Zurich : Lunch & Learn

16 Nov 2011

The Evolving Competencies of HR Leaders

Ellie Filler
Senior Client Partner and Managing Partner Human Resources Practice at Korn/Ferry

Ellie Filler kicked off a lively and thought provoking interactive session by throwing out some observations, facts and comments to the 45 IHRC members in attendance. She stated HR is more important now than it’s ever been, roles are changing fast, there is increased complexity and ambiguity.

She identified current trends, what’s expected of HR today and findings of recent studies. She stated the perception of the HR function is not great and that things don’t seem to be getting much better. She defined the specific talents CEOs are looking for to achieve a strong HR.

IHRC members then divided into four groups to answer the question – Do you as individuals in organizations today find you are using new and different skills to be successful? Participants responded that success today requires an understanding of the business including sales and marketing aspects; involvement in the due diligence process and strategic directions with mergers and acquisitions; and skills needed for managing change. Another group described this as being able to apply knowledge in different ways. Individual self-awareness, an increased need to inspire others and provide credible HR advice were also identified as key skills in today’s environment.

The second question posed to the audience for discussion – What are topics that boards are asking of global HR vs. the topics being asked by the business managers? The groups summarized the difference as boards and CEOs are looking for a broader vision – strategic issues, reputational aspects, organizational development, target setting, effectiveness. While business and line managers are more focused on immediate and operational needs – workforce planning, efficiency, competitiveness, compliance, ‘get it done.’ Ms. Filler stated the HR roles relative to the CEO and Line managers require the same skills but a different perspective.

Ellie was asked to share her thoughts on the skills the “perfect” HR leader would possess. While commenting different situations require different skills; possessing agilities – she stated that a strong sense of leadership and driving what the business needs are critical.

The audience was also left with a question – What is HR in my organization, who am I and how do I fit?

Text by Mary Bronson/IHRC Support Team
Photos by James Macsay/IHRC Support Team