Developing Human Resource Leaders James W. Walker and William G. Stopper, The Walker Group There has been considerable attention to the roles of human resource professionals as business partners and leaders of business change. For many individuals, these new roles require the development of capabilities in such areas as formulating business and human resource strategies, leading change, and redesigning HR processes to support strategy implementation. What are companies doing to help their human resource leaders develop new capabilities? What is the actual state of practice? To learn about current practices, we mailed a survey to 100 companies, members of the HR Leadership Consortium.1 The results, highlights of practices in 34 companies, are presented in this article. Competency Models Following the example set by AT&T, IBM, Honeywell, Kodak, 3M, and other leading companies a few years ago, most of the companies are either adapting or developing capability (competency) models for their human resource professionals. The process of identifying and defining requirements has been found to be a beneficial element of the process of developing talent, because it engages people in thinking about the demands of their changing roles – what will be expected of them. Many of the companies (22) indicated they use a competency model specifically for human resource professionals. Twelve of the companies use a model of overall capabilities applicable to human resource professionals. Five of the companies report they have defined capabilities required for specific roles in human resources (e.g., HR leader or generalist, consultant, specialists). Nine of the companies have defined capabilities required for specific functional areas, such as training, compensation, or recruiting. Most of the companies applied a model developed by other companies, by a vendor for overall leadership development (e.g., Career Architect), or by a consultant (e.g., Dave Ulrich or Walker Group). Six companies reported that they adapted or customized models developed by other companies. Eight of the companies developed their own model from scratch, based on internal research and review of external research and models. ―We collected data on knowledge, skill, and ability requirements for every job and, from this, developed common KSAs,‖ reported one company. ―Even though it took a long time, we feel that it drew attention to development in HR.‖ 1 For a list of responding companies and additional information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org Individual Development Planning HR functions have often taken the initiative in developing and introducing development planning and career development processes for managers and for employees in other company functions. Yet they have often been slow to adopt such processes for their own staff. Progress is evident, however, among companies surveyed. Most of the companies provide development planning tools for their human resource professionals to use. These include: Self development planning tools or formats (31) Coaching, counseling, mentoring (31) Assessment (e.g., multi-rater) and feedback (25) Guides to development resources (17) Company internet resources (15) In some cases, these development planning tools were the same as those provided to professionals in all areas of the company – the process is the same as the company-wide development planning process (13). ―It is part of our annual goal setting process, but it is crude and unevenly used.‖ ―We have been careful not to reinvent processes that we have in place elsewhere‖. An additional eight companies adapted the company-wide process to fit the specific needs of human resource professionals. ―The process is similar to, but not exactly the same as our company-wide process‖. ―It has elements of processes used in other functions.‖ ―We are redefining our protocols to apply in HR.‖ Ten companies designed their own process for human resources. One reported adapting a process used by another company. ―We developed an assessment tool for rating skill levels in HR functional areas and assessing behaviors.‖ ―We are doing this in each functional area of the company.‖ Education and Training HR professionals have always had access to tuition assistance programs for university coursework and external seminars and professional conferences. Increasingly, they have been encouraged to attend general business and skill development programs offered to others within the company. Companies are also developing specific programs for human resource leaders, tailored to specific needs. Most companies provide a variety of education and training opportunities for human resource professionals. Typical approaches include: External workshops or conferences (32) General education/training programs within the company (27) 2 Specific projects/team assignments (27) Certification programs (e.g., SHRM, ACA) (25) University degree programs (21) Company HR conferences (19) Self-study initiatives (16) Sixteen of the companies provide programs or workshops specifically designed for their human resource professionals. ―We have a curriculum of workshops for HR professional development.‖ One company noted that local managers decide what training HR staff will attend. Another company noted that ―training budgets have been reduced,‖ resulting in lower HR participation in both internal and external programs. The companies report that mandatory training requirements for HR professionals are rare. Several companies with in-house HR conferences or HR leadership development programs indicate that participation is strongly encouraged ―We expect all of our high potential HR people to attend.