Aug 30, 2007

HR Talent Shortage

Well, I was quoted in the Economic Times' Mumbai edition yesterday saying the talent shortage in HR (blogged earlier here here and here) is not an unsurmountable problem. The article was written by Ambika Naithani and called "For HR talent shortage is a personnel problem" :-)

As the HR function develops more and more specialisation, there will be specialised skills needed for the various sub-functions of HR. More and more specialists are choosing career paths that don't go anywhere near generalist functions. Today's HR talent crunch is about the shortage of specialist skills like recruitment, training and compensation expertise. So the solution is to hire people with specialised skills and develop them as HR experts.

After a reader read the article he sent an e-mail saying:

But then how HR professionals must improve their skills so that they can create and maintain their demand in market?
What are the core HR skills and functional/business skills? We can acquire core HR skills once but how to acquire different business skills as we can work in any kind of business/industry?
What is the future of HR?

To answer that question, I'll merely point to the comment on my previous post that one of India's stalwart OD consultants, Sushanta Banerjee had made:

HR texts (mostly set in the american context) offer action solutions but fields such as org theory and the basic social or behavioural sciences are rarely tapped by the HR professional. we all say knowledge is power, how does the HR community use this for itself ? secondly, while HR keeps organising and managing developmental work for others in the organisations, i have come across very few that do the same for themselves. I believe that HR ought to be the holders of valid and uptodate knowledge,understanding of people and collective processes which it must deploy for the good of the organisation including the people,as individuals as well as a community. this will however require HR to powerfully deploy its audit as well as advisory roles.focussing merely on managing systems is not enough,it will inevitably lead to a sense of low power.

That's true. HR professional hardly ever "develop" themselves. The skills that are lacking in most HR professionals (and that they hardly ever invest time in developing) are coaching and facilitating skills and consulting skills.

Update: Interview in the Hindu Business Line of Dr. Madhukar Shukla Professor, OB and Strategic Management and Chairperson, Alumni and External Linkages, XLRI on similar topics.

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