Improving HR Competencies – AmCham-China HR Conference

I was a panelist yesterday the at the AmCham 11th Annual HR Conference in Beijing.  The theme was “China HR in 2015:  How the HR Function is Transforming itself for the Future.”

We saw insightful and lively clip_image001discussions during the conference.  To begin, during the CEO Dialogue session, Michael Barbalas, President, Goodrich China asked that HR to have an opinion and be able to tell senior business leaders when they are wrong.  He illustrated that it takes a board of directors to approve capital expenditure but, only a single signature to hire a senior leader running a million dollar business.  However, he also suggests that capital equipment decline value over time but, human capital increases in value.

Next up was Piotr Bednarczuk, Practice Leader, HR Effectiveness and Corporate Transactions and Transformation, Hewitt.  His topics was on HR transformation in China and how HR departments are restructuring HR delivery model.  Piotr asked us to consider in David Ulrich’s book, “Human Resource Champions,” the idea of the multiple roles of HR as administrative experts, strategic partner and change agents.  Where is the nature of HR today in China?  Some 14 years later, HR are still working on those issues when Ulrich’s book was first published in 1996.

The facilitator for our break-out session, “HR Function Competencies”, was Daisy Dai, Greater China HR Director, Accenture.  The two other panelist was Lilian Li, Asia Pacific Strategic Talent Manager, Caterpillar and Daryl Burgess, Director, Global Accounts, Sandler Training.  Our panel discussion focused on the new competencies requirements that are being asked of HR personnel.  We talked about ways HR can develop competencies in its staff.

In order for Daisy’s staffing team to gain business acumen insight into the role of a consultant, she requires her recruiters to spend a day shadowing consultants to better understand the nature of their work.  This helps her staff with insight to better recruit.

I suggested that HR invests more in recruiting.  In my experience, the recruiting staff are considered junior members of HR.  Can you imagine a junior staff recruiting senior or key roles for an organization.  I struggled to find skilled recruiters who with strong business acumen and strategic mindset with abilities to influence business leaders.

Daryl suggests that passion is a critical personal attribute.  The inner drive is enables performance and success.  HR managers need to identify those qualities in an individual in order to motivate their teams.

Lilian shared ideas of workforce planning and training framework from Caterpillar.  Setting up structured training allows for a systematic and consistent approach to development.  All of us in the HR community is responsible for finding solutions to be more effective business partners to our business leaders.

Macro-economic issues are driving in how HR manager work with business leaders on strategies.  Recently, we saw a spat of workplace suicides.  Strikes are becoming an issue and how workers deal with grievances.  Competition for labor and spiraling wage hikes will continue to plague HR for new approaches to attract and retain.  Workforce engagement and leadership development are perennial issues requiring new and innovative ideas from the HR community.

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