first_img Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Vital componentsOn 1 Mar 2002 in Personnel Today Related posts:No related photos. Whatare the pivotal issues facing HR over the coming years? How can global HRprofessionals evolve in this changing climate? asks Lance Richards Last autumn, about 50 senior HR practitioners, consultants and academics, meetingat the SHRM Foundation’s Thought Leaders Conference in Washington DC, set outto determine the pivotal issues facing HR professionals in the coming years. Weagreed on five essentials: speed of change and entrepreneurial mindset, thechanging role of the HR professional, measuring human capital, the impact oftechnology and globalisation. I will gladly accept these factors as key to the profession over the nextdecade. But what do they mean for the global HR professional, the HR personwhose work already crosses time zones and borders, cultures and languages? Speed of change Global HR professionals live with business operating around the clock andaround the world. The velocity of change in our global enterprises demands it. Itis essential, though, we recognise that sometimes nimbleness is better thanspeed. In an HR arena, speed of change means HR is in the thick of change – andleading it. We must be constantly mindful of our company’s talent, and how thatasset is managed. The ability to retool a global workforce on the fly,hot-swapping one set of knowledge workers in one country for another, mayquickly become the hallmark of good global HR. We must be careful with entrepreneurial behaviours which may not play wellin every culture. What may be considered a desirable work trait in one placecould be viewed as clear insubordination in another. Changing role of the HR professional If anyone knows about the changing role of HR professionals, it’s those ofus who practice HR in multiple countries. Gone are the days when administrationof local insurance schemes or expatriate allowances consumed the day. Now, it is a focus on merger integration teams, ‘green field’ start-ups, andsuddenly arranged alliances. The global HR professional must not just be readyto react, but must stand shoulder to shoulder with those who drive change tobenefit the enterprise. Measuring human capital We are all aware of the HR metrics being used today to calculate, hopefully,improvements in the services we provide or to validate that money spent on HRis, in fact, money well-spent. On a global scale, a key driver must be that HRrefuses to allow non-meaningful comparators to enter the equation. Implementedand managed carefully, a series of well-designed metrics will increase HR’sperceived value, focus the work of HR professionals, demonstrate that HRunderstands the business – and is aligned with its direction. There is no Holy Grail for measuring the efficacy of an HR function. At theend of the day, many HR components simply defy clean valuation. The point hereis that the areas which can be measured, should be measured. Impact of technology Those of us who have briefcases packed with a dozen currencies, electricaladaptors and telephone cords don’t need to be told about the impact oftechnology. The case could be made that technology has enabled global HRmanagement to be where it is today. The advent of e-mail less than 15 years agodramatically changed how an HR professional dealt with the far corners of theworld. Still, we lack reliable connectivity outside major world centres;non-irritating videoconferencing is hard to find, and we still have to carrythree or four different cellphones on a business trip of any reasonable length.The technology impact has also allowed us to draw more data, more input intothe work we do. This, in no small part, has enabled companies to craft global policies whichencourage local practices to be not only globally compliant with theenterprises’ vision, but locally relevant as well. Globalisation I personally was delighted that globalisation fell into the top five list –coming from a largely American group of senior HR leaders. For professionalsalready practising in the global arena, it is good to know that we are alreadyin motion, where many of our domestic-focused colleagues are now pointing. In this respect, it is our responsibility to be evangelists to ourcolleagues whose focus is single-country. It is essential that, as ourorganisations expand and grow internationally, we lead the globalisation turnwithin our own HR departments – and our organisations as a whole. What are wedoing to globalise our employee population, to educate them about the placeswhere our enterprises do business? How are we encouraging and motivating ourbest and brightest to take assignments outside their home country? The message here? HR professionals are expected to develop and deliver highvalue solutions that are executable at the speed of global commerce. The onesthat do will be leaders in their organisations. LanceRichards is managing director of Suddenly Global, a global HR consultancy. Heis on the board of SHRM Global Forum, and writes a scheduled editorial columnon global HR issues for globalhr’s sister publication, Personnel Today. He canbe reached at [email protected]last_img

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