Most colleges and universities are not producing HR graduates with the requisite competencies for the future HR professional, according to new research conducted by the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp). Through interviews with nearly 70 CHROs and senior executives from Fortune 1000 companies and by surveying over 400 HR professionals, i4cp found that the traditional ways of ensuring that HR talent has the needed competencies for the future are no longer cutting it.
Traditionally, many organizations have ensured talent by partnering with colleges and universities to influence HR curriculum content. These days, only 26% of high-performance organizations see such partnerships as an effective way to ensure availability of future HR talent.
Instead of hiring graduates with HR degrees, companies are training internally for HR knowledge, or simply hiring based on necessary competencies. Two-thirds (66%) of high-performance organizations develop HR talent internally through HR-specific development programs to prepare HR leaders with needed competencies for the future, compared to only half of lower performers. Meanwhile, 57% of high performers (versus 43% of low performers) say that they hire talent with the required competences that will be needed in the future.
“My preference is to find the right talent that has the capabilities and grow it,” explains Mark Blankenship, SVP and Chief Administrative Officer for Jack in the Box. “There are other variables that affect success: culture fit, for instance, things that are not technical skills. You can find that raw talent and grow it. It may not come into HR, but other parts of the organization."
The question of competencies and high-level skills needed to become an HR leader is answered in the new i4cp report The Future of HR - The Transition to Performance Advisor, available exclusively to i4cp members.
As the role of the HR professional transforms into a more strategic one, organizations are realizing the importance of choosing future talent with more of an emphasis on strategic competencies, rather than looking for those with a vast knowledge of HR.
Mara Swan, the CHRO of ManPower Group, looks for a strategic mindset in job candidates: "What I’ve been looking for is the right mindset. I’d like to see more marketing people, IT people, finance, line and HR people together on a team. I create groups to work on projects – they think differently and work well together to solve business problems.”
According to research participants, the abilities to think and act strategically are extremely important competencies to have, and they will be even more important five years from now. Currently, 71% percent of high performers and 62% of low performers view strategic thinking as one of the most important competencies for HR professionals, with 73% and 71% respectively indentifying it as the most important in five years.
Furthermore, half of high-performing organizations believe that strategy execution is currently one of the most important competencies for HR professionals―a view shared by only 35% of low-performing companies―but both see it as important five years from now, with expectations increasing to 62% for high performers and 60% for low performers, a 53% increase for that group.
To learn more about what CHRO's and other HR professionals are saying about the future of HR, download the full report.