Profession Building Leaders
Smart senior executives are insisting that their
human resource professionals partner with them in the strategic
decisions that will drive the future of their organizations. This
demand places significant responsibility on human resource specialists,
challenging their knowledge, capabilities, and career opportunities.
Faced with these new challenges, these specialists
are turning to their professional association, the Society for Human
Resource Management (SHRM).
These people are stretched far beyond the compliance
and keep-everybody-happy tasks, especially when you consider that
the majority of the 170,000 members of SHRM work at facilities with
fewer than 2,500 employees. With all the laws, regulations, and
now strategic issues, human resource specialists are under siege.
Their role is shifting around them; they don't know if they're standing
on sand dunes or quicksand.
In past Herman Trend Alerts, we forecasted that
human resource professionals who can perform at senior executive
levels will be in high demand. A small, but respectable, percentage
of professionals is heeding the call. SHRM leaders are setting the
pace through partnerships with prominent business schools, including
Cornell and Harvard; an academy to provide education in Finance,
Marketing and Strategy; and instruction on how to measure the value
of human capital.
In spite of these advances, a dangerously large
proportion of human resource professionals will grow, but not to
the level where executives need them to perform. They won't collide
with a glass ceiling-to bounce off or smash through. This lower
ceiling, Business Literacy, is softer---like a cloud. These people
drifting in a fog won't know what they don't know…unless their
senior executives coach and mentor them.
While it would be easy to charge the human resource
profession with inadequate growth, a substantial portion of the
responsibility lies with corporate senior leaders. If they want
highly competent human resource executives by their side, these
leaders must let go of old perceptions of "personnel"
and embrace strategic people strategies.
Development of the human resource profession cannot
be done entirely from inside; senior colleagues of these professionals
must share in their development. Now. Internationally. SHRM already
has over 2000 international members…growing.