From the CEO: Extreme Makeover—HR Edition

Our profession needs new tools to survive and thrive in today's business world.

By Henry G. Jackson May 1, 2015
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May Cover 
Hank J. Johnson

According to the latest annual report on human capital trends by the consulting firm Deloitte, there is a gap “between what business leaders want and the capabilities of HR to deliver.” In the report, HR leaders rated their teams a C-minus, showing almost no improvement over the past few years. Business leaders rated HR even lower—a D-plus. Unfortunately, this is only the latest voice within the business community calling for an “extreme HR makeover.”

Within the profession, we have also been having a robust discussion about the skills we need to thrive now and in the future. We agree that the transactional, back-office days of our profession are long gone and that modern HR drives business results. Yet research from the Center for Effective Organizations shows that the amount of time HR spends on “strategic business partnership activities”—about 25 percent—has changed little over the past 15 years.

Whether you accept all of these findings or not, there is a clear message that our profession has significant opportunities to enhance our performance. The current perceptions are unacceptable. More important, they do not reflect the true value and potential we bring to business.

We uncover why and how HR must reinvent itself in this issue of HR Magazine. Our cover story, “Rebuilding HR,” discusses how we can get beyond HR’s image problem and critics to construct a new kind of HR—one that reflects the reality of today’s business world. It shows how one HR leader, Shara Gamble, SHRM-CP, is retooling her HR team by training it on the company’s business model, shifting its focus from performing transactional duties to providing workplace solutions and aligning to overall business needs.

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) is also helping to retool HR—and we can help you do the same to enhance your career. We developed the SHRM Competency Model, which includes the nine behavioral and technical competencies every HR professional needs today, to help you focus your development. One important sign of the times is that successful HR professionals must know and display a set of behaviors that we call competencies. No longer is HR expertise or knowledge adequate to thrive in our profession.

Additionally, to inspire more HR professionals to hone the skills that propel their careers and businesses forward, SHRM launched a new competency-based certification for the HR profession. To date, nearly 35,000 HR professionals hold the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP and are on the path to further develop themselves as HR business leaders. Thousands more are preparing to take the certification exams this month.

It’s time to change the conversation and the requirements of the HR profession and to be the strategic business partners our organizations need. As this month’s cover story shows, what worked for HR yesterday likely will not work tomorrow.

SHRM and HR leaders like Shara are taking on the challenge of the “extreme HR makeover.” Will you?

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