09: The Future of HR

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Ian Ziskin Gives Us a Preview of Tomorrow’s HR Function
Ian Ziskin is President of EXec EXcel Group LLC, a human capital coaching and consulting firm he founded in 2010. Ian’s global leadership experience includes serving as CHRO in Northrop Grumman, Qwest Communications and TRW. He has written two books: THREE: The Human Resources Emerging Executive and Willbe: 13 Reasons WillBe’s are Luckier than WannaBe’s. He’s a contributing author to The Rise of HR: Wisdom from 73 Thought Leaders. Ian is a current and past board member of multiple boards and executive committees, including USC’s Marshall School of Business corporate advisory board, Vice Chairman, HR Policy Association; Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies at Cornell University; Personnel Round Table; and Human Resources People & Strategy. He is a founding member of HR50 and CHRO/Board Academy.

Key Learnings From This Episode

  • Talent: Talent means pulling out someone’s true potential and tapping into that. How do you find it? How do you nurture it and how do you bring out the best in it? It being whatever it is that makes a particular person special and unique. See Talent Merriam-Webster.
  • THREE: The Human Resources Emerging Executive. This book is essential reading for aspiring HR leaders. The idea and motivation came from Ian’s reflection on the work he has done in his 34 year career and the changes taking place in business and the workplace. He spent a lot of time focusing on the implications of these changes for HR leaders.
  • Pulse Checks: The book includes a number of topical areas that HR professionals tend to make more complicated than they should be. The idea is to first do a little self-reflection and self-assessment on what your current comfort level and capability might be around each of these areas. Then as you go through the book itself you can pay more attention to certain topics and chapters that might have more relevance for you.
  • Future of HR: When you think about what’s happening over the next ten years it’s hard to see around corners and predict what’s going to happen. But you can make some educated guesses based on things that are beginning to emerge and have happened over the past few years and are happening currently.

Themes in HR:

  • Shift from hero leadership to collective leadership: Fundamentally this has been about companies starting to move away from being highly dependent on individual leaders and moving more toward the concept of collective leadership. This is where companies invest time and money helping leaders understand what is expected of them as a leader and making the experience that the average employee has inside the company a bit more even in quality.
  • Intellectual property shifting to agile co-creativity: Historically in organizations there have been people or specific functions (E.g. R&D) almost singularly responsible for innovation and creativity inside their organizations. What we see happening over the next 10 years is more of an agile co-creativity scenario where almost anybody inside of your organization can contribute to innovation and driving transformational change through new ideas (outside of their current roles and organizational boundaries).
  • Application of marketing related principles to solving people related problems: This has to do with the shift from employment value proposition to personal value proposition. Making an organization an attractive employer at the macro, as well as individual level. 
  • Shift from sameness to segmentation: Most HR leaders have been taught one of their most important roles is to preserve fairness in the organization. While fairness is a great concept, taken to the extreme it starts to look like sameness. This is not a good business strategy when it comes to trying to drive performance and to put a fair amount of attention on the people and talent most important to your business success.
  • Key to sustainability: A lot of the work on the project was done during the height of the economic downturn. People inside organizations were exhausted and being asked to do more with less. Many of their colleagues had been laid off as organizations were streamlining to recover from the economic downturn. Environmental sustainability initiatives and HR’s contribution to sustainability emerged out of this time.
  • Persuasion to education: HR needed to shift its emphasis from persuading people through relationships; credibility and passion to our way of thinking; and support for initiatives and investments we think are important towards educational approaches. Namely, building a compelling business case based on analytics and business insights.
  • Nine HR Trends:
  1. Big Data
  2. Gamification
  3. Generational Diversity
  4. Globalization
  5. Mass Customization
  6. Open Innovation
  7. Personal Technology in the Workplace
  8. Social Media
  9. Sustainability
  • Talent development: Ready now vs. ready able – ability to adapt, orchestrate and make changes. Bring people from a variety of disciplines to solve complex problems and putting together talented teams.
  • Leadership development is becoming more collaborative across organizations: High potentials usually do not know the external factors occurring outside their company and/or industry. Cultivating a network and relationships is essential to be exposed to what’s happening in the external environment. HR professionals need to develop skills in staying abreast of the forces of change and external business environment to drive human capital strategy.
  • Honor HR HeRoes: Ian wrote HR HeRoes to thank peers and colleagues for their inspiration. HR professionals are asked to do tough things that no one else wants to do, with little recognition. The song honors HR professionals for all they do. Ian was asked to perform this song at an HR conference.

“HR leaders need to be like orchestra conductors. They need to bring together talent from multiple disciplines to solve complex organizational issues.”

Recommended Reading and References From this Episode

To Follow Ian Ziskin

Ian's Question to HR Studio Podcast Group Members

What do you think HR leaders will need to be better at than ever before to be relevant over the next ten years?
Ian Ziskin HR Studio Podcast Show Notes
Ian Ziskin HR Studio Podcast Show Notes
Monday, July 11, 2016 - 8:00am
Kyle O'Connor
Ian Ziskin
HR Studio Podcast