‖ Other mandated training includes: Certain company-wide programs (e.g., diversity, sexual harassment, targeted selection) Workshops targeted to specialty areas Programs providing basic business knowledge Development through Assignments Traditionally, human resource leaders developed their capabilities through a series of diverse and increasingly challenging assignments, often in different areas of the business. Even though organizations report that movement is more difficult, as they do not have the ―slack‖ that used to allow developmental moves, mobility is still widely considered a critical element of career development. Many of the companies provide either informal or planned movement of human resource talent within the human resource community (16). ―Informal but frequent.‖ ―As needs arise.‖ ―We are moving toward a more formal approach to progression.‖ ―A process is being implemented.‖ ―We have a two-year rotational program for new college hires‖. Eight of the companies conduct formal, succession planning across the human resource function. ―A third of our staffing actions result from succession discussions.‖ ―Succession for all human resource positions is discussed twice a year at HR Council meetings.‖ ―We review our senior talent and positions through HR committees.‖ One company uses teams including line executives to screen candidates for key human resource assignments. 3 Virtually all of the companies (33) use job posting of some kind for staffing human resource positions. Many have company-wide job posting. ―We have global posting for all management positions‖. ―We periodically circulate lists of positions to be filled.‖ ―We post all HR vacancies in our weekly newsletter.‖ ―We post vacancies biweekly on our intranet.‖ Mobility from line or other functions into Human Resources occurs rarely. ―It happens infrequently, on a local basis.‖ ―It is hard to induce people to take HR assignments.‖ One company said there is ―less than in the past‖ and added, ―it all depends on our having appropriate openings.‖ Another company reported, ―There has been a recent push for this.‖ Mobility from HR to line assignments or assignments in other staff functions is also rare. Some say they encourage it, but it doesn’t happen very often – ―We say we do, but we don’t.‖ Many of the companies report that they have arranged for assignments for specific individuals ―when it fits their development plans.‖ ―We have made more moves for development than any other department.‖ Best Practices and Trends The responses indicate that development of HR capabilities does not ―just happen.‖ Even in companies that have well-established performance management and development programs, special attention is required to ensure that HR professionals are actively engaged in development actions and that they are focusing on development priorities that are relevant to their changing roles and priorities. Because larger companies typically have more HR professionals and give more attention to planned development, they are setting the example for others. The following are summary reports of specific practices in three companies that participated in the study: United Technologies Corporation, Prudential Insurance, and IBM. Case: United Technologies Corporation Lee Dailey, Director, Education and Development UTC is a diversified, global, high technology company, with revenues exceeding $25 billion. Its business groups include Otis Elevator, Pratt & Whitney, Sikorsky Aircraft, Carrier, and Hamilton-Sunstrand. The human resource function operates as a community, with many initiatives and processes crossing organizational lines. Development of human resource leaders is one such process. Through the coordinated effort of the corporate human resource organization, the businesses recruit and hire about ten masters degree graduates a year into the HR function, including individuals with MBA degrees as well as specialized degrees. Experienced hires are brought into the function to meet specific needs, typically within a business unit. 4 An annual review of HR talent, updated quarterly at meetings of the senior HR leaders, provides a basis for planned rotation and targeted job assignments. High- talent individuals have typically moved across two or three businesses. International assignments are also emphasized. There are some moves to and from line positions. The process is integrated with a broader HR Strategic Review process, conducted by UTC’S Senior Vice President of HR with each of the business units (VP HR and unit President) to examine overall talent supply and demand, people-related strategic issues, and action plans. HR professionals are encouraged to develop their capabilities and are expected to complete a personal development plan, consistent with the company’s common process. A company-wide Scholars Program reimburses employees for coursework leading to a degree and recognizes program completion with a grant of 200 shares of stock. Specific company-sponsored workshops address functional knowledge updates, internal consulting skills, and current human resource topics. All human resource leaders and candidates for leadership positions attend a week-long program, the Human Resource Business School, to equip them for their changing roles. More than 200 individuals have participated in the program, which has been conducted at the UTC Learning