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Insights on the future of HR from Dave Ulrich at HR Summit and Expo 2014


Dave Ulrich at HR Summit and Expo 2014

The guru session “Introducing the future of HR” was offered, on the third day of the HR Summit and Expo 2014, by Dave Ulrich, Professor at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, author and one of the most influential people in HR, according to HR Magazine.

According to Dave Ulrich, HR is all about “ideas with impact, ideas we can talk about, ideas transformed in tools, ideas implemented in time”. He also considers that HR is not what the organizations does, but what people get out of it. HR creates value to key stakeholders, mainly through Talent, Leadership and Culture.

One of the key points of David Ulrich’s presentation was culture which, in his opinion, matters in a great way and is represented by the unwritten rules, the expectations. Ulrich also sees culture as the identity of the firm in the customers’ minds, the “outside-in” approach to culture.

David Ulrich emphasizes the fact that, when having an inside oriented culture, the organization can experience a high unity, when it comes to the team, but a low performance. In this context, a tool called Cognitive consensuality can be used, by having HR people ask the customers three simple questions:

  • Are these the values you want from us?
  • What exactly from what we do shows we honor these values better than competitors?
  • Will these things you want determine you buy more from us?

Dave Ulrich at HR Summit and Expo 2014

The well-known author and professor also mentioned some actions that HR people can take to shape the organizational culture, namely:

  • Define the desired culture – what are the top 3 things you want to be known for by your best customers?
  • Top/down – Make identity real for employees, through communication;
  • Bottom-up – ask employees to act accordingly;
  • Side to side – set up an agenda;
  • Leadership, as an organizational capability that increases confidence among external stakeholders.

During his speech, David Ulrich also presented what he considers to be the “DNA of effective leaders”:

  • Strategist;
  • Executor (How do I make things happen?);
  • Talent manager (Who do I get the right people on board?);
  • Human capital developer (in order to develop the next generation);
  • Personal proficiency (Am I ready to lead?).

David Ulrich concluded his presentation by mentioning that, if you want to make an impact in the business, it is not enough to be credible, you must manage data, technology and analytics and be able to make decisions and build capability. Also, nowadays, HR must use more data and better integrate the technology solutions available.

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