The Global HR Transformation 2009 Report crossed my path earlier today. And, as ever with such reports, you need to be cautious.The report was commissioned by the HROA, which has a membership of some 75,000 HR executives and professionals, yet included input from only 188 organisations. So there is a great danger of it having an unwarranted credibility and unmerited influence. Nevertheless, it makes for some interesting reading.
One amazing dichotomy is the report claims transformation generally generates savings in the 25% range. Yet 40% of those who indicated they would not be undertaking HR transformation cited cost as a major factor in their decision. Given the savings were only marginally below what was anticipated, such conservatism seems extremely short-sighted. Certainly it suggests the HR profession has a way to go in understanding the concept of value.
More alarming and perhaps even indicative of an ostrich head-in-the-sand attitude is that 29% claimed "HR simply isn't enough of a priority to merit transformation effort." In the current economic climate this seems remarkable.
One interesting finding was that HR transformation efforts appear to have the greatest impact on organisational management issues, rather than what organisations say are the key reasons to transform: reducing/managing cost and freeing internal HR staff to focus more on strategic issues.
You can only wonder then about what precisely this impact is, and whether it is positive or negative. After all, the continuing decline in employee engagement suggests management issues are increasing rather than decreasing.
For people like us trying to transform the workplace, the report appears to have a number of conflicting messages and leaves us more confused than ever. To get over this you need to remember that transformation is another word for change and you are well aware significant, lasting and effective change requires people to be:-
- willing to change
- able to change
- not prevented from changing
All too often the things that prevent change are systemic. Despite your best efforts to instigate change your success has been limited. Maybe that's because you have been focusing on symptoms rather than causes. It is time to stop looking at specifics and focus on the system.