If my recent assignments for this magazine are indicative of a trend, the world of organizations is finally coming around to the notion that the people who do the real, regular work are pretty important to the overall success of the enterprise, and none too soon. The military, and the fields of entertainment and competitive sports, figured this one out long ago.
In this import from Britain, author Holbeche builds an extremely strong case for the proper marching of your HR practices and your strategic plan, and she provides case studies from companies such as BP Amoco, Dow Corning, and kpmg to back it up. Of particular interest to me is the section "Developing effective career strategies," which is a realm that many companies assiduously avoid, partly out of lack of resources and training, and partly out of a desire to stay out of employees' private lives, I suppose. The problem is that for most of us today, work is life, and life is work.
Attending to the developmental needs of employees has been a difficult task in every organization for which I have worked in the past 25 years, but this book has some fine lessons and inspiration to serve the cause. For example, many firms don't take full advantage of the benefits of lateral moves to refresh and excite their people. Indeed, as Holbeche comments, these job shifts require HR leaders to ensure that "the benefits of sideways moves do not seem biased in the organization's favor ... a well-thought-out policy on lateral moves and the provision of help where necessary can be useful to make it possible for individuals to develop new skills." New skills usually mean happier campers.
At the very least, this book will help you take an enterprising approach to your company's career development practices.