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The Next Wave in HR: Rise of Specialists

This year we have noticed a marked increase in demand for HR specialists, especially HR {nolink}Shared Services{/nolink} and Operations professionals; Rewards; and Talent. Even in our searches for HR Generalists, there is often a requirement for a background strength and passion in a specific area such as {nolink}Talent Management{/nolink} or OD, so that more and faster value can be added to the business. Of particular interest to The Chapman Consulting Group is that much of this year’s specialist demand is at the global and regional head levels, which could suggest that we are seeing the start of a new trend as these enhanced specialist skills are being brought into and then cascaded through global organisations.

If indeed this is the start of a new trend, it is then possible to conclude that there could be some specific drivers of this change:

  • HR Transformation: Over the past 2-3 years, we have seen very large numbers of companies going through major technology driven global HR transformation. The next phase in the transformation cycle is the enhancement of processes around those technologies, requiring companies to increase their specialist capability to build and leverage those processes around the world.
  • HR Analytics and the proliferation of social {nolink}media{/nolink}: It is now much easier for companies to harness the power of HR analytics and new {nolink}media{/nolink}, such as LinkedIn. As we noted from our recent global HR Leader series, most companies have not yet fully figured out how to capitalise on the opportunities that these external factors are creating. However, this is very much ‘work in progress’ with leading multinationals now of the view that they are ‘very close’ to some breakthroughs in areas such as predictive HR analytics. Moreover, we are already seeing that LinkedIn is having a profound impact on the way that talent around the world is identified and acquired.
  • Companies needing more from HR: As the world moved out of the global recession of 2009, many business leaders saw a need to develop a more balanced global capability and presence, feeling that U.S. or {nolink}Europe{/nolink} centricity was not necessarily the best path to sustainable economic success. Companies realised that their ability to expand in key growth markets and truly lift their global competitiveness required a stronger HR function both inside and outside of headquarters.

We suggest that due in part to the above factors, managing the strategic and operational objectives of a multinational HR organisation is a far more complex undertaking than it used to be. CHROs are now hard at work enhancing their overall HR offering and determining how it should be defined, implemented and harmonised across various geographies and cultures, leveraged by technology. At the same time, they are grappling with an ongoing need to manage costs and maximise their talent capability and bench strength; in addition to nurturing their employee value proposition. This goes straight to the heart of key HR specialist functions, and the growing need for specialist HR expertise in today’s complex global environment.

In conclusion, we see this as a particularly exciting time for the HR profession and the companies at the forefront of the move towards enhanced specialisation within global Human Resources. For the companies which get the formula right, these developments will lead to the growth of more robust and sustainable HR functions; compelling career growth opportunities for their HR teams; and a greater level of engagement between HR and the business.

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Key Contributors:

Stefanie Cross-Wilson

President and COO

Global Management
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Global Management

Stefanie Cross-Wilson

President and COO

Stefanie Cross-Wilson is President and COO at ChapmanCG, based in Los Angeles. Along with Ben Davies, Stefanie is responsible for the day-to-day running of ChapmanCG. She also leads complex HR searches globally for ChapmanCG’s top clients.

Before joining ChapmanCG, Stefanie was President, Recruitment & Talent Management for North America at Hudson (NASDAQ: HSON). Prior to that she lived and worked in Asia for over 20 years, most recently as Hudson’s Asia CEO.

Stefanie has worked extensively with leading multinational employers across a broad range of geographies and industries. Working closely with HR and business leadership teams, she advises on the development and implementation of best practice HR and Talent strategies.

Stefanie is originally from Chicago and a graduate of Sydney University in Australia. She is an international speaker and subject matter expert on global Human Resources and Talent Acquisition trends, and working cross-culturally.

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Tim is a Senior Director with ChapmanCG, based in Spain. He works across both Asia and Europe to identify HR talent worldwide. Tim is originally from the UK and his roles have spanned the UK, continental and Eastern Europe, and Australia.

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