HKIHRM 2015: Organisations should develop more talent from within

Author: Liana Cafolla | Date: 02 Dec 2015

’Diversity helps the pie grow bigger’, says Boston Consulting Group’s Fang Ruan

If you want a bigger impact from your HR team, focus on three key challenges: connecting, prioritising and creating impact.
That’s the advice of Boston Consulting Group principal, Fang Ruan. At the Hong Kong Institute of Human Resource Management (HKIHRM) conference, she said that the stock price performance of members of Fortune’s 100 Best Companies to Work For in 2014 with high performing HR departments was “much, much better” than the rest. After sifting through data and surveys from those companies, she narrowed the field of priorities for HR teams who want to emulate them to just three key areas.
HR professionals tend to be overly optimistic about the team’s connection capabilities compared to other departments. That points to a perception gap, said Fang. HR needs to plug this by engaging better with internal and external stakeholders, especially when developing its strategy. Closely connecting HR strategy to the organisation’s business strategy will help the team pinpoint which capabilities are needed, what type of people are needed, what talent needs to be recruited, developed and retained, and which key performance indicators (KPIs) to use.
Fang, who is based in Hong Kong, identified a strong correlation between HR that is strategically focused and the use of quantitative tools. “High-performing companies are more data-driven,” she said.
If you want your HR team to reach the strategic level, consider using a quantitative analysis tool for workforce planning to identify job clusters, current HR resources, future needs, gaps and risk, as well as challenging demand predictions, defining HR measures and establishing processes, she suggested.
HR is a juggling act, and professionals need to decide how they can best leverage their limited resources. Use strong analytical tools, advised Fang, and focus on social media. Keeping an eye on popular career sites such as LinkedIn is a no-brainer for HR professionals, but it can be used more strategically. If your people are spending increasing amounts of time updating their profiles, this can be a signal to HR that employees may want to leave, and helps identify organisational areas that might need to change, such as culture.
Creating impact
In seeking to make an impact, organisations need to ask whether they are growing their own talent, buying it from other organisations or outsourcing it. Instead of engaging in talent wars, HR should focus on building talent through diversity and development, said Fang.
Key ways for HR to make an impact on the organisation lie in talent management and pipeline development, including leadership, succession planning and working culture. A focus on succession planning is especially important in China, where there are many family businesses which need to transition from one generation to another while maintaining their core values.
Diversity is very important for Asian companies, at board level and right through to the shop floor. They tend to stay closely knit within one ethnic group because of the traditions of Asian culture, said Fang. But that is not the best path for growth: “Diversity really helps the pie grow bigger,” she said.