Is HR in a Bad Mood?

Results from The Fifth Annual Talent Management Study by Knowledge Infusion and Human Resource Executive® were published recently in HR Executive by Mike Brennan and some of the findings were surprising.

I didn’t find it surprising that 63% of the respondents report that they have trouble filling jobs and that they can’t find the right candidates. That’s been reported frequently.

It also doesn’t surprise me that more organizations than not will be increasing their investments in Learning/Development, Performance/Goal Management and Workforce Analytics/Planning services and technology. That’s obvious.

What really does surprise me is that 58% of HR executives believe that peer leaders in their organizations “do not buy into talent management.”

Lordy, I hope this isn’t the furniture conversation. And I’m willing to believe it isn’t because 83% of the respondents also believe that “many of our managers do not know how to manage people.” Additionally, 65% of the respondents believe that “many of our HR generalists/business partners are not equipped to consult with the organization on talent.”

Ouch. Either the HR respondents to this survey were all in a colossally bad mood, or they’re starting to look clear-eyed at their organizations and re-calibrate their challenges.

It’s clear that many organizations need to look at legacy systems and programs in the talent management arena (can you say annual performance review system?) and, according to this survey, they are. But focusing on leadership understanding and managerial effectiveness in talent management might be a strong first step.

It’s a great day for HR if the results of this survey mean a new focus on talent management effectiveness – at the top, in the middle, and most importantly, in HR.

But if it was just a systemic bad mood, we’re sunk. Because, in the words of one of my favorite movie characters in one of my favorite movies, “we have serious problems to solve, and we need serious people to solve them.”



Filed under American President, China Gorman, HR, HR Credibility, HR Executive Magazine, HR Technology, Knowledge Infusion, Managerial Effectiveness, Talent Management

7 responses to “Is HR in a Bad Mood?

  1. Pingback: Building a Winning HR Team » Asia HR Blog - 亚洲人力资源博客

  2. Pingback: Weekly reMix | HR reMix

  3. CG, sure wish the study had presented its data collection methodology; best I can find is that it included 400 self-selected respondents. As such, I’m dubious about the generalizability of the results; but for now, let’s go with the numbers “as is”.

    John is right: If you speak with X number of HR types about “talent” you’re likely to get “Y” definitions which invariably colors the respondents’ answers. As far as frontline managers, the inclusion of “talent training” still lags relative to financial and operational training in MBA and leadership development programs (a few case studies notwithstanding); do you know of any MBA program that has an exercise entitled, “Build a workforce planning system”?

    China, as far as the Ethan Allen Syndrome (AKA the seat at the table), does this really surprise you? HR folks are exceptionally good at criticizing other functional peers about their people activities in spite of their own shortcomings. Seriously CG, speak to an HR executive about building talent communities and pipelines and see how quickly the conversation is changed to something employee relations. Of course there are exceptions but if these HR folks are so great at talent activities, why are recruiters pushed to the side during challenging financial periods rather than being tasked with building more relationships in talent communities?

    What I know for certain is that John and I were talking about this 10 years ago; unless HR begins to take substantive risk now, I expect the conversation to change little in 2022.

    This survey is as clear a cry for help than anything I’ve ever read.
    Good one China…

    • Thanks, Steve. Love the “Ethan Allen Syndrome.” Can I use that (with attribution, of course)? I agree that this data looks like a plea for help. What is it they say: recognizing you have a problem is the first step in solving it?

      • re: EAS -> (some people weren’t happy about this one)

        Anyone can say they’re an alcoholic but until they start committing to the 12 Steps, they’re still in trouble. Is it that more HR folks are curious rather than concerned? Don’t know…but I’ve sure been reading more articles lately about CFOs and Human Capital metrics – shouldn’t it be the other way around if the profession is prepared to heal itself?

        Now that SHRM has spent a great deal of resources developing more ANSI standards for HR what will be done with these? Will certification become more rigorous?

        Lots of questions.

  4. The hardest thing about a survey like this is understanding something like ‘whose definition of talent management”. Inside HR, that’s code for an integrated suite of functions (Recruiting, Learning, Succession Management, Performance Management, Compensation et all). It’s easy to imagine that line managers have a hard time seeing the value. I’ve never seen (though I’m sure it’s because I missed it) a presentation, white paper or webinar designed to inform and persuade non-HR people about the implicit value.

    Outside of HR, Talent Management probably means something more mundane, if line managers even consider the people who work for them to be ‘Talent’. The few who do actually get the Integrated Talent Management idea are likely to see it as one more bucket of paperwork generated by the folks in HR .

    It seems to me that the survey is a fairly accurate appraisal that points out the next generation of education we need to be doing in the organization.

    I am really, really enjoying your dive into data about the industry. Keep at it.

    • Thanks, John. While the methodology was not transparent and the survey had just 400 respondents, it brings up such interesting questions. Thanks for your insights — as always.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s