Recently we have had the honor of hosting an acclaimed academician, a pioneer and beacon of Strategic HR world over, Dr. Wayne Brockbank, partner emeritus at The RBL Group. In the session, Dr. Wayne has thrown the spotlight on the evolving dynamics of HR through his study done with 1,00,000+ HR professionals at the University of Michigan.
Regarding 2020, Dr. Wayne said that the economic, socio-political eco-system had changed radically. The good news is that HR doesn’t have to go out looking for the change, but the ‘change’ is looking for HR. Coronavirus has created economic turmoil and changed the way of work. He added that even if the Coronavirus goes away, the fundamental business challenges remain the same, which are:
- How do you design the product/service?
- How do you make the product?
- How do you sell products and services better than your competition?
Talking about disruptions that Covid-19 had caused, Dr. Wayne highlighted major trends in the business eco-system. There is an abundance of information available around the world. Companies that live and succeed in that world are the ones that have sustainable success in meeting the requirements of their markets into the future.
He mentioned that there are a greater number of executives abroad when compared to those within India making the country a prominent net exporter of executive talent. It essentially indicates countries like India are expanding their horizons across the business eco-system.
He divulged that changes in sectors are unprecedented and quoted examples of how Amazon has become a rival of Walmart now. When the complexity of sectors and geographies are overlayed and multiplied that times the change and acceleration of information technology, the radically changing competitive environment can be understood. The success of companies in that environment is not determined by the HR but their stakeholders.
HR’s Role Relative To Stakeholders
From the research done with thousands of HR professionals at the University of Michigan, Dr. Wayne and his team were able to identify 4 critical categories of HR practice areas statistically.
The first one, called Employee Performance HR Practices, consists of measurement, rewards, training, and development.
Strategic Integrated HR Practices have a line of sight to the strategy that provides the criteria to design and deliver cultural and organizational capabilities. The HR specific functional practices create and sustain organizational capabilities, which is critical for the strategy.
HR’s Role in Information Management is to identify the most important external information and brought into the company. This information is to be analyzed for the patterns and the key findings are to be shared with the stakeholders for effective utilization in decision making and action.
HR Analytics involves measuring and tracking HR’s performance, which is used to improve decision making. They also venture into measuring the impact of HR’s actions on business outcomes and effectively utilizing the analytics to drive business performance.
Relative Impact of HR Department Activities on Alternative Stakeholders
The numbers in the chart showcased by Dr. Wayne divulge the percentage of the value created for each of the stakeholders with HR practice areas’ bundles. The statistical data provides a fair idea of understanding how each HR practice area can provide and impact the value for each stakeholder within and outside the organization. We suggest you to watch the video for a comprehensive understanding of what these numbers mean for various facets of the business.
Creating the right strategy and culture
To create a successful strategy and culture for an organization, Dr. Wayne suggests businesses derive answers to the following questions,
- What business are we in?
- What are the market trends for those businesses?
- How do we complete now and in the future, and how do we measure success?
- What culture do we need to achieve better numbers in the future?
- How do we design and deliver the right HR practices that create and sustain the competitive culture?
Later Dr. Wayne elaborated on the importance of strategy and culture with interesting real-life examples of tech giants. Louis V. Gerstner, Jr. (the former chairman of IBM) has then taken a firm decision to prevent IBM from being split into nine different businesses and achieved the culture of cross-unit collaboration by incorporating Measurement, Rewards, and Staffing as leverage points. Watch the inspiring and interesting stories of HUL, FedEx, and Toyota as explained by Dr. Wayne from the recorded session below.