Setting priorities is central to the job of c-suite executives. This is true across various functions, including finance and HR. Deloitte's recently released Human Capital Trends 2012 "Leap ahead" report underscores a clear two prong imperative for chief human resource officers -- and the executives, including those in finance -- focusing on talent, HR and organizational issues.
In summary, the report outlines two critical categories for human capital and talent priorities in 2012:
1. Focusing on the talent, HR and organizational initiatives that can directly drive and contribute to the organization's overall growth agenda, i.e., focusing on the "business of the business" first.
2. A parallel focus on driving efficiency and improvements in the "business of HR."
The mandate to focus on the "business of the business" first highlights the need for leaders in the critical business units to be aware of these emerging trends and in "fighting smart and lean" to respond effectively.
Built with client input, analyst insight, and practical advice, Deloitte's Human Capital Trends report, now in its second year, highlights trends that will likely impact businesses over the next 18-24 months. This year's leading trends are:
Growth. Growth is the top priority for CEOs in 2012. Achieving it requires enhanced capabilities in three key areas: emerging markets, mergers and acquisitions (M&A), and innovation.
Global Operations. Many leading companies are shifting to globally integrated operating models, with the home country serving as just one of many markets; organizing for global operations is critical to these efforts.
Cloud. Helping organizations adapt and capitalize on the full potential of cloud services requires "all hands on deck."
Risk Management. In an increasingly connected world fraught with growing uncertainty, low-probability high impact events can have far-reaching effects.
Sales Effectiveness. A multi-channel sales environment is creating the need for a different kind of sales force. Assembling the winning sales force of the future requires an expanding understanding of front-line sales issues, the customer experience and the particular DNA of tomorrow's sales force.
Leadership Pipelines. Future growth requires new leaders prepared for new challenges. As organizations gain clarity around "high potential" and "high performance" -- based on science, not anecdotes -- they are beginning to invest in an integrated set of data-driven activities to accelerate the development of their most effective/significant emerging and senior leadership talent.
Workforce Analytics. New analytical tools and techniques are enabling better-informed human capital decisions and resulting in improvements in talent acquisition, retention and rewards; labor costs; employee productivity and effectiveness; and risk management.
Social/Mobile. Social media and mobile devices are raising the bar on service delivery within, across and beyond the organization. Developing and implementing strategies for mobile devices and social media is no longer a luxury; it's becoming a necessity.
While all of these will have relevance, at least in part, for finance leaders, let's take a quick look at the two at the top of the "business of the business" agenda.