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Developing Human Resource Leaders


									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.‖

    For a list of responding companies and additional information, e-mail
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)

       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

     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

       Certain company-wide programs (e.g., diversity, sexual harassment, targeted
       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.

     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.

    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.

   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

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

     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

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
   Promote effective development discussion between HR professionals and their

The components of the development model are:

   Key Experiences – categorized as ―must have, highly recommended and
   Need as Generalist/Specialist – an indication of whether the key experience is an
    important development step in pursuing either a specialist or generalist HR
   What’s Learned – lists of some of the primary learnings from each key
   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

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

    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

    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

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.


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