HR practitioners need to develop more creativity in attracting and developing talent. Establishing a culture of high performance and high engagement is fundamentally based on the translation of strategic HR initiatives into workable plans. Ester Kruger explores practical ways in which strategic HR initiatives and business strategy can be linked.
by Ester Kruger
Ester Kruger Bioss Southern Africa
Introduction One of the ways in which we can learn about the future, is to appreciate the journey and lessons of the past. Tracking the evolution of Human Resources through the Industrial Revolution and Scientific Management, Great Depression and the birth of the Human Relations movement, Social Ethic, Human Potential and Competitive Paradigm to the Information and Knowledge Revolution, it is clear that great events have shaped thoughts and paradigms in management theory and practice. It seems like every paradigm has created the solution for the previous one, as well as shaped the problems that the next paradigm has to solve. We have just been through possibly one of those “Great Events” again, and the questions can be posed "what are the new solutions?" and "what are the new problems that we are creating?". The following article explores these questions from an HR point of view and explores the implications for the HR environment.
Skills shortages As a result of the Information and Knowledge Revolution, we are now faced with a scenario where information and theories learnt in your first year of university might be outdated by your fourth year of studies. New entrants into the workplace might have more updated information than those that have worked in organisations for years. They are also used to having access to information and know how to navigate their way through the maze of data available. One of the main implications of this paradigm created is the huge skill shortage. Many countries face severe, potentially incapacitating skills challenge as it attempts to build sustainably higher levels of economic growth with benefits that are widely shared.
What are the HR implications of these developments? Approaches to recruitment and talent management must change; companies should stop only looking for people when there is a vacancy to be filled. This, in part, explains why they battle to find them even when they’re in abundant supply. Many expatriates, who did not necessarily need to emigrate, work in other countries. Talent is very mobile, and with international demand and price for this talent, people will clearly go where the demand and the price is. Discrimination against previously disadvantaged professionals must be combated to ensure that countries have access to their full talent pool. A credible multi-stakeholder forum for better enforcement and monitoring must be empowered within the organisation. HR and executives have a key role to play to shift our organisational paradigm from compliance to commitment. HR can achieve targets but if we are not changing the culture they won’t achieve external competitiveness. They cannot readily compete in the market place if they do not have cooperation and development in the workplace.