill sets, and establish mathematical con-
since 2005. Not counted in that total is the merger underway nections between headcount quantities and workload drivers.
between American Airlines and the U.S. Airways. With internet With this information, we can attempt to predict the future
companies, weve seen too many to mention. workforce quantities and cost.
So, whats the difference between a merger and an acquisi- In Step 3, we tell our story and provide recommendations
tion? In an acquisition, one company takes over another and regarding future headcount values and possible outsourcing
establishes itself as the new owner. The target company ceases and policy changes.
to exist legally. As the final stage, we align the workforce to its recommended
With a merger, two companies, often of roughly the same size, future state by executing headcount, policy and communica-
agree to move forward as a single new company. Both compa- tionplans.
nies stocks are surrendered and new company stock is issued in
replacement. As an example, Daimler-Benz and Chrysler ceased HR Analytics
to exist when the two merged; a new company, DaimlerChrysler, Gather data Analyze data & Present results Align the workforce
was formed. interpret results

Critical roles Which teams are Headcount Execute workforce

In reality, actual mergers of equals dont happen often. One Current state
Workload drivers
more efficient?
Which team

company will buy another (acquisition) and, as part of the deal, Revenue forecasts
members have
critical knowledge
duplicate functions Mathematical recommendations Execute policy
the acquired company can claim that the action is a merger of connection
between headcount
Required policy

equals. Why would they want to do this? Being bought out and drivers
Determine forecast
of workforce and
carries negative connotations. Branding the action a merger cost

can make the takeover more palatable.

HR has both a hard and soft role in M&A. The softer side The same general procedure can be used to merge other aspects
relates to topics like engagement and satisfaction. The harder of two companies like compensation plans, cultures and data
side deals more with turnover numbers, headcount and costs. For systems. For each of these, there are phases of the project which
the remainder of this article, I will focus on the data-driven side. need to be supported through HR analytics and / or workforce
Before a companys HR can begin M&A-related activities, the planning processes. It is recommended that these professionals
first challenge is to pick an HR team to perform these actions. be sought as soon as a merger has begun (or sooner). In reality,
If Company A is merging with Company B, whose HR team HR often finds out about a merger far too late to invoke valu-
do you select or do you form a team from both companies? able supporting analytics. S&P
Usually the first thing to merge in these situations is the support
functions (Finance, Accounting, and HR).You, as HR, might Tracey Smith is an independent consultant and her company, Numerical
be working on merging two support function teams together Insights LLC, helps clients in the areas of HR Analytics, Workforce Planning,
and HR Process Improvement. She is the author of HR Analytics: The What,
while another team is working on eliminating one HR team. Why and How and Strategic Workforce Planning: Guidance & Back-up
Aye, theres the rub. Plans and the editor of NI Magazine.
Call 901-500-6916
So, what are the steps to merging? Here are four steps which are Visit
simple to describe but difficult to execute. Email
LinkedIn Tracey Smith

1. Gather data.
2. Analyze data and interpret the results.
3. Represent the results (tell the story).
4. Align the workforce.

