The Journal Gazette
Sunday, December 16, 2018 1:00 am

HR can help close talent gap

LISA GREEN | The Journal Gazette

Human resources departments are often “at the back of the line” when it comes to corporate funding for initiatives.

But as employers continue struggling with how to recruit strong job candidates, HR could play a more crucial role, according to a consultant who led a Chief Learning Officer webinar last month.

Even chief financial officers who are “typically sitting on the money” are concerned about the talent gap these days, said Lyn Craven, a principal consultant, Thought Leadership & Advisory Services, at Cornerstone OnDemand.

Craven called the current climate human resource's “21st century moment” – the ideal time and “opportunity to influence strategy” and bridge the talent gap.

The question is, Craven said, is can human resources “help determine learning strategies that could help bring people onboard who maybe don't have the skills but capacity and willingness to learn to close the gap?”

Craven believes HR departments can be more strategic and transformational.

Almost all organizations are demanding and rigorous about how they will spend money to protect capital assets or invest in areas such as marketing, she said. But there may not be the same demand “of return for human capital.”

The key to implementing programs and systems that will help is telling a compelling story, Craven said.

Crucial questions to explore include knowing whether you're in a declining industry or growth industry and what's the financial impact of solutions you might propose. But companies also have to see the benefit to buy in, she said.

One approach to telling a compelling story might include:

• We need to do a better job retaining our high performers.

• We don't have what we need for adequate development and succession plans.

• It will cost about (insert dollar amount) a year to fix it, but the potential impact of losing so many high-potential employees is (insert dollar amount) a year.

• We can save (insert dollar amount) annually in turnover costs alone with just a 5 percent reduction.

The focus of pitches should be strategic outcomes, Craven said. It's also important to consider what matters to various stakeholders.

A good reason for change, for example, would be to suggest it will reduce administrative time for HR. A better reason for change would be it would reduce the time invested to hire.

New releases

Books hitting the market this month include “The Leadership Architect: The Right People in the Right Places Doing the Right Stuff at the Right Time” and “Chief Joy Officer: How Great Leaders Elevate Human Energy and Eliminate Fear.”

“The Leadership Architect” is by Jim Grew. The paperback book focuses on solutions used at some of the “best companies in the world, without the elaborate external systems and training tams required by many popular approaches,” according to a synopsis on Topics include the power of pairs – why one plus one is greater than five plus five – and resilience, a step beyond agility.

“Chief Joy Officer” is by Richard Sheridan, author of “Joy, Inc.,” and founder of Menlo Innovations. A synopsis on says the book is designed to help “even the most disillusioned of middle managers bring a renewed sense of purpose to their work building others.” One measure of good leadership is not whether people are doing what they're told, but whether they're developing independent leadership capacity.

To share a thought, a favorite quote or other wisdom about leadership, email Lisa Green at Lead On also appears online as a blog at

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