This Week's Herman Trend Alert

Leadership in Normal 2.0

  The Herman Trend Alert

July 1, 2015

Culture and Engagement Emerge as Keys to Success

Not too long ago, Deloitte University Press issued its Global Human Capital Trends 2015: Leading in the new world of work. The global study included six continents and the results were fascinating. The report detailed ten talent challenges and six key findings.

Unfortunately, space prevents our complete coverage, however we will report the highlights:

Culture and engagement: The naked organization.

Culture and engagement surfaced as the most important issue this year. This development reflects the need for leaders to have a clear appreciation for their organizationŐs culture. Moreover, they need to look again at people program for its ability to engage and empower people.

Leadership: Why a perennial issue?

Building leadership ranked as the second most issue. Yet despite the fact that almost 90 percent of those surveyed cited the issue as at least "important", organizations still have a lot of work to do. Unfortunately, "the capability gap for building great leaders has widened in every region of the world".

"Learning and development: Into the spotlight."

Not surprising to us, the challenge to transform and accelerate corporate learning was the third most important challenge this year. The number of companies rating learning and development as "very important" tripled since last year, though the readiness to address the issue went down.

The other trends were:

  • Reinventing HR: An extreme makeover
  • Workforce on demand: Are you ready?
  • Performance management: The secret ingredient
  • HR and people analytics: Stuck in neutral
  • Simplification of work: The coming revolution
  • Machines as Talent: Collaboration, not competition
  • People data everywhere: Bringing the outside in.

    Key Findings

    The study's key findings offer informed counsel to companies smart enough to embrace it: "Softer' areas such as culture and engagement, leadership, and development have become urgent priorities." We have seen far too much lip service without real action given to these areas.

    "Leadership and learning have dramatically increased in importance, but the capability gap is widening." Leadership is the key to making the other areas work. Without real improvement in this area, companies will never realize their potential for profitability.

    "HR organizations and HR skills are not keeping up with business needs." For years we have watched as leadership dismissed possible contributions from human resources, because HR people were perceived as "not being strategic". This finding confirms what we have been hearing for years. What's needed is a combination of up-skilling of HR people, inclusion of HR professional in strategic discussions, and more resources afforded to HR departments. The latter will enable professionals to concentrate on activities that can really make a meaningful difference for the organization, instead of being bogged down with transactional issues and answering questions.

    "HR technology systems are a growing market, but their promise may be largely unfulfilled." Part of the reason that HR tech systems are not realizing their promise is that they are complicated and require time to learn---time that the HR people and others do not have to invest.

    "Talent and people analytics are a high priority and a tremendous opportunity, but progress is slow." Progress is slow mostly due to lack of understanding of the huge value some analytics can provide. Wise employers will start with a couple of measures and expand from there.

    "Simplification is an emerging theme; HR is part of the problem." Business professionals believe their systems are very complicated; clunky HR systems don't help this perception. HR systems and processes need to get a lot more user-friendly before the simplification can truly become a reality in the corporate world.

    Wise employers will wake up, take all of this advice to heart, and focus more attention and resources in all of these areas. Others will ignore it and suffer the consequences.

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