Academic journal article Human Resource Planning


Academic journal article Human Resource Planning


Article excerpt

This first issue of the journal for 2006 leads us into the annual conference, which is built around the theme "Adapt and Thrive: Aligning, Engaging and Leading in Challenging Environments" (April 23-26 in Tucson, Arizona). If you have not yet reviewed the content and committed to attending, please visit the website ( and get signed up! To start this new year, we felt it was important to republish what the HRPS board defined three years ago as the five knowledge areas that HRPS strives to support and the multiple ways that we provide both content and interaction in those areas. We believe that HRPS provides the best opportunity for strategic HR professionals to gain access to the content, thought leadership, and networking that will help them and their organizations to be more successful. Other professional groups may better serve the need for HR skills development in the day-to-day transactional arena, whereas the HRPS knowledge areas and our membership are about learning and growth in the more strategic and transformational areas of HR--those areas that create sustained competitive advantage for organizations.

Exhibit 1 on page 14 shows the five knowledge areas: HR Strategy and Planning, Leadership Development, Talent Management, Organization Effectiveness, and Building a Strategic HR Function. Exhibit I shows the definitions of each of these areas and recent examples (from 2005-2006) of content in each area. HRPS supports this content through workshops, forums, teleconferences, the annual conference, journal articles, other publications (books and Gold Collection of articles), and website content. To advance our understanding and practice in these five knowledge areas, HRPS also has partnerships with quality organizations: CCL, CAHRS, HRI, CEO, and The Walker Group.

As an example, the first three articles in this edition support "Building a Strategic HR Function," and the fourth article is in the "Organization Effectiveness" knowledge area. We continue to seek new research and thinking that can extend our knowledge in any of these areas. Each of the five knowledge areas has an Associate Articles Editor who oversees the development of content in that area. This volunteer group has been together with me for over three years now, and I extend my deep gratitude to Ed Gubman, Rich Hughes, Fred Frank, Joe McCann, and Jay Jamrog. In addition, Bill Stopper (The Walker Group) deserves special recognition as the short articles and Perspectives editor for each edition of the journal.

On to the content of the current issue of HRP. As we consider the evolving role of HR within organizations today, an important question is "what do boards expect of HR?" Surprisingly, not much research has been done to answer this question. The first best effort at this was research conducted recently by Ed Lawler and John Boudreau of the University of Southern California's Center for Effective Organizations. The Human Resource Planning Society partly funded this research, written up in our first article: "HR Support for Corporate Boards." Input from over 100 HR senior executives and from over 75 non-HR executives provided the data, which indicated where more focus is required on the issues of HR skills and priorities. It turns out that boards are limited by their own experiences as to what they expect from HR, so they tend to ask for the traditional things they are more historically comfortable with (e.g., executive compensation and succession planning). What boards expect and what they should expect from HR are really two separate issues. The data show that HR most strongly meets the needs of the board of directors when it:

1. Drives change management;

2. Integrates a human capital strategy to the business strategy;

3. Partners with the line in developing a business strategy; and

4. Makes rigorous data-based decisions about human capital management.

These four contributions clearly represent the business partner and change agent roles that add value to the organizations we serve. …

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