Center in Connecticut and at locations in Europe and Asia. The program is based on the HR leadership capabilities model developed by The Walker Group, working with Otis Elevator and other companies. The program provides a business view of HR, emphasizing the integral importance of people issues in business strategy. First, through an intensive case study (Emerson Electric) and then through analysis of UTC’s own business strategies. Second, the program addresses best practices in formulating HR strategies, effectively leading change, and measuring business impact. Third, the program examines changing HR roles, provides multi-rater feedback on demonstrated capabilities and guides individual development planning. Case: Prudential Insurance Kurt Metzger, HR Curriculum Director Prudential’s HR function transitioned from largely decentralized to a matrix organization, reducing staff from 1,100 to 800 and saving approximately $20 million, while improving expertise, service, and performance levels. Learning and Development implications of the change include: The need for our generalists to have greater business knowledge and consulting skill, while letting go of the need to be experts in all the technical aspects of HR. The need for staff in our ―Communities of Practice‖ to be true experts in their technical fields (e.g. staffing, compensation). The need to create development paths that encompass and encourage the above two needs. 5 The need to strengthen partnering and problem solving skills. Competencies for HR Prudential recently introduced a new performance management process that will be consistent company-wide. In the past performance management models varied by business unit. The new process is centered around 9 core leadership competencies, which will be applied to everyone in a management position. A similar set of universal competencies is being developed for non-management staff. In addition to these core competencies, each associate will be evaluated on 5-7 situational/technical competencies specific to their job and the business they support. For HR, situational/technical competencies have been developed by practice area (e.g. staffing, compensation, generalist, etc.), and have been validated by each practice area’s staff through discussion around the strategies, objectives and activities of the unit, and the knowledge, skills and attributes needed for success. This validation process continues, so that these competencies will remain up to date. Development Planning Development plans are created for all Prudential associates as part of the annual performance management process. Plans are created jointly by associates and their supervisors. For Human Resources staff, an additional development tool – the ―Personal Development Roadmap‖ was created and introduced last year at a conference for all staff in HR. The Personal Development Roadmap encourages HR associates to focus on both professional and personal development, and includes components on Creating a personal vision/mission/purpose statement Identifying important personal and professional roles Identifying what the business needs Inventorying needed competencies Creating an action plan Education and Training The position of Human Resources Curriculum Director was created late last year. Similar positions exist for other functional areas (e.g., Operations, Information Technology, and Finance). Each curriculum Director is responsible for developing education and training interventions around two strategies: ―Serve‖ and ―Shape.‖ The Serve strategy is aimed at helping to identify and close knowledge and/or skill gaps at the individual level. The primary product of this strategy will be a ―curriculum map,‖ in this case for HR, which will guide users to specific training to meet their needs. The map is organized by HR practice area with cross-references to 6 specific skills. Training is categorized as fundamental, intermediate or advanced, and includes internal and external programs as well as alternate delivery and experiential learning. The HR curriculum map is being populated using the expertise of Prudential’s learning organization regarding training design/delivery and vendor management in conjunction with the subject matter expertise of various HR practice areas. The Shape strategy is focused on identifying ―group‖ skill or knowledge gaps, and identifying interventions that can be applied on a larger scale in a way that will leverage the impact on business results. In 1999, the Shape strategy involves aligning the training efforts associated with rolling out a number of large HR programs (new pay plan, introduction of Peoplesoft, new performance management process). Few of the programs are mandatory, but when they are, they are generally part of our Shape strategy. In 1998 Prudential introduced a week-long Strategic HR Leadership Program to facilitate the adoption of new roles across the human resource community. More than 200 HR leaders, representing both business groups and communities of practice, have participated. The program, based on the Human Resource Business School design, features current, customized case studies on the changing financial services industry, Citigroup, and Prudential, as a basis for examining business-specific people issues and strategies, roles and working relationships in the HR community, and HR effectiveness measures. Recruitment and Mobility Most, if not all, HR positions are posted internally. Planned movement in conjunction with succession planning will consider how