Article: Book Review: What an HR person needs to stay competitive

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Book Review: What an HR person needs to stay competitive

Global HR Competencies: Mastering Competitive Value From The Outside In
Book Review: What an HR person needs to stay competitive
 

The biggest value of the book is its presentation of the six high level purposes through which HR adds value to the business

 

Global HR Competencies: Mastering Competitive Value From The Outside In

When Dave Ulrich speaks about HR, everyone listens. In his latest book, which he has co-authored with three other big names, Ulrich defines Global HR competencies as “mastering competitive value from the outside in”.

Ulrich identifies six domains of HR competencies in his model. They are:

1. Credible activist: You walk the talk.

2. Strategic “positioner”: Entail understanding the global business context in terms of social, economic, political, environmental, technological and demographic trends, and how they impact business

3. Capability builder: Help the line managers create meaning so that the capability of the organisation reflects the deeper values of the employees

4. Change champions: Build the case for change based on market reality, and overcoming resistance by engaging key stakeholders

5. HR innovator and integrator: Get better business results by innovating new HR practices.

6. Technology proponent: Applies social networking technology to help people stay connected.

While this volume examines business challenges and competitive practices, and grades the strength of HR professionals against these competencies to create a scorecard, it does so within a framework of geographical segmentation. China, India, Africa, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, Australia-New Zealand, North America, Turkey - all find a detailed scorecard. But, there is not enough on emerging markets where growth is expected in the next 5 years.

This is critical because the pace of growth has a great impact on what kind of HR practices evolve in a given market. This book would have been more illuminating had it contrasted HR practices in high-growth and low-growth markets.

For instance, in a fast-growth sector, who has the time to develop leaders when there isn’t enough slack time available with the leaders? When all the employers in a sector are grappling to attract and retain the same set of skilled workers in the sector, what is the best way to develop them?

So, while the competencies the book identifies are valid, it does not explain how to use the framework in a global world.

The biggest value of the book is its presentation of the six high-level purposes through which HR adds value to the business: be the best thinkers on human issues, be equal partners with line executives, drive the talent agenda, keep customer-focus, sustain economic intangibles that yield capital benefits, and generate competitive advantage for the company.

To do all this, the best intellectuals must be in HR. The top firms anyway have monopolized the best HR professionals. So, what should the others do to hire/groom such HR talent? Knowing the competencies one needs to have is of no use unless one knows how to develop them. If Prof. Ulrich wants to know from a customer what would have provided value – it is precisely this: how to make ourselves better.

Global HR Competencies: Mastering Competitive Value From The Outside In
By Dave Ulrich, Wayne Brockbank, Jon Younger, Mike Ulrich

Publisher’s name:
Tata McGraw Hill
Price: Rs 595
No of pages: 320
 

Abhijit Bhaduri is Chief Learning Officer, Wipro Group

Topics: #BookReview, Strategic HR, Life @ Work

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