By Phil Wilson, CHRP, SHRP
HR Priorities Similar
Around the World
Talent management and leadership. HR analytics. Culture
Are these things keeping you up at night? You’re not
alone. In a business environment faced with economic
uncertainty, globalization, demographic shifts, a faster pace of
business, plus talent shortages in key areas, they’re top of mind
among many North American HR executives. They’re also, as I
learned recently at a Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development
(CIPD) conference in the UK, top priorities among
European chief human resources officers (CHROs).
In Creating People Advantage 2013, a joint report by the Boston
Consulting Group and the European Association of People
Management, which was presented at the conference, out of 10
broad HR topics facing European HR executives (including recruiting,
labour training, performance management, diversity,
etc.) the three that ranked highest in future importance – and
lowest in current capability – were talent management and leadership;
engagement, behaviour and culture management; and
HR analytics: strategic workforce planning and analytics.
The data was collected from a survey of 2,304 HR executives
in 34 European countries across a broad range of industries. The
report also included data from 37 in-depth interviews from HR
execs at large multinationals.
The report also discussed how highly capable organizations
achieved successes across all 10 HR topics. Here’s a synopsis of
their strategies and tactics for the top three topics.
TALENT MANAGEMENT AND LEADERSHIP
This was defined as activities used to identify high potential
employees and develop them for more senior roles with greater
responsibility – including senior leadership positions. Lessons
learned from highly capable organizations include:
■■ Establishing transparent, efficient and enterprise-wise talent
■■ Strategically planning talent and leadership needs on a longterm
(greater than five years) basis and by business unit,
expertise and location.
■■ Systematically developing talent through the right opportunities
■■ Developing and consistently applying leadership criteria in
selection, promotion and rewards.
HR ANALYTICS: STRATEGIC WORKFORCE
PLANNING AND REPORTING
This was defined as activities used to forecast workforce supply
and demand and to track and report HR and workforce KPIs. The
■■ Define a clear process for measuring HR and workforce KPIs.
■■ Implement a demand model linked to driving forces such as
business strategy, productivity and technology.
■■ Establish a systematic and regular process to update analyses
ENGAGEMENT, BEHAVIOUR AND CULTURE
This includes the degree to which organizations can establish
norms and behaviours for employees, engage and retain them and
instill a sense that their contributions are meaningful. The best
■■ Invest significantly in company culture.
■■ Measure behavioural change and associated result improvement.
■■ Establish a management cascade process to define actions for
Of these three, talent management and leadership were ranked
highest in importance – and with good reason. Like North America,
most European nations are aging rapidly, with greying senior
leaders due for retirement within a decade. Organizations need to
select, groom and prepare the next generation of high potentials to
take the reins. However, as the report points out, this takes time
– typically 10-plus years – and ranks the lowest in terms of return
on effort invested.
Like a garden, nurturing along your next cohort of senior leaders
is a long-term process, from strategically planning talent and
leadership needs over a decade or more across business unit, location
and expertise, to selecting and developing talent and ensuring
they get the experience they need to lead.
Most importantly, CHROs know they must understand the
global business environment. They need to connect the values,
vision and brand focusing on the key priorities of talent management,
HR analytics, culture and engagement. Organizations
understand that their competitive value and differentiation are
realized through their people. In my opinion, the CHRO’s future
role will only continue to grow in the executive suite as a result. ■
Phil Wilson, CHRP, SHRP, is a chair of the Human Resources
Professionals Association (HRPA).
8 ❚ FEBRUARY 2014 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL