ORC Sightlines

April 2005

Talent Management Tops List of HR Executives’ Concerns

This month ORC Worldwide published results of the 2005 Annual HR Priorities Survey. Every year for more than 20 years ORC has asked top HR executives to identify the most pressing issues they are facing and those they expect to require attention in the near future.

Critical Strategic HR Issues

For the fifth year in a row, talent management is the number one strategic HR priority for participating companies. As in past years, succession planning and building leadership bench strength are strong interests, but in 2005 identifying talent has also emerged as a critical element of talent management strategy—perhaps reflecting the increased complexity of talent identification in a global workforce and fears of future talent shortages as baby boomers retire.

Recruitment and retention, which did not make the top three list in the past few years, came in as the number two concern in 2005. And, for the first time this century, benefits—specifically cost control for health care—came out as one of the three most pressing strategic issues.

Emerging Issues

Each year, we ask HR executives to identify the issues they expect to become of major importance in the future. Executives participating in past surveys have done a good job of predicting HR concerns. In 2004, top emerging issues identified were again organizational effectiveness, especially outsourcing and managing a global workforce; benefits/ and talent management. This year, most of these have moved to the forefront of issues claiming HR leaders’ attention.

The HR executives surveyed this year again most often cited talent management as the issue expected to be of prime concern in the future, followed by HR service issues such as outsourcing, managing HR costs, and balancing centralization and local control. Tied for third were benefits issues, including those associated with an international workforce, and aligning HR with strategic changes.

HR Capabilities

For the first time this year we asked HR executives to rate their companies’ capability to handle a number of different HR issues compared to the importance of each one. Of the 16 issues tested, global leadership development was ranked highest in importance (4.48 on a scale of 5). However, ratings of organizational capability in this area averaged only 3.33. It is not surprising, then, that over a quarter of companies surveyed plan talent management initiatives focused on leadership this year.

ORC Meeting in Thailand Raises Money for Tsunami Relief

ORC’s decision to hold the Asia International Mobility Roundtable in Phuket, Thailand earlier this month helped raise thousands of dollars for tsunami relief efforts. The head of ORC’s Singapore office, Phil Stanley, saw the opportunity to hold the meeting in Thailand as one small way to provide economic and moral support to the community as it rebuilds.

Phil was vacationing in Phuket when the tsunami hit. Fortunately unharmed, he stayed in Thailand afterwards to work with the relief effort and spearheaded fundraising efforts among his ORC coworkers.

The Banyan Tree Hotel, where the Roundtable meeting was held, generously agreed to donate 10 percent of the money it received in relation to our meeting (meeting room fees, meals, hotel accom-modations, etc.) to the Asian Tsunami Recovery Fund that the hotel had developed in conjunction with the United Nations Development Programme. Last week, the Chairman of Banyan Tree Holdings emailed Phil with the news that the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the soft-lending arm of the World Bank, had selected Banyan Tree as one of their matching-grant partners. With the IFC match, the total donation to the Asia Tsunami Recovery Fund resulting from ORC’s meeting in Phuket comes to US$7,570.

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