Leading Innovation = The HR Differentiator



By, Cari Desiderio

I am reading through Deloitte’s 2015 report on global Human Capital Trends.  One of the best reads this year.  It is a steady reminder that our profession of HR is changing.  HR is truly shifting into two categories. The first is the migration of basic compliance and transaction tasks to shared services, outsourcing and administrative management vehicles.  The balance of tasks then become what one may call true HR strategy.  In a way, we must move into a more mainstream business mindset to survive the HR shift.

What corporations need more than anything, are good HR Strategists to advise and lead optimized human capital performance.  Deloitte’s in depth report, which I recommend be read by any leader in business today, focuses on four key areas: leading, engaging, reimagining and reinventing (http://www2.deloitte.com/us/en/pages/human-capital/articles/introduction-human-capital-trends.html ).

The reimagining and reinventing in particular hits home for me as a manufacturing business professional.  A couple years back I wrote about the skill gap in our field, estimated as 600,000 unfilled jobs in manufacturing due to lack of skilled workers. A new study says that by 2025 we will have as many as two million unfilled positions due to lack of skilled worked (http://dupress.com/articles/manufacturing-skills-gap-america/ ). This is certainly shop roles, but also a great shortfall of creative, engineering, R&D and new product development talent.  Harvard and MIT research has made the case that a nation’s ability to compete with complex and successful manufacturing products is a lynchpin predictor of long term economic success of the nation (http://dupress.com/articles/manufacturing-skills-gap-america/ ). Not a minor issue.

Now certainly  the need to innovate and drive engagement towards this end is a transcendent issue in every business. Businesses rise and fall on the backs of great ideas and innovative products.

As HR practitioners, I think we need to shift gears.  Upskill ourselves by staying in tune with business climates, best practice ways to coach our leaders and best practice ways to attract and engage great talent. This includes a considerable more focus on learning and development of our employees to equip them to be able to reimagine, innovate and invent new ideas to bring our corporations to next level. Doing this requires dynamic leadership at the top.  The best spent time of an HR practitioner, is the study of leadership principles and the study of how to become very effective executive coaches.

Maybe it’s time to change our name?  Human Resources is not a bad term, but it is not reflective of the high bar calling we now have.

To be effective change agents in the competitive business climate we find ourselves in, we need to up our game and become true leader and human engagers.

Perhaps a good resolution for 2016 – time to upskill and step up to the challenge of becoming the leaders we know we can be!


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