Human Resources: More executioners than planners


Rarely are members of the HR fraternity in the country directly involved in the strategic planning process of their respective organisations.

One issue that concerns HR managers in the country is that they are seen as mere executioners and not as planners.

As per a research by the global talent management firm, Development Dimensions International (DDI), only 25 per cent of the respondents from the HR fraternity, agreed to have participated in the early stages of strategic planning in their respective organisations.

Though Indian companies like to believe that it is important for strategic planning and the talent to execute the strategy, to work hand in hand for attaining business success, it is rarely practised.

Around three quarters of the respondents confessed that they were either not part of the strategy or were at most asked to develop talent plans after the strategic planning process.

DDI has segregated the role of HR into three heads—anticipators, partners and reactors.

Anticipators are always looking for what might come next. They work with the business to predict future talent gaps, and then strive to close those gaps. They are able to proactively advise leaders on the probability of success of their strategies, based on the available talent and its quality.

Partners openly exchange information with the business about current issues and collaboratively work towards mutual goals.

Reactors ensure compliance with policies/practices and respond to business needs by providing tools and systems when asked for.

Interestingly, less than two out of ten respondents from the HR fraternity slotted themselves as anticipators and less than 60 per cent of the respondents called themselves partners. The remaining 24 per cent called themselves reactors.

This implies that less than 20 per cent of the HR fraternity in the country, were directly involved in the strategic planning process in their respective organisations. The remaining 80 per cent were hardly involved or not involved at all.

What many companies do not realise is that involving HR in strategic business decisions could turn out to be a healthy business exercise.

The study reveals that early involvement pays big dividends for organisations. Companies are three times more likely to have a stronger leadership bench strength and over six times more likely to exhibit strong financial performance than organisations in which HR’s involvement in the planning process occurs late or is nonexistent.

DDI predicts that HR practitioners need to become more knowledgeable and self-aware while using talent analytics, including building specialised roles within their team. Analytics provides the data to help predict talent needs more accurately as well as determine how to close talent gaps, if any.

Besides, the skills and knowledge responsible for HR being where they are today probably would not be relevant in the future. HR needs to be in a constant learning mode to avoid obsolescence. After all, anticipators who are more proactive than their counterparts, are far more likely to be part of their organisation’s strategic planning process.

The role of human capital management will change more in the next five years than it has in the past 30 years.

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