Competence of the Human Resource Profession

I just read about the results of an interesting new study, "State of the Global Talent Nation", conducted by Softscape. 94% of the 250 human resource professionals surveyed say they "don’t feel their personnel are adequately prepared to meet future company goals". And that is 30 percent worse than three years ago. What’s even more disturbing? More than half of them say the big reason this is so is they are not confident that their business effectively manages human resource processes.

Wait a minute. The people responsible for human resources, aren’t confident that their business is effectively managing human resource processes? And that is resulting in their workforce not being properly prepared to meet future company goals? Are these HR professionals competent? Are they not getting the support and resources they need from the CEO? Of course, one measure of their competence should be their ability to get that support.

Maybe what we really need is a different kind of study; one that would figure out what’s really going on here.

Jim Bolt, Chairman, Executive Development Associates * JBolt@executivedevelopment.com * www.executivedevelopment.com

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3 Comments

  • Jim Bolt

    Jay's comment seems to indicate he feels the issue here is really one of perception of incompetence of HR vs. reality. I'm not so sure. In many companies HR is still seen as lacking credibility and business acumen. Also, seen as involved in adminstrative detail vs. helping top managment achieve its strategic agenda.

  • John Agno

    Companies are tapping managers from outside human resources to run their HR departments in recent years.

    The shift reflects the increased importance that chief executives and boards place on recruiting, retaining and grooming employees. It also reflects a perception that some traditional HR professionals lack the deep understanding of business and financial issues that CEOs increasingly want, say consultants and recruiters.

    "Many organizations are looking for their HR leader to be able to understand in great detail the business and the challenges of the business," says Fran Luisi, principal of Charleston Partners, a Rumson, NJ search firm that specializes in HR executives.

    Source: Wall Street Journal, June 23, 2008

  • Jay Tatum

    I love paradox. This is a classic case wherein the Human Resources Profession responsible for ensuring that HR processes are working isn't competent to discern whether it's working. Don't get me wrong, I completely agree! The paradox, of course, is not that this is really the case, just the perception that this is the case. Afterall, we all know that the finding of the study, "State of the Global Talent Nation," are comparing apples and oranges.

    The real issue, though, is the reality that many companies have outsourced their HR functions to the lowest bidders, folks who really don't know or understand what is being measured, and then they employ some kind of standard that really hasn't been standardized and tested, and determine that the employees are not living up to their fullest potential, whatever that is. That about sums it up.

    Remember, though, this is just a perception of reality. We all know that HR Professionals would never admit to being incompetent in their jobs. What would that say about the quality of the workforce if the HR folks get it wrong?