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“The Talent Decade”: Using Data to Build Better Human Resources Systems

New Conference Board of Canada research shows that Canadian Organizations are heavily investing dollars and energy into their HR functions in the emerging "Talent Decade."

Ottawa, May 12, 2014 – New Conference Board of Canada research shows that Canadian Organizations are heavily investing dollars and energy into their HR functions in the emerging "Talent Decade."  During this time, strategic factors such as demographics, labour markets and productivity are converging to elevate the importance of talent even further. In this dynamic business environment, it is talent management that will create sustainable competitive advantage.

During the Talent Decade, organizations will also need to ensure that their HR function is building effective talent systems and measurement tools that support strategic business decisions and strengthen workforce capacity.

Organizations that effectively exploit knowledge of data and analytics will have the capability to drive better business decisions. However, findings in, Human Resources Trends and Metrics: HR Function Benchmarking, Third Edition reveal that Canadian organizations are only starting to build this capability, and less than a quarter of Canadian organizations use human capital performance dashboards or scorecards.

"In the emerging Talent Decade, aligned and integrated HR programs, policies, and systems that find, develop, and deploy the right talent will be the key differentiator between successful organizations and their less successful counterparts. An HR measurement strategy is needed to demonstrate that the HR function is getting this right. A comprehensive HR measurement strategy therefore includes measuring the relationship between HR programs and service delivery and improved organizational performance" said Ian Cullwick, Vice-President, Leadership and Human Resources Research.

Despite the elevated importance of strategic alignment between the business and the HR function, the research also shows that 48 per cent of organizations describe the nature of their HR strategy as “traditional HR management” with a focus on core HR program activity. Many boards of directors continue to see the HR function in this light and are seeking assistance most often in the areas of compensation and rewards, rather than higher value HR strategies.

Emerging trends in the Third Edition include:

  • Public sector organizations are more likely than private sector employers to have undertaken an HR transformation in the last five years.
  • One third of organizations measure internal client satisfaction with the HR function.
  • Organizations with moderate amounts of outsourced HR business processes are more satisfied than organizations with either very high or very low levels of outsourcing.
  • Canadian organizations are less likely than their U.S. counterparts to have IT-based HR processes.
  • Human resources information technology is used chiefly for transactional activities like viewing pay stubs and updating personal information.

Human Resources Trends and Metrics: HR Function Benchmarking, Third Edition provides human resources and business leaders with detailed and comprehensive benchmark findings and insights relating to the role of the HR function. The data are presented in the context of HR strategic considerations, the changing role of the HR function itself, and human resources and labour market trends.

Data presented in the report include metrics relating to: HR strategy, governance, and transformation; HR client satisfaction; shared services and outsourcing; service delivery and cost metrics; HR information systems and technology; and HR competencies.

The Conference Board of Canada first launched its HR Trends and Metrics survey in 2005. This report presents the results and findings of the third edition of this survey. The data presented are based on The Conference Board of Canada’s 2013 HR Trends and Metrics survey, with supplemental data from the University of Southern California’s Center for Effective Organizations’ HR Global study led by Ed Lawler and John Boudreau.

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