to facilitate mobility into and out of HR where it will help development. At more senior levels, HR has historically participated in the company’s overall succession planning process. A project team is developing a succession strategy that will carry the process deeper into our Human Resources organization. Prudential actively recruits HR talent from the outside to infuse fresh ideas or to fill specialized positions where the skills don’t exist internally. As our succession and HR learning strategies become more fine-tuned, we expect that our recruiting strategies will as well. Right now, our outside recruiting is done largely on an as needed basis. Case: IBM Bob Gonzales, Vice President HR Operations Our approach to HR development is based on the fact that approximately 80% of an individual’s learning occurs through on-the-job experiences. These experiences help build the skills and competencies needed as a business partner. Although we 7 encourage the use of both internal and external educational programs (e.g., project management), we have made experience the foundation of the five-part model adopted for use by HR professionals in assessing themselves and planning their careers. The model and its accompanying tools, which are resident on IBM’s internal HR Web site, are intended to help: Provide information and guidance on key HR developmental experiences, Match the development needs of current and future HR leaders to the right experiences, Promote effective development discussion between HR professionals and their managers/mentors. The components of the development model are: Key Experiences – categorized as ―must have, highly recommended and additional‖. Need as Generalist/Specialist – an indication of whether the key experience is an important development step in pursuing either a specialist or generalist HR career. What’s Learned – lists of some of the primary learnings from each key experience. Key Competencies Developed – the primary IBM leadership competencies each key experience develops. HR Job Examples – HR jobs from which one can gain the key experience. The assessment and planning tools available to IBM HR professionals use a common language to help promote effective development discussions between HR professionals and their managers/mentors. It is left up to individuals to use the tools they feel are best for their needs. Assessment Tools HR Developmental Experiences: Individual Self Assessment HR Development Experiences: Team Assessment IBM Leadership Competencies: Individual Self Assessment Planning Tools HR Development Planning Worksheet HR Developmental Experiences-Leadership Competencies Matrix How to Have an Effective Development Discussion As indicated, the HR development model is strongly related to the company’s overall leadership model. Leadership at IBM is characterized by the ability to execute with the speed, simplicity and teamwork needed to keep ahead of 8 competition and exceed customer expectations. Successful leaders excel in four key areas and demonstrate a series of related competencies: Focus to Win – Understanding the business environment moment to moment and setting strategies for breakthrough results. Competencies include: Customer insight, Breakthrough thinking, Drive to achieve Mobilize to Execute – Implementing with speed, flexibility and teamwork. Competencies include: Team leadership, Straight talk, Teamwork, Decisiveness Sustain Momentum – Obtaining lasting results that continue to grow. Competencies include: Building organizational capability, Coaching, Personal dedication Passion for the Business – Being excited about what IBM technology and services can do for the world. These leadership competencies are applied to HR development model through guidelines, as shown in the following example: Key Need Need What’s Learned Key HR Job Experiences As As Competencies Examples Generalist Specialist Developed (partial list) Must Have: Compensation X X Significant content; Customer Executive Comp how it affects Insight on Global Staff bottom line Breakthrough Employee Comp Understanding links Thinking to IBM business strategy Given the fast-paced environment in which the Company operates, HR’s leadership code includes two very important operating tenets—a sense of urgency and a positive can-do attitude—that have direct application to development. Every HR professional will face new experiences (different situations, problems, customers, teams, managers and responsibilities) and must be prepared with new functional, technical and professional skills and leadership competencies. Only by leveraging learning can HR professionals carry out their role as effective partners in IBM’s business. About the Authors James W. Walker is a partner in The Walker Group, a consulting firm that helps clients integrate human resource and business strategy. He and his partners conduct the Human Resource Business School executive program at The Wharton School 9 each year and similar programs for HR leaders within client companies. Jim is author of Human Resource Strategy and numerous other books and articles. He was a founder and the charter president of HRPS. William G. Stopper is a partner in The Walker Group and consults on the development of the human resource function. He is Executive Director of the HR Leadership Consortium and shapes development programs for companies. Bill joined the firm in 1994 from IBM where he directed training and development for 3,000 human resource professionals world wide. 10
"Developing Human Resource Leaders"