Talent shortage has always been a fundamental concern for businesses and HR professionals.
In fact, in an RGF survey conducted across 4,600 employers and candidates, 76 percent of companies are facing a shortage in talent with 60 percent attributing it to a lack of candidates with the necessary experience and skills, while 51 percent attribute it to increasing competition from other employers.
Globalization and a Borderless Talent War
Fumie Hanazono, Chair of the Executive Board of Human Resource Accreditation Institute (HRAI) and the President & CEO of ASTAR LLP, emphasizes that a “borderless talent war” currently poses as one of the biggest global challenges faced by HR.
She adds that although globalization widens both the candidate pool for employers and the job market for job seekers, it also creates an adverse effect: increased competition and a fiercer war for top-performing talent.
She further adds that globalization has no doubt amplified the rapid changes within business landscapes across the world, raising a need for organizations to rethink the role of HR in the growth of a company. This globally competitive and fast-paced business climate calls for a higher demand in strategic HR roles.
The Evolving Role of HR in Japan
“Historically, HR was a heavily administrative role,” Hanazono explains. Although there are three key roles within HR, i.e. operational, administrative, and strategic, Hanazono explains that in Japan it has been dominated by “administrative roles focusing on compliance and recordkeeping.” Now she’s seeing more and more operational roles that center on “recruiting and employee relations” but continues to see a limited number of strategic HR roles.
She notes that despite the urgent need for strategic HR, when she conducted interviews in late 2018 with HR Directors in 50 distinguished Japanese companies, only 3 of the 50 companies had a Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) and the majority of the 50 interviewed HR directors were in charge of compliance, general affairs, and HR. She also notes that of those 50, “global HR strategy and functions were still under consideration and not yet in place”
According to Hanazono, “for Japan to remain competitive in the global economy, HR needs to be transformed from an administrative function into a strategic one.” She adds that although each HR role is equally important, business leaders must adapt to the fast-changing times by encouraging HR professionals to develop strategic organizational thinking through professional HR trainings and certifications such as SHRM Essentials.
For the first time in 70 years, the official certification program of SHRM Essentials is now available in Japanese where both HR and non-HR professionals alike can take part in globally renowned and certified trainings that would help amplify your knowledge in strategic human resources.
The 3 Key Pillars of the Strategic HR Cycle
Organizations must capitalize on the strengths of their employees as they ultimately become the key to gaining competitive advantage over their competitors. In order to do this, organizations should have a clearly defined “HR Philosophy, HR Strategy, and HR Numbers,” Hanazono advises.
According to The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM)'s Essentials of Human Resources, HR Philosophy, must define required organizational KSAs (Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities) “based on a realistic understanding of the business’ culture, values, mission, and goals.” HR needs to focus on strategically attracting and identifying the right people to be hired in order to achieve organizational goals.
Meanwhile, HR Strategy integrates HR with all the other major functions within an organization, i.e. Finance, Marketing, Sales, Operations, IT, etc. Hanazono adds that implementing strategic HR programs and policies that align with an organization’s goals is crucial to remaining competitive in this globalized and digital world.
Hanazono states that to truly determine the effectiveness of an organization’s HR strategy, “HR needs to provide measurable and quantifiable results.” The most important HR number is Return on Investment (ROI). Investing in talent acquisition and rolling out employee engagement and development initiatives will always be key to a company’s growth; however, measuring how each initiative contributes to the achievement of goals and economic benefits must never be overlooked.
To learn more about these three pillars as well as other Strategic HR Management Essentials, click here or attend their free upcoming event on March 18th. Use the code RGFHRAI#1 to get a 10% discount* to the SHRM Essentials Bilingual Program on April 17th to 18th 2021.
*the discount is limited to the first 10 registrants and is valid until March 2021.
HR and the Workforce of the Future
Given the tumultuous past year caused by the global pandemic, now is a critical moment for organizations to start revisiting their HR strategies and policies. Simon Elsom, a Director at RGF PR Japan, remarks that HR is central to navigating uncertain times such as now to ensure employee safety and engagement whilst maintaining productivity.