The Recovery Drives Bold New Priorities for HR
This week we published our TalentTrends® research for the first half of 2010 (report available to research members). In this research we ask more than 200 top HR and business leaders to tell us about their business outlook, hiring forecast, talent and leadership readiness, spending, and priorities.
What we see is a stark uptick in business confidence, leading to a significant set of new priorities on the minds of business and HR leaders. Let me share a few of the findings with you.
- 51% of organizations see accelerating growth. Our business growth index shot up this period to .34 (the highest it has been since early 2008), with 51% of leaders telling us that they see positive growth (up from 26% only six months ago).
- As a result of these new expectations, priorities have shifted dramatically. The fastest growing priorites in HR are the need to accelerate innovation (34% cite as their #1 priority), globalize operations (12% cite as #1 priority), and deal with increased regulation (30%).
- 19% of all companies cited increasing organizational learning as one of their top priorities, more than triple the respondents from late last year.
These topics come up regularly in our discussions with clients.
An HR leader at a major insurance company told me that their CEO gave her the mandate to recraft their leadership development and coaching program to drive more risk-taking. This company, one of the biggest healthcare and casualty insurance companies in the world, now realizes that it must become more creative to succeed and grow.
How do we drive innovation into leadership and business decision-making? By rewarding new behaviors: making bold decisions, learning rapidly from mistakes, creating deeper relationships with customers, and sharing information across organizational silos. I am particularly excited that we are going to launch a very important new research study, High Impact Learning Culture®, in the coming weeks. This research will give you some very detailed best practices on how to drive such change, including the top 40 practices for a high-impact learning culture (coming soon).
One of our long-term clients is a large midwestern manufacturer of electrical and energy components. Last year, during the recession, we helped them build an integrated talent management strategy which could help with realignment and refocus away from the auto industry toward global energy markets. This year the Senior VP of HR has created a whole new initiative: creating a true “Learning Organization.” This mandate came about because many of the talent problems we identified had to do with a lack of information and skills sharing across different business units. Through an assessment of the 40 Practices for a High-Impact Learning Culture, this company is now going about changing its management practices to drive faster, more dynamic learning.
Globalization has also become critical to success – even in smaller mid-market companies. How do we adapt leadership and hiring programs to drive global success? It is not as easy as it sounds. Vodafone Qatar, the fastest growing business unit in that company, captured 30% market share in this emerging economy in less than three years. They accomplished this by driving a new type of leadership mandate: Vodafone’s strategy in Qatar is not to be the #1 provider of telecommunications services, rather to be the “most admired organization in Qatar.”
Grahame Maher, the CEO of Vodafone Qatar, talks about a mission of improving the lives of individuals in Qatar. This mission drove his leadership team to study the daily needs of this small but fast-growing country. What they found is that many of the residents are temporary workers, coming from countries like the Philippines, UK, and other countries in the middle-east. These workers work 6 days a week, and on Sunday they go to the bank to wire home money. To help improve the lives of these people, Vodafone Qatar rapidly developed a money-transfer services that works from your Vodafone cell phone. This product feature helped drive their rapid market share growth against a long-term incumbent provider.
Each country has its own market needs, and one of the keys to globalization is rapidly adapting your people and product strategies to meet these needs. Well developed global organizations empower local leadership to act independently to meet these needs, using the organization’s talent management framework and tools to drive alignment and efficiency.
The recovery may seem slow, but it is real. Now is the time to shift your thinking toward strategies and programs that drive innovation, collaboration, and localization. We hope that our new research this year helps you rapidly make this shift and continue to drive performance into your organization.