Who owns organizational effectiveness?

As noted in a prior blog post, boards largely view their companies as failing on talent development. Might there be a talent development ownership vacuum?

HR is largely seen as, and functions as, an administrative, not strategic, player. CEOs and senior leaders recognize talent is an area where they need help—and they often look to HR for help. This creates an opportunity for HR leaders to assert themselves as more strategic players in the talent game.

Edward Lawler is an organizational effectiveness expert. In researching for his recently published book called Effective Human Resource Management: A Global Analysis, he found that increasingly what makes organizations effective is how they staff and manage their people. Modern companies are ever more dependent on complexity, and it takes knowledgeable people to manage this complexity. Lawler found that when HR spends more time acting as a strategic, rather than merely an administrative, business partner, companies perform better and more effectively implement strategic change.

Shrewd executives and boards will see that changing demands on talent and talent retention require changing the role of HR. They will see that HR’s main function doesn’t stop at just recruiting and securing talent, but needs to extend to training and developing talent. Shrewd HR leaders will rise to the challenge—or even proactively seek it.

Lawler believes that HR’s best route to becoming a strategic business partner is through cultivating a focus on talent and its procurement, development, retention, and motivation. “It’s not a matter of just being a provider of good talent,” Lawler says. “It is a matter of identifying the critical talent that makes a difference between the organization being effective and not so effective. If HR can identify key talent areas and provide coherent, well-developed plans for obtaining, developing, and managing critical talent, it has opened the door to being a major strategic player, with respect to organizational effectiveness.”

Who owns organizational effectiveness? All too often, no one, to the detriment of the entire company. But HR has an opportunity to assert that ownership to the benefit of the entire company.

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