Dan Schawbel
JUL 18, 2012

Today, I spoke to Dave Ulrich, who is a Professor at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, a partner at the RBL Group, and Executive Director of the RBL Institute. His latest book is called HR from the Outside In: Six Competencies for the Future of Human Resources. He studies how organizations build capabilities of leadership, speed, learning, accountability, and talent through leveraging human resources. He has helped generate award winning data bases that assess alignment between strategies, organization capabilities, HR practices, HR competencies, and customer and investor results. In total, he has published over 200 articles and book chapters and 23 books. In this interview, David talks about the most common HR issues that he’s seen, the most important HR competencies that need to be developed, and the future of HR.

What are the most common HR issues you’ve been seeing in the past few years?

Business leaders increasingly realize that to adapt to changing business conditions and customer/investor/community expectations, they have to do more that articulate a future direction or strategy.  They have to make sure that where they say they are going actually happens.  HR professionals help turn aspirations into actions by focusing on three things:  [1] talent:  do we have the competence (skills and abilities), commitment (willingness to engage and work hard), and contribution (ability to find meaning from the work we do) of our people, [2] culture:  do we have the right organization capabilities that enable us to shape an identity outside and pattern of behavior inside the company, and [3] leadership:  do we have a depth of leadership throughout the company who are focused on the right things.  HR professionals should be architects of talent, culture, and leadership as they help line managers deliver what they promise.