Training and Development for HR
HR, you are too important to put yourself last.
“Business leaders of the largest organizations around the world really are starting to see people and talent issues not as a separate thing but as a critical part of the strategic leadership of the enterprise.” -China Gorman, CEO, Great Place to Work Institute
It can be tempting for HR to focus all of its time and resources on developing business unit talent. In fact, there is evidence that many HR functions and professionals are putting their own training and development last. Based on the findings of its latest survey of chief human resource officers (CHROs), The 2011 CHRO Challenge, Cornell University’s Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies (CAHRS) reported: “The HR function has its own talent challenges that need to be addressed. CHROs see the level of functional competence as an obstacle, suggesting that greater effort must be invested in finding new and innovative ways to build HR functional capability.”
At a time when HR is being called out for underinvesting in its own development, HR functions and HR professionals are frequently being cited as critical components of business success. In a recent APQC blog interview, China Gorman, CEO of The Great Place to Work Institute, observed, “Business leaders of the largest organizations around the world really are starting to see people and talent issues not as a separate thing but as a critical part of the strategic leadership of the enterprise.”
What steps can HR take to bolster its own training and development? Here is some guidance for the HR function and individual HR professionals based on the findings of APQC’s 2013 strategic HR research.
Guidance for the HR Function
In both survey and case study research, APQC found that strategic HR functions make a significant commitment to HR talent management. First, they use HR-specific competency models to define the key competencies that are necessary for high performance HR. Second, they have formal processes for identifying high potential HR employees and developing them through varied HR functional experiences as well as business unit exposure. Third, strategic HR functions provide HR managers and employees with formal career planning tools and engage in HR succession planning to ensure that key HR positions are steadily filled. These research findings suggest the following as steps that HR functions can take to manage the development of HR talent.
- 1. Adopt an HR-specific competency model.
- 2. Identify and develop high potential HR talent.
- 3. Establish formal career development programs and tools for HR professionals.
- 4. Engage in succession planning for HR leadership positions.
Guidance for Individual HR Professionals
APQC survey research revealed that in the future individual HR professionals will need to be competent in change management, strategic planning, strategic measurement, critical thinking, and advising. To learn more, APQC asked HR experts, China Gorman, Sharlyn Lauby, and William Tincup, to name specific actions that individual HR professionals can take to become more strategic. Their responses are summarized in this list of seven actions that HR professionals can take to develop.
- 1. Learn math.
- 2. Learn coding.
- 3. Network with strategic HR professionals.
- 4. Develop relationships with business stakeholders.
- 5. Understand the business.
- 6. Speak the language of the business.
- 7. Take a solutions approach.
Comment on your experience. Do you think HR is falling short in training and developing HR talent? What steps have you or your HR function taken to bolder HR training and development?
Elissa Tucker is a research program manager at APQC. Her focus is on uncovering and sharing human capital management benchmarks and best practices. Elissa has more than 14 years of HR research, writing, and consulting experience. Prior to joining APQC, Elissa worked as a research consultant at an HR consultancy. She led large-scale quantitative and qualitative research studies and authored research reports, white papers, and presentations. Elissa co-edited and contributed to the book: Workforce Wake-Up Call: Your Workforce Is Changing, Are You?, John Wiley & Sons, 2006. Follow Elissa on Twitter @ElissaTucker and on AllThingsHCM.