While I scoffed a bit at this summer’s HBR Cover story because it started with the stale mantra of “HR needs a seat at the leadership table,” I do want to draw attention to one of the more interesting points in the article, which focused on the need for organizations to be flexible around their human capital:
Responding to the external environment today sometimes requires leaders with capabilities that weren’t previously cultivated, such as knowledge of algorithms, or psychological comfort with digitization and rapid change. The company might have such talent buried at low levels. To have impact, those individuals might need to be lifted three organizational levels at once rather than moved incrementally up existing career ladders. The CHRO should be searching for people who could be future value creators and then thinking imaginatively about how to release their talent.
You would expect a good leader to pull financial resources away from decaying programs and invest heavily in the future, right? So why not with people? I see this as an opportunity to gain tremendous competitive advantage. The organizations that can get really clear on what drives value inside their company and can then align talent with that will not only see basic performance results, but are likely to see “best place to work” engagement scores as well.