24 HR Strategy and Planning Excellence Essentials presented by | 08.2014


Reflections on HR Certification vs. Competences

And its role in the development of a field

By Dave Ulrich and Wayne Brockbank

collaboration should be the norm instead of the imposition of

Many, if not most, professions have some type of certification one set of expectations from one country to the rest of the world.
protocol. Attorneys pass a bar exam; psychologists are licensed
4. HR certifications can be relatively standardized exams
after passing a standardized exam; certified public accountants
determining mastery of the body of knowledge in the field.
pass a knowledge exam, etc. In all these cases, these licensing
HR competencies, meanwhile, should be evolving models,
exams determine the extent to which an individual grasps the
since the competencies for HR professionals change as business
basic knowledge in the profession.
requirements change. For example, in the last five years, there
Certification focuses on knowing the basics and earning the
has been an abundance of work on HR analytics, scorecards,
legitimacy to practice. Certification does not mean competence.
the cloud and data. Underlying these HR skill areas are compe-
Many attorneys, psychologists, accountants and others have
tencies related to sourcing, interpreting, translating and using
become certified, but it does not mean that they are competent
information for improved decision making. In our 25 years, we
enough to be effective practitioners. Certification focuses on
have identified about 140 specific competencies every four to
the past, not the future; on mastering ideas, not application of
five years that HR professionals should master to be effective.
ideas; on joining a profession, not succeeding in the profession.
These 140 competencies, representing the be, know and do
HR certification ensures that HR professionals know the
of HR, come from regional partners who survey thought leaders
body of knowledge (theory and research) that underlies HR. It
in their region and come to a consensus about what determines
does not imply that they are competent in HR. They could be
effective HR professionals. Every five years, we change about
both incompetent and uncertified; they could be certified, but
40 to 50 of these items, based on the input of the consortium
not competent; not certified but competent; or both certified
of HR professional groups. HR competencies evolve and their
and competent.
study should focus forward based on global requirements.
There are efforts to determine the competencies for effective
5. We assert that HR competencies do not exist for their
HR professionals. Through the University of Michigan, the RBL
own sake. Rather, HR competencies exist to enhance business
Group, and partners throughout the world, we have spent 25
performance. A major problem with most competency models
years studying (theory, research and practice) competencies for
is that they ask the question, What are the competencies of
effective HR professionals. Essential to this long-term study are
HR professionals? This is the wrong question. The question
some underlying assumptions:
should be, What are the competencies of HR professionals
1. HR competencies are determined less by self-report and
that have the greatest impact on business performance? Our
more by how those competencies are perceived by others. Com-
statistical analysis of our data over the past 25 years has ad-
petencies impact both the overall reputation or perception of the
dressed both of these questions in detail. However, our unique
HR professional and the performance of the business. Leadership
and important contribution is our examination of the business
studies moved away from self-report as the way to determine
performance question.
leadership effectiveness over 40 years ago with the advent of 360
So, the answer to the appropriate question, What do I have
measures. Likewise, HR competencies should be assessed not
to be, know and do to be an effective HR professional? is much
only by the HR professional but by those who observe the HR
more than asking HR professionals what they think. It requires
professional. In addition, these competencies should be seen as
partnership of HR- professional associations around the world,
predictors of important personal and organizational outcomes.
focusing on outcomes of HR skills, aligning competencies to
We have found some very important differences between how
current and future business conditions, tailoring competencies to
HR professionals define their competencies and rate themselves
specific situations and identifying the competencies that matter
versus how those who observe their work do. We have also found
most for business performance. We believe this competency
very important differences in how HR competencies affect both
logic is much further along than the basic and historical view
the perception of HR personal effectiveness and the impact on
of certification. S&P
business results.
Dave Ulrich is the Rensis Likert Professor at the Ross School of Business at the
2. There are global HR competencies, but they also may vary University of Michigan and partner at the RBL Group.He writes, studies and
by geography, level in the organization, role in the organization, advises organizations on HR, talent, leadership, culture and change. Wayne
Brockbank is a clinical professor of business at the Ross School of Business at
gender, time in role, etc. To fully determine competencies and the University of Michigan. He studies and consults in the areas of organiza-
their impact, one needs data from multiple sources. tional strategy, corporate culture and business-focused HR strategies.
3. There are exceptional HR professional groups around the Email
world, each working to determine how to help HR profession- Dr. Wayne Brockbank is the first partner emeritus of The RBL Group. Pro-
als be effective. Convinced that partnering with these groups fessor Brockbank has made significant contributions as a Clinical Professor of
Business at the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, and
furthers the profession, we have collaborated with more than as a consultant and executive educator at The RBL Group. Waynes research,
15 HR professional associations since 1987 to define both the consulting and teaching made important contributions to strategic human re-
source management strategy and implementation, and international business.
overall global HR competencies and unique local requirements Visit
for effective HR. In an increasingly complex and global world, Email

HR Strategy and Planning Excellence presented by | 08.2014

Upcoming Virtual Events & Webcasts
Virtual Events

A Selection of Verticals Schedule

Benefits: Cost Containment, Audits and Legal Risks Oct 1-2/14 Feb 4-5/15 June 8-9/15

Compensation: Best Practices and Trends Sept 8-9/14 Jan 26-27/15 Sept 14-15/15

Contract Workforce and Talent Exchanges Dec 11/14 April 8-9/15 Aug 4-5/15

Developing Organizational Leadership Capabilities Oct 21-22/14 Jan 7-8/15 April 20-21/15

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Workforce Planning and Analytics Nov 3/14 April 29-30/15 Aug 13/15

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