Cornell University

Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies

193 Ives Faculty Building, 607-255-9358

2006 White Paper Collections

Spring 2006 CAHRS Partner Conference: The Talent Management Challenge

Succession Planning and Identifying High Potential Talent

The potential labor shortage of skilled workers and the creation of a more complex and diverse employment profile forces companies to try to insulate themselves from the “war for talent” by identifying and developing their next generation of leaders. The upcoming challenge is how to effectively address the issues of high potential employees and succession planning and how to do it better than the competition. This paper discusses three major areas that are integral in maximizing the potential of internal talent: by fostering a talent management culture, identifying a high potential (HIPO) talent pool accurately, and defining a successful succession planning system.

Developing Leaders and Leadership

As in any war, strong leadership often separates the winners from the losers.  The “war for talent” is no different, and as the battleground intensifies, organizations must ensure that they have the right people in place to face competitors.  These leaders do not arrive heroically through the back door, but are rather developed throughout their careers so that they may one day lead the troops.  The challenge lies in developing leaders, ensuring that they are attracted, identified, engaged and retained within an organization.  Various developmental tools exist to encourage these actions, with specific methods used at different career stages.

Employment Brand: The Core of the Employment Relationship

The modern employment paradigm has been shaped by three interconnected phenomena. First, demographic shifts in developed countries—due to large, aging populations—have reshuffled the labor market equation, creating skill shortages and, in turn, reallocating power to job seekers (Towers Perrin, 2006). Second, attitudes towards employment have changed; employers are increasingly leveraging alternative work relationships such as off-shoring, outsourcing, and the use of contingent workers, while individuals—as work loads increase and hours creep into what was previously personal time—start to demand more from their employment relationship than merely compensation (Tattanelli, 2006; Collins, 2001). Third, firms have streamlined processes and outsourced lower value-added work, thus leaving people even more critical to corporate success (Hepburn, 2005). As a result of these structural changes, employers (and specifically the human resource function) must excel at securing the organizational capability necessary to execute their strategic agendas. This paper will address what research has found to be a consistent answer to that challenge—a compelling employment brand.

The Implications of Growth on Talent Management

As the age of cost-cutting and down-sizing comes to a close, companies are now at financially healthy positions to start taking advantage of the new opportunities that globalization has made available.  Leaders have turned their focus to growth, but the current skills and capabilities of their talent are not able to meet the demands for growth, innovation and competitiveness in the new market.  HR has a critical role in supporting the growth initiatives of the business by ensuring the retention and acquisition of top talent.  However, HR is in an extremely difficult position as external factors work together to create huge barriers in finding and keeping top talent at any one organization.  The pressures of an upcoming labor shortage, a transition in empowerment from employer to employee in the labor market, a retiring baby-boomer generation, and a steady decline in skills available in the U.S. marketplace will force HR professionals to very quickly, strategically, and creatively manage their talent. This paper will discuss these issues in detail as well as the strategies used to manage one of the biggest impediments to sustainable growth, talent management.

Fall 2006 CAHRS Partner Conference: Global HR Best Practices—Maximizing Innovation, Effectiveness and Efficiency in HR

Global Applicability of HR Practices

As corporations continually expand across an increasingly global business environment, they strive to find new and ever more effective ways through which they can improve their competitive positions. In recent years, the relentless march of globalization and technical advance has begun to threaten, and, in some cases, whittle away many of the sources of competitive advantage that drive firm performance. As a result, MNCs have come to view their employees—as well as the human resources systems and practices that support them—as an essential component of securing sustainable competitive advantage.

The question then that has occupied many researchers and practitioners alike is how sustainable competitive advantage can be gleaned from a workforce characterized by sometimes vastly differing contextual contingencies. Any attempt to find resolution invariably leads to at least an implicit debate about whether HR practices can be generalized across all contingencies based on a “common logic of industrialism” (McGaughey & De Cieri, 1999) or whether these contingencies—e.g., culture, institutional structures, education levels, etc.—necessitate a formulation of HR policy and practice that is unique to the environment in which it is implemented. This paper aims to analyze the key determinants of HR applicability and effectiveness on a global scale and argues that many factors limiting global HR practice diffusion can be overcome through the effective management of organizational culture.

Global HR Information Systems

Introducing new technology into the workplace presents both opportunities and challenges.  HR Information Systems (HRIS) have the potential to transform HR into a more efficient and strategic function by allowing HR to move beyond simple administrative tasks to strategic applications (Palframan, 2002). However, while HRIS are the norm rather than the exception in national organizations, HR has not transformed. Globalization is forcing HR to expand its horizons, perspectives and use of technology.  This has lead to the introduction of global HRIS in a number of multinational organizations and different HRIS opportunities and challenges have emerged. This paper will address several of the new opportunities and challenges using recent company examples where possible and takes a quick look at the possible transformation of HR given global HRIS.

Global Innovation and Knowledge Sharing in HR

As human resource management evolves into an ever-increasing means of competitive advantage for multinational corporations (MNCs), greater importance is being placed on a corporation’s ability to manage and share human resource innovations. This paper discusses the concept of knowledge management (KM) as it pertains to a firm’s ability to share innovative HR practices from one HR function to another across both local and international boundaries. In order to leverage HR knowledge corporations must have a clear understanding of how intellectual, social, organizational, and human capital as well as different geographic regions and different business strategies, impacts creating and sharing HR innovation across MNCs. This paper will address each of these issues accordingly.