HR 'Lacks Strategic Skills'

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The biggest challenge that HR departments face in their bid to become more strategic is a lack of skills, according to research by the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Institute of Employment Studies.

In a poll the CIPD found that 53% of organisations had restructured their HR function in the last year and over 80% had done so in the last five years.

The most common reason given for restructuring was to enable the HR function to become more strategic.

However, the biggest challenges that HR departments face, in their bid to become more strategic include developing the necessary skills, roles and capabilities. The report, based on a survey of nearly 800 senior HR professionals, found that the main pitfalls in restructuring the HR function were in defining roles (42%), having insufficient resources (40%), dealing with skills gaps (38%) and having ineffective technology (35%).

Vanessa Robinson, CIPD Organisation and Resourcing Adviser, says: "Structural change has been driven largely by a desire to make HR a more strategic contributor to business success. There has been a drive to make it more business-orientated, more accountable and to demonstrate value for money.

"One major obstacle preventing progress rests with the balance between what are and should be HR and line manager responsibilities for people management and development. Three- quarters of HR professionals would like to go further in the transfer of people management responsibilities to the line."

The HR function has over the last three years, doubled the proportion of time it spends on strategic inputs. However, providing support to line managers and HR administration remain their most time-consuming tasks.

The survey findings will be launched in a report The Changing HR Function at the Annual Conference and Exhibition this week.

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