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The Conference Board Inc. : The State of Human Capital

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10/16/2012 | 11:31am EDT
The State of Human Capital

16 October, 2012

Human capital professionals are struggling to meet the needs of an-ever changing global business landscape. As global markets and technology evolve, "people processes" are failing to keep pace. While tremendous strides have been made over the past decade in areas like workplace diversity and flexibility, the human capital function has largely lagged behind in effecting organizational success. As a consequence, human capital leaders must work harder - and smarter - to cement their place as a key business partner on decisions central to the present and future success of their organizations.  

A new report by The Conference Board and McKinsey & Company on the State of Human Capital 2012 examines four specific opportunities that HC executives must seize if they are to effectively manage the global talent pool in an unpredictable business environment. These include:

  1. Look ahead: anticipate and plan for the human capital of tomorrow- From the increased presence of the highly connected millennial generation to the proliferation of the virtual office, tomorrow's workplace will look very different from today's.
  2. Secure a steady, reliable pipeline for today's skilled workers, and tomorrow's leaders - The war for talent continues, spurred by relatively high growth in emerging markets and the mismatch between worker skills and jobs in most regions of the world.
  3. Develop strategies to reenergize your employees about what they do, and about what the organization stands for - An engaged workforce can drive financial performance. Studies have shown that employees who are truly engaged are more likely to stay and contribute to the organization.
  4. Ensure that the HR/HC function becomes more agile than the organization as a whole - Organizational agility is an essential response to the volatility of today's business environment. An MIT study shows that agile organizations grow revenue 37 percent faster and generate 30 percent higher profits than non-agile organizations.

"In today's global marketplace, particularly in such a hostile and unpredictable business environment, it is imperative that human capital executives and departments place themselves at the heart of strategy development conversations," said Rebecca L. Ray, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Human Capital, The Conference Board. "Human Capital functions need to break out of their comfort zones, take risks and become a true business partner."

"Right now, human capital departments are struggling to deal with a global talent shortage, adapt to a changing workforce, and develop new, flexible working models to meet the needs of tomorrow's workers," said Bryan Hancock, a Partner in McKinsey & Company's Atlanta office. "Human capital departments and executives are also facing a real struggle to make a strategic difference in their organizations. Only by partnering with other parts of the organization will they be able to address critical business issues with long-term, systemic impact on human capital."

With many human capital departments today paralyzed in the face of seemingly monumental challenges - such as accelerating leadership development, acquiring talent, and retaining  key players  in a world of constant change across borders, cultures and challenges - the report offers a way forward.   Based on a survey of hundreds of practitioners as well as focus groups with senior leaders in human capital around the world, the report offers an overview of the current state of the human capital function, key strategies and approaches executives can implement immediately to reach the summit.

Source: The State of Human Capital 2012
Report # R-1501-12-RR
The Conference Board

Download the full report, free for media and members of The Conference Board at this link:

About The Conference Board

The Conference Board is a global, independent business membership and research association working in the public interest. Our mission is unique: To provide the world's leading organizations with the practical knowledge they need to improve their performance and better serve society. The Conference Board is a non-advocacy, not-for-profit entity holding 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status in the United States.

About McKinsey & Company

McKinsey & Company is a global management consulting firm dedicated to helping the world's leading organizations address their strategic challenges, from reorganizing for long-term growth to improving business performance and maximizing revenue. With consultants deployed in more than 50 countries around the globe, McKinsey advises on strategic, operational, organizational and technological issues. For more than eight decades, the firm's primary objective has been to serve as an organization's most trusted external advisor on critical issues facing senior management.  The firm has extensive experience in all major industry sectors and primary functional areas, as well as in-depth expertise in high-priority areas for today's business leaders. McKinsey also helps a diverse range of government institutions, public administrations and non-profit organizations with their management challenges.

Read this report

For further information contact:

Peter Tulupman
1 212 339 0231

Humphry Rolleston
1 212 415 5321

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