The State of Human Capital 2012: Why the Human Capital Function Still Has Far to Go

By Abel, Amy Lui; Mitchell, Charles et al. | People & Strategy, March 2013 | Go to article overview

The State of Human Capital 2012: Why the Human Capital Function Still Has Far to Go


Abel, Amy Lui, Mitchell, Charles, Phillips, Patti, Ray, Rebecca L., Hancock, Bryan, Lawson, Emily, Watson, Allison, Weddle, Brooke, People & Strategy


Worldwide, and in organizations of every type, "people processes" are failing to keep pace with a changing business landscape.

For human capital (HC) professionals everywhere, the new operating environment can be daunting. They must cope with the uneven pace of global economic growth; the explosion of local, national and international regulations; continuously evolving technology; new and unpredictable sources of competition; and a geographic and skills mismatch that finds many talented workers far from the job openings they are best suited to fill.

Compounding these difficulties, fiscal stalemate in the United States and persistent economic uncertainty in Europe are prompting business leaders to crimp expansion plans, cut spending and hold off on hiring. (1)

At the same time, long-standing obstacles to HC are still firmly in place. The talent shortage has not diminished: projections show that, in the United States alone, the 2020 job market will have 1.5 million fewer college graduates than are needed. (2) HC leaders still battle entrenched issues such as the "glass ceiling" for women. Some barriers seem higher and more immovable than ever, including keeping employees engaged in an environment of constant distraction, free-flowing information and increasingly heavy workloads.

Meanwhile, HC professionals are coming under unprecedented pressure to be innovative, to be strategic and to implement their programs and initiatives more efficiently. Indeed, CEOs around the world identify human capital as their number one challenge, according to the 2013 edition of The Conference Board CEO Challenge survey. Despite making strong progress in many areas--HR-related technology, workforce diversity and global focus--a 2012 report by McKinsey & Company and The Conference Board, The State of Human Capital, shows the human capital function still has a long way to go before it can claim complete relevance as a strategic business partner. In fact, business unit leaders give the HC function higher scores for transactional affairs than for more complex and value-added responsibilities like strategic planning and staff development (Exhibit 1).

This report also reveals that there is little innovation and a distinct lack of confidence within the HC function, as well as little correlation between implemented programs and impact. Few HC leaders have time to develop the innovation and strategic planning skills needed, and, even if they have a plan of attack, many lack the budget and resources to implement the necessary changes. When asked about taking action, 58 percent of HC professionals are taking action on priority items, but only 35 percent believe they are doing anything innovative and slightly less than one-third have high confidence that their actions will have the impact they desire (Exhibit 2).

In addition to a comprehensive literature review, The State of Human Capital 2012 is based on a survey of more than 500 HC professionals worldwide and insights gained from 18 focus groups consisting of more than 175 HC professionals who are members of The Conference Board Councils. The report identifies the following as critical issues holding back the progress of the human capital function:

* Human capital professionals are still unable to confidently and assertively solve business issues with line leaders.

* Many human capital departments still have a support function mindset and cannot convincingly communicate the value of their function as a strategic business partner.

* A lack of data, or access to data, prevents many human capital practitioners from relating the ROI or business impact of their function.

* A crisis of confidence in the function is leading to a lack of faith in the ability to execute the necessary changes.

With these issues in mind, The Conference Board and McKinsey & Company joined forces to help HC professionals understand and implement the necessary changes. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

The State of Human Capital 2012: Why the Human Capital Function Still Has Far to Go
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.