HR competencies

The relevance of HR competencies today

In the HR literature, competencies are receiving increasing attention stimulated by a number of changes in the global business environment. From a US perspective, the effects of increased international competition and the growth of alliances, joint ventures, mergers and acquisitions are highlighted. There have been and still are rapid technological advances occurring and increasingly employee expectations about work are changing. There is also a debate around the size of the pool of skilled talent in different countries. And as organisations become more global it can be argued that the need for standardization within the profession is growing.

Within this environment HR goals are also changing. The new demands being placed on HR staff are to develop leaders and more generally to recruit and retain a quality workforce. Alongside this, there needs to be an increase in workforce productivity in the face of heightened competition, and so compensation then needs to be aligned with business strategy. It then also becomes essential to develop employees in order to achieve the organisation’s goals. Individual capabilities within the organisation as a whole are becoming more important than purely within a defined job, and hence, individuals are being recognized as capable of influencing an organisation’s success (Porter 1998).

In the face of this new environment, there is recognition that current HR has both strengths and weaknesses. New skills and knowledge need to be developed in integrating global and local perspectives. Another area seen as a weakness in much HR literature is the use of technology to support HR strategy. The resulting barriers to the future role of HR are therefore clear. They centre on the competencies of the HR staff and the standards of the HR function.

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