As an experienced global human resources professional I was recently involved in a leadership workshop where the hype cycle, concerning a particular software application, was being discussed in great detail. On learning of the concept, I was immediately struck by its relevance to the world of HR. Most experienced HR professionals will accept that as a function we have an unhealthy addiction to “the latest thing,” and I could instantly relate the hype cycle to how the HR community frequently operates.
Once you have decided that Succession Planning can make a significant difference in your company and that HR actually have the needed competencies to succeed there a number of things to consider.
I must confess that I am in doubt here. My HR heart can very easily understand the benefits for companies in having a structured Succession Planning Process. I see Succession Planning as a strategy for passing each key leadership role within a company to someone else in such a way that the company continues to operate after the incumbent leader is no longer in control. Succession planning ensures that businesses continue to run smoothly after the business’s most important people move on to new opportunities, retire or pass away. Therefore, it makes sense.
You would expect that today all companies would see the importance of having a Talent Management strategy yet Jeffrey Joerres, former leader of Manpower, commented in a recent interview in Harvard Business Review, “Nevertheless, companies routinely fail to put in place a workforce strategy that supports their business strategy. Most have done a pretty good job of looking out three years, maybe five, but they don’t then marry that up with the skills they’re going to need.” Talent management can be understood as a set of integrated organizational workforce processes designed to attract, develop, motivate and retain productive, engaged employees. The goal of talent management is to create a high-performance, sustainable organization that meets its strategic and operational goals and objectives consistently going forward.
Mark Thomas, one of PPI’s Lead Consultants and Faculty on Strategy / HR and Business Partnering sets out a challenging list of behaviours and actions that he believes are critical for today’s high impact HR Business Partners.
On a recent visit to Finland to deliver a leadership program I took the opportunity to call in to see a number of other clients. An interesting fact cropped up. Three of the four companies I visited had recently restructured their HR function. In all three cases the dotted line relationship between the HR Vice President at head office and the HR Directors and Managers at business unit and country level was being replaced by a solid line. The local and regional HR professionals were now reporting directly to their functional head and no longer to the line of business manager.