Bridging The Global Talent Gap: Connecting Human Resources And The Board

An overwhelming eight-in-10 global Human Resources executives believe they should have very significant, ongoing access to and dialogue with the Board of Directors to align human capital practices with expectations for better enterprise performance in 2011.

The results of a recent survey by leading global executive search firm TRANSEARCH International also reveal, however, that only six-in-10 of the same Human Resources leaders have established that level of strategic access and dialogue linking talent and business strategy within their companies.

That’s especially problematic for investors and employees alike. The survey finds that 87 percent of Human Resources leaders see the performance of executives in their companies’ senior-most management roles ranking as the single biggest determinant of corporate financial performance or as one of the three biggest influences on enterprise goals over the next 12 months.

One way of synchronising the mutual interests of talent and performance linkage is to increase the representation of former and retired human resources executives on corporate boards. At present, the TRANSEARCH survey documents, two-thirds of boards include at least one non-executive director with significant experience in corporate human resources.

Giving the Human Resources function the proverbial ‘seat at the table’ it has long advocated and making leadership, talent and succession issues a far more regular element of the full board agenda would undoubtedly enable a consensus around investing to attract and retain superior leaders.

That’s important, global business leaders agree, because organisations with the capacity to build and recruit top management talent find they have a distinct advantage over the competition when it comes to attracting world-class leaders.

The linkage of organisational talent and business performance is at the center of the business strategy championed by global business leaders such as Carlos Brito, chief executive of Anheuser-Busch InBev and Jack Welch, the former chairman and CEO of General Electric. Both men presented their viewpoints on the Human Resources mandate that drives performance at the World Business Forum earlier this year.

As investments and paybacks on human capital become more transparent to management and the board, Human Resources will be more suitably positioned to present both with options for leveraging human capital to meet long-term business and investor expectations. The full report is available at