Talent management most neglected after 18 years of Ulrich model

CIPD: “Insufficient talent acumen limits commercial opportunities for majority of big firms. #ulrich  #talent  #cipd
Only 17 per cent of organisations claim to have a good, integrated talent process and dedicated talent specialists in all disciplines, according to research from business advisory group Orion Partners.

The vast majority (95 per cent) of employers described their HR operations as ‘good’ or ‘acceptable’ but only a third made similar claims for their talent processes.

The survey of senior HR professionals from more than 40 large organisations, representing 2.5 million employees, was commissioned to mark the 18th anniversary of the influential Human Resources Champions published by David Ulrich in 1996.

Results suggest that while significant progress has been made in the improvement of HR operations since Ulrich’s theories, including the implementation of shared services and the deployment of supporting technology, the area of talent management has been neglected over the years, with negative consequences for the bottom line.

More than four fifths of the HR professionals surveyed said their organisations were missing out on commercial activities from talent management, with 53 per cent admitting there were plenty of opportunities left to explore.

The advisory group suggested now is the time to invest in integrated talent processes, the employment of talent specialists and talent technology solutions that “will ensure that HR continues to build on the early success of HR transformation”.

“Eighteen years on, there is plenty of evidence that his [Ulrich’s] theories have had a positive effect on HR operations,” said Allan Boroughs, partner at Orion and report author.

“All the basic indicators of HR efficiency, capability and commercial focus show a positive direction of travel. However, this is not the whole story.

“The evidence is that these achievements have been made at the expense of real progress in the talent management arena,” he said.

Boroughs suggests that organisations need to “secure and manage their supply of key skills” to make the most of commercial activity and achieve growth.

The report confirms that current methods of HR transformation are being adopted at the expense of talent management, with shared services and technology often consuming “a disproportionate amount of the budget”.

“The value of HR lies in more than just reducing its own administrative costs. True commercial value comes from raising capability levels in HR and developing services that deliver the skills the organisation needs to meet new growth opportunities and expand in new markets,” Boroughs said.

While he recognised the positive influence Ulrich’s model has had over the past 18 years, he called for HR professionals to better “shift their attention away from ‘administrative excellence’ and towards talent management,” to have the greatest impact on the bottom line.

“Efficient and effective HR operations are a critical first move in being taken seriously and achieving that elusive ‘seat at the table’, but they are only a first step,” he said.

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