By Bertrand Dussert - Originally Posted on Forbes
The June 8 edition of the U.K's Telegraph newspaper reported that for the first time ever a supercomputer has passed the Turing Test for artificial intelligence, a measure of a device's ability display human intelligence. It did so by fooling more than 30 percent of the humans interacting with it that it was a 13-year-old boy. This is an important milestone in computing and a sign of things to come for CHROs who have struggled to leverage technology and automation to manage more complex human interactions.
?Innovate or die? has become a cliché, but one proven by history. Consider this: only 262 of the companies in the Fortune 500 in 1999 were still there in 2009. Over the next decade this rate of change will only accelerate, as a large share of today's leading enterprises are outpaced by new competitors, become targets of an acquisition, or must completely reinvent their business models.
The savvy CHROs we speak with (at a rate of one or two per week for the last year) understand that if they don't have a clear vision of the future, including where revenue will come from in 2015 and beyond, then they and their enterprises are in big trouble.
Why? The evolving business models that ensure future success should be driving the talent acquisition choices CHROs make today. In short, if you want to deliver value to your enterprise beyond next year, focus on steps you can take today to ensure long-term growth and success.
The Limits of Research
Over the past six months, we've spent many hours reviewing leading research by some of the best and brightest thought leaders in human capital management. We won't dive deep here, but see the links below for a sampling of studies we've reviewed. The bottom line: CHRO's are rethinking what it means to achieve HR transformation and they're revamping HR programs to achieve maximum impact from the segment of talent that drives the core business.
But as valuable as all this research really is, our conversations with CHROs throughout the world reveal some interesting insights that aren't always highlighted in the literature:
Insight #1: The pace of change continues to accelerate, fueled by new regulations and technology innovation. CHROs in healthcare and financial services, in particular, are dealing with massive regulatory AND technological change simultaneously. Whether that means hospitals evolving systems (and services) to deal with electronic patient records or banks preparing for new capital requirements while capitalizing on the customer experience benefits of new big data efforts. These challenges place a premium on leadership's ability to be agile and move more quickly. And it quickly becomes clear the CHRO's ability to run payroll processing becomes table stakes, compared to how fast and how well she can staff up to respond to these market changes.
Insight #2: We're also hearing that effective change management continues to be one of the biggest challenges for CHROs. The imperative today isn't creating a business case to justify investment funding for this year. It's understanding how well the entire ecosystem of people in the organization can handle even more disruption.
Insight #3: The need for effective collaboration is another seismic shift happening in modern enterprises. Today's reality is that essential work processes require dynamic teams with the right talent, enabled by social and mobile tools. For example, many financial analysts no longer crunch data in isolation?they're now part of a team with business managers, procurement and supply chain professionals, and HR people. It's both a change management and a technology issue: but fluid and transparent collaboration is necessary to move at the speed of the market.
Insight #4: We're seeing compelling business cases and continued interest in adoption of predictive analytics and cloud technologies for human capital management (HCM). These are the keys to accurate attrition forecasts, managing performance, workforce modeling and planning. Similarly, employee data and analytics are reinventing the modern organization's role in enabling the health and wellness of its workforce (think Fitbit integration with HCM systems).
Insight #5: HR departments are evolving from mass-market interactions with employees to individualized engagements. The goal: address the unique needs and insights of individuals in a scalable way. For example, instead of soliciting employee referrals by sending out blanket announcements about new openings, recruiting heads target domain experts within the organization who can share contacts from their professional networks.
Similarly, advanced sentiment analysis tools common throughout the digital marketing industry are helping organizations understand virtual water-cooler conversations inside and outside the enterprise, and can do so on a massive scale.
What does all this mean? Modern HR must become data driven, cloud enabled, highly scalable, global, and constantly evolving.
It's essential to clearly understand the latest trends and best practices, but that only sets the scene for the real work at hand?how to turn these insights into an action plan. Here are two steps to take today to help you plan for the years ahead.
First, create space for strategy development. There is so much pressure to meet current challenges it's easy for CHROs and their teams to say, ?I'll do the strategy tomorrow.? The stakes are too high to delay this important step. Take the time now to think through a long-term strategy and brainstorm with key stakeholders.
Too busy? Just remember, you're not going to succeed in the next two years with the same strategies you're relying on today. Just ask the CHROs of all those former Fortune 500 companies. Today's winners will completely reconsider how they operate and deliver value, and then reassess those strategies again and again.
Next, create a ?no-do? list. Force yourself and your direct reports to not only set goals for what needs to be accomplished, include a handful of activities to stop doing?then figure out how to best use that freed-up capacity.
For example look at the list of HR-related reports that routinely are distributed today. Most large organizations can safely eliminate half of them because they're outdated or redundant and no longer serve the most important business imperatives. Cut the waste and then add a smaller number of new analyses that target your most important issues for the years ahead.
Join the Conversation
We'll continue to meet with CHROs around the world, listening to their concerns and their long-term strategies for 2015 and beyond. We look forward to your feedback and your perspective?you can find me at @bertranddussert if you'd like to join the conversation.
In the meantime, here are some resources to help you succeed in the years ahead.