We invite all HR professionals to participate in our survey on the State of Human Resources in Canada. This survey is now closed – please watch for the executive summary of the results.
You have your CHRP designation. Now as you begin to climb the ladder to success, what else must you learn to advance your career? One start is to develop the competencies you will need to become a true HR leader. But here the confusion begins. There are many different competencies and competency models proposed by various academics and associations. If you cannot determine with confidence which to trust, how can you decide where to invest your time, money and development efforts?
Today CHRO’s are judged on what they deliver and how they get things done. Aligning talent, fostering engagement, enabling common shared vision and values are critical elements in their toolkit. The CHRO has a vital role in shaping the direction of the organization and ensuring business success for all its shareholders. A tall order for sure but one that I believe we are fully equipped to deliver. This article gives more detail on strategic business planning and HR alignment.
I have personally witnessed HR’s evolution from the back room to the board room, from tactics to strategy, and to assuming ownership of the business and its outcomes. The HR profession has advanced dramatically since the days when I began my career as a recruiter, and we certainly have come a long way from the days of the “Personnel Department”.
With over 950 responses to our Queen's IRC Professional Development Awareness Survey, I am pleased to announce the winners of the $50 coffee cards, and share some of the results with you. We received responses from across Canada, and a few outside Canada, with 53% from Ontario, and 18% from Alberta. The majority of our respondents (64%) are in the 40 to 59 age group. About 22% of the respondents are unionized, and 41% identified HR as their primary role within their organization.
Do we really want to professionalize? That is a really good question—but there are layers to that question. For some years, the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) asked the following question on its annual member survey: ‘Do you agree that the professionalization of HR is, or should be, an important issue for the profession?’
To be frank, the academic literature on what makes a profession is not very accessible. Here is something of a different take on the topic. For some time, there has been an ongoing debate in the Harvard Business Review as to whether business management is, or should be, a profession. The debate started with an article written by Khurana, Nohria, and Penrice in 2005 entitled Is business management a profession?
We surveyed the Profit 500, an annual listing of the 500 fastest growing companies in Canada, to find out about their HR practices. We asked questions surrounding their strategic capabilities, organizational development activities, change management processes, training opportunities, performance management systems, leadership development programs, and the use of HR technology. Overall, the top HR challenges faced by the Profit 500 include (1) finding key talent, (2) managing and feeding talent pipelines, (3) appropriately leveraging HR metrics to inform decision making, and (4) choosing and incorporating the right HR technology.
As an HR professional or senior leader, you spend years mastering the labour relations fundamentals. Not the textbook fundamentals, but the behaviours, the actions, communication styles–the way you handle sensitive situations. You log numerous failures, like the time you told the union that the grievance was invalid because they used red ink, the time you were new and mistook a seasoned union employee for a manager and accidentally told them your grievance strategy.
Queen’s University Industrial Relations Centre (Queen’s IRC) is pleased to announce the release of An Inquiry into the State of HR in Canada in 2013. This executive summary is based on a survey of over 400 HR practitioners and explores the current and changing state of the HR profession in Canada. It also compares the findings with our 2011 survey.
In my teaching and consulting practice, HR professionals often recount stories like this. Someone, somewhere, makes a disparaging remark about human resources as a “dead end”, “non-value add” or “being the department that just gets in the way. Here’s the news. This is no longer truth. This is wonderful time to be an HR professional. It’s time to grow into a true business partner. It’s time to be seen as someone who “gets it.”
In this article, we take one of the more interesting and useful models of professionalization and apply it to the Human Resources field to see what insights can be had. There are a number of models of professionalization, and of those one of the more interesting and useful models is that of Forsyth & Danisiewicz (1985) . What makes this model so interesting and useful is that unlike other models it has a functional approach rather than a descriptive approach—that is, it looks at the process of professionalization (see figure 1).
This report summarizes and analyzes the results of a survey of HR practitioners from the Caribbean conducted in 2012. More specifically, the results of the survey provide insight into several key aspects of Caribbean HR practitioners’ working lives. These include the demographic characteristics of practitioners, their roles and responsibilities, the nature of the organizations for which they work, their education and career development, the knowledge and skills required to thrive in the Caribbean, and of course, their perspectives on important issues, innovations and challenges in the HR profession today.
