Study: HR Suffering from Growing Pains

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<p><strong>St. Petersburg, Fla. &mdash; Aug. 23</strong><br />Today&rsquo;s emphasis on business expansion is creating &ldquo;growing pains&rdquo; for many HR professionals, according to a recent study conducted by the Human Resource Planning Society (HRPS) in partnership with the Institute for Corporate Productivity (i4cp). </p><p>The study found two-thirds of respondents say HR is not reacting fast enough to the strategic challenges related to organizational growth, and about the same percentage say the emphasis on growth in their organizations is changing the meaning of &ldquo;strategic HR.&rdquo;<br /><br />&ldquo;It can be hard for HR to keep up in high-growth companies,&rdquo; said Jay Jamrog, i4cp senior vice president of research. &ldquo;Those firms are not only scrambling for the talent they need to keep growing &mdash; they tend to have a strong focus on issues such as meeting customer needs, delivering quality products and staying innovative. </p><p>”A lot of HR pros don&rsquo;t have much expertise in these areas. It requires a different kind of strategic HR to help drive growth.&rdquo;<br /><br />Indeed, the study found senior HR leaders are struggling to play a key role in their organizations&rsquo; growth strategies. </p><p>Thirty-three percent of respondents said those leaders were &ldquo;on the sideline,&rdquo; contributing instead in spot roles such as talent acquisition and integration. </p><p>Another 10 percent said HR leaders weren&rsquo;t involved at all in growth strategy, and 22 percent said HR&rsquo;s overall role is &ldquo;below the executive-team level.&rdquo;<br /><br />Not all HR functions feel stymied in this area, however &mdash; about a fifth of respondents said senior HR leaders are indeed critical members of the executive team, and 16 percent said HR plays a key role in promoting organizational growth in their companies.<br /><br />&ldquo;Even though they are in the minority, these are the HR professionals who are probably the true business partners,&rdquo; Jamrog said. &ldquo;They understand the executive point of view and know what it takes to help their companies grow. But even if they&rsquo;re not represented on the executive team, HR can provide a crucial supporting role to leaders who are focused on growth.&rdquo;<br /><br />When asked what HR needs to do to &ldquo;retool&rdquo; and become more effective in growth situations, 68 percent of respondents pointed to the development of programs to help leaders get better at growing their organizations. </p><p>Another commonly cited strategy was &ldquo;designing and staffing the growth-related organization,&rdquo; and a third strategy was helping organizational leaders to &ldquo;frame&rdquo; the growth challenge.<br /><br />&ldquo;The survey data strongly suggests that, in addition to talent acquisition and leadership development targeted to growth, HR leaders must dramatically increase their external focus &mdash; on markets, customers and new ways to serve them &mdash; if they are going to be strategic players going forward,&rdquo; said Ed Gubman, HRPS special issue editor.<br /><br />The “HR&rsquo;s Role in Organizational Growth” survey was conducted by HRPS, in conjunction with i4cp, in June and July 2007.</p>

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