But First, a Critical Business Challenge

I read Marcus Mossberger’s article, 3 Ways for HR to Disrupt Itself. Now., with great interest, as it implies the urgent need for HR transformation. I spend a fair amount of my time with both senior line executives and HR leaders, and I would agree with the need [for transformation] expressed by both [groups]. It is interesting, however, that there are differences. The line leaders are looking for help solving their business challenges. The HR leaders are busy looking for ways to improve their function with a myriad of tools and initiatives. It is clear from the growing frustration the two don’t line up.

A fourth suggestion to those already mentioned: Start with the critical business challenges first, then look at the HR functional capability to deliver real, measurable business results versus HR outcomes.

For example, talent acquisition is all the rage today, as the war of talent confronts us. The processes that facilitate improvement here are essential, but they are not a business outcome—just as a new receivables system is not an outcome to a finance department. They are both expected and table stakes for capable leaders in both functions.

So, with all the tools we have today, how can they enable successful disruption? Data analytics, when positioned to solve business challenges, holds the greatest opportunity, from my perspective. Using these tools/capabilities to predict business outcomes and transform teams to exceed the original goals accomplishes two key things. First, it enables line leaders to meet the core business objectives that executive staff and boards spend a majority of their time on. Second, it provides a vehicle to tightly link many of the traditional HR functions into drivers of business outcome versus HR goals, unlike anything before. Imagine tools the HR function could have that predict and drive new-product acceleration and acquisition success at levels unheard of today—or enable corporate transformation with the greatest success and least disruption.

Gene Tange
Pleasanton, Calif.

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