RIP HR. That will be the tombstone on the HR profession if we don't get our act together soon. Sadly it seems we just cannot agree on a unified national approach on the professional association front, or even in some provincial regions. It's no wonder that we lack the ability to move HR to the next level in business. What's most unfortunate is that as a profession that should be recognized for leadership, vision and collaboration, we are setting a very poor example. We've been talking about the same old tired things for years, if not decades.
This article is written for HR leaders and explores the global human resources trends, the human resources function’s readiness to respond, and the associated implications for the HR leader. It draws upon insights from Deloitte’s 2014 Global Human Capital Trends report and the Corporate Education Board’s Global Workforce Insights Q3 2014 report and relates the trends identified to the evolution of the human resources field.
In April 2014, as Lori Aselstine began her retirement from the Government of Ontario, she sat down with Queen’s IRC to talk about her career, the HR profession and practising HR in an environment that is 85% unionized. Lori talks candidly about her experience rising through the ranks in the Government of Ontario, as well as the challenges and opportunities that come from working in labour relations for the government, which often plays the role of the employer and legislator.
The desire for HR professionals to be accorded the respect and status of being true professionals is a theme that goes back many decades; and there is no evidence to suggest that this desire has waned over the years. In 2013, the Human Resources Professionals Association asked the following question on its annual member survey: "Do you agree that the professionalization of HR is, or should be, an important issue for the profession?"—89.4% of respondents agreed with the statement.
The notion that Human Resource (HR) professionals need to be strategic and aligned with their organization’s strategy is not by any means new. In their book The HR Scorecard published almost fifteen years ago, Professors Becker, Huselid and Ulrich noted that “traditional HR skills have not diminished in value, but simply are no longer adequate to satisfy the wider strategic demands of the HR function” (Becker, Huselid and Ulrich, 2001). Since then strategy frameworks and the language of strategic management have evolved. The question is has HR kept up with these, especially in the past year or so?
On its annual member survey, the Human Resources Professionals Association asks the following question: “Do you agree that the professionalization of HR is, or should be, an important issue for the profession?” In 2013, 89.4% of respondents either ‘agreed’ or ‘strongly agreed’ with this statement—this represents as much agreement as one is likely to find on any question.
I’m always stunned when I hear a senior business leader say that their head of HR isn’t one of their key advisors; that the head of HR is often not at the senior executive table when major strategic or market initiatives are being discussed. And yet, in most organizations, human resources are both the largest expense line in the profit & loss statement and the most mission-critical resource: it is only with good people that ANYTHING of business value gets done. For this reason alone, there should be a senior HR professional at the table for every strategic discussion.
Today many vice presidents and other senior executives in human resources (HR) have earned a seat at the executive table by showing their organization’s senior teams that HR operations contribute at least as much as Sales, Marketing, Operations, Finance, IT or any other department. The key to this is continuous learning. Jack Welch, former 20-year CEO of world class GE, now an itinerant management guru, is often quoted: “An organization’s ability to learn and translate that learning into action rapidly is the ultimate competitive advantage.” Executives who aspire to lead organizations have to spearhead that learning first by learning steadily themselves and that is nowhere truer than for HR.
For the Alberta government's Pauline Melnyk, the Queen's IRC HR Business Partner Certificate Program couldn't have come at a better time. Melnyk was helping design a cumulative effects management system (CEMS) for her department, Alberta Environment and Sustainable Resource Development. As part of the system, which designs programs and processes based on the cumulative effects of development on the environment, the department itself needed to review its organizational design.
In this IRC Interview, Stina Bjerg Nielsen, Head of Human Resources for Maersk Oil, talks about her experiences within the human resources profession in Denmark and Europe, and her role at Maersk Oil.
In a recent article, Simon Parkin identified three major challenges facing today’s HR professionals: Leadership Effectiveness, Talent Acquisition and Management, and HR Capability and Capacity. I fully agree with Simon’s assessment: these are, indeed, the top challenges HR professionals must tackle to enable their organizations to compete and thrive in today’s environment.
We have moved into an era where traditional support services – HR, Finance, IT, Administration, Legal etc. – are under increasing daily pressure to produce a more direct impact on business results. The business rationale for this pressure is easy to understand. Organizations – both public and private – are being pushed by customers, boards of directors, analysts, and investors to do more with the resources they have or – in many cases – do more with less.