ORC Sightlines

June 2005

What Do CEOs Want?

The members of ORC’s Human Resources Solutions Network—all heads of HR functions in divisions or business units of large corporations—grappled with this question at their spring meeting earlier this month. After a day spent diving into best practices for managing talent in their organizations, the group tackled the question of how to manage their own talent and career development. They agreed that serving the top-line managers of the company requires three sine qua nons:

According to guest speaker Jason Hanold of executive search firm Russell Reynolds Associates, HR leaders not only need to be smart, they also need to develop a high RQ, or relationship quotient. CEOs look to their chief HR officers to manage the personalities on the senior staff, evaluate talent, and be the CEO’s confidential adviser and confidant. That means being able to read situations and give an honest assessment (Yes-people need not apply). CEOs also highly value organizational communications ability.

Perhaps more than any other trait, however, CEOs treasure business acumen. An HR executive well grounded in business strategy and operations, passionately committed to growing the company, and able to operationalize that commitment is a much sought-after commodity. Which begs the question: How can HR executives acquire these attributes? Several HRSN members believe that line management experience—either before they moved into the human resources field or through developmental rotations—has been the most eloquent teacher of business competencies.

The Human Resources Solutions Network is a cross-industry community of executives who head up HR in the divisions or strategic business units of Fortune 500 companies or companies of equivalent size and complexity. Through triannual meetings and between-meeting contacts, members share information, ideas, and experiences related to the whole range of HR responsibilities in their portfolios. For more information, contact Michal Fineman, michal.fineman@orcww.com; 1-212-852-0354.

Salary Increase Data for 129 Countries

This month ORC released the findings of its Spring 2005 Local National Salary Increase Survey (LNSIS). The survey reports average salary increases paid in the first quarter of 2005 and projected for all of 2005 and 2006. The data are broken down by three employee categories (executives, managers and professionals, and clerical/administrative and support staff) in 129 countries and eight industry groups. The following table summarizes average percentage increases expected in 2006 for all industries combined in several of the countries included.

Executives Managers/Professionals Clerical/Admin/Support
United Kingdom

The survey also shows increases and average inflation for each of the past five years, allowing for some interesting observations about trends. For example, in those countries where inflation has been low over the past several years, such as the United States, Germany, Hong Kong, and many others, increases have stayed 1.5 to 3 points above inflation. But in countries with high inflation (e.g., Argentina, Venezuela, and Turkey), increases have struggled to keep up. In the new workhorse countries—India, China, and South Korea, et al.—where hiring is very competitive, increases far outstrip inflation. Increases in China, for example, are expected to average close to 8 percent, while inflation should stay around 2 percent.

ORC’s Frank White Warns Companies to Pay Attention to EU OSH Developments

In a speech to the American Society of Safety Engineers on June 13, Frank White, the head of ORC’s Occupational Safety and Health practice, urged government regulators and corporate practitioners to heed developments in Europe. In the United States, government has become less focused on rigorous regulation and enforcement, and business has adjusted accordingly, developing new safety and health models that are driven by a culture of continuous improvement rather than compliance anxiety. At the same time, however, American businesses must be increasingly cognizant of the OSH environment in the EU, where regulatory agencies and nongovernmental organizations are setting aggressive standards for safety and health. Frank pointed out several European issues that will require attention from safety and health managers:

For more information on these issues and ORC’s OSH services, contact Frank at frank.white@orcww.com;  1-202-293-2980.

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