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HR from the Outside In: Six Competencies for the Future of Human Resources Hardcover – 1 Aug 2012


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional (1 Aug. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071802665
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071802666
  • Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 2.8 x 24.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 48,400 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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About the Author

Dave Ulrich is a Professor at the Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, a partner at the RBL Group, and Executive Director of the RBL Institute. He studies how organizations build capabilities of leadership, speed, learning, accountability, and talent through leveraging human resources. He has helped generate award winning data bases that assess alignment between strategies, organization capabilities, HR practices, HR competencies, and customer and investor results. He has published over 200 articles and book chapters and 23 books.

Jon Younger is a partner of the RBL Group, leads the firm’s strategic HR practice, and is a director of the RBL Institute. Jon's career has combined experience in consulting, executive management and HR leadership. He has also managed executive compensation and HR strategyHe is a co-author of many articles and book chapters and two books: HR Transformation (2009 Justin Allen, Wayne Brockbank, Jon Younger, Mark Nyman), and HR Competencies (2008 Wayne Brockbank, Dani Johnson, Kurt Sandholtz, Jon Younger). His articles have appeared in HR Management Journal, HR Planning Journal, Harvard Business Review, Strategic HR Review among others.

Wayne Brockbank is a Clinical Professor of Business at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business and an Emeritus Partner in the RBL Consulting Group. At the Ross School of Business, he is the Co-director (with Dave Ulrich and Dick Beatty) and core faculty of the Advanced Human Resource Executive Program. He is also the Director of HR executive programs in Hong Kong, India, Singapore, and United Arab Emirates. Over the past twenty years, these executive programs have been consistently rated as the best HR executive programs in the United States and Europe by the Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Fortune and Leadership Excellence. He serves on the core faculty to Michigan's senior management executive programs in India. He has held visiting faculty appointments in Argentina, Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, the Netherlands, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia.

Mike Ulrich is a PhD student at the Moore School of Business, University of South Carolina. Before returning to the university, he was a Research Associate for RBL Group where he led the data collection and analysis of the RBL/Michigan global HRCS. Mike's background is focused on research methods and statistical analysis. Mike's work with The RBL Group focused on managing the firm’s many research studies (including the HRCS, Leadership Code, and talent management research).


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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Del Hunter on 7 Feb. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
No revelations or great new ideas but a clear and credible pathway for engagement. Well written and researched this is an ideal read for those with experience or thinking about entering the profession.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By fergus Barry on 22 Sept. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book charts a new future and reality for HR professionals. In time it will be ranked with the seminal 'HR Champions'.
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By Jumi, Herts on 2 Jan. 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed reading this book. Considering the subject, I found it easy to follow and very well written. I'll recommend this product.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 29 reviews
12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Insight with Impact - Essential Guidance for Progressive HR Practitioners 30 July 2012
By Allan Freed - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
First and foremost it's important to note that the insights, observations and competencies identified in this book are based upon research - the largest global data set ever collected from HR professionals and their business leaders and partners according to the authors. There are no doubts that for the last 25 years these guys have blazed a trail in the HR Competency space and this work looks set to cement their position as the leading thinkers and the 'go-to' people for progressive HR professionals seeking to improve their own personal impact and their ability to drive business results.

The authors outline 6 core competencies that have been extrapolated from the research:
1. Strategic Positioner - HR professionals must develop the skills to influence strategy formulation and position the organisation for ongoing success.
2. Capability Builder - HR professionals must be able to identify and build organisational capabilities
3. Innovator & Integrator - HR professionals should innovate and integrate systems that align talent, leadership and organisation practices to the goals of the firm
4. Technology Proponent - Advice on how to use technology to connect talented employees and smooth out HR processes
5. Change Champion - The authors give counsel on how to initiate and sustain change
6. Credible Activist - HR professionals should continue to build personal credibility and a point of view about the organisations for which they work.

The book is practical and the authors have used many case studies and examples to give food for thought to practitioners. Terrific insights presented in a way that will allow you to have more impact. Highly recommended.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
Comprehensive, Useful and Good Read (with a few key flaws) 14 Feb. 2014
By patricia Salsbury - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
As usual, Ulrich and company have written a well researched book that offers a very comprehensive instruction regarding the vast range of skills and actions to operate effectively in HR. I really liked the suggestions that matched up with the skills they proposed. In total, this is an excellent resource for HR professionals to draw upon in self-evaluating, but also plotting a course for development. It has a few key flaws though that I had trouble with. The first one being that they have suggested that the next step in HR's evolution is "customer centric." While no one would argue with the attractiveness of the notion, it's a bit of an academic point of view. For real practitioners who are adding value both tactically and strategically, the real next step in HR's evolution is to work cross-functionally at the organizational level on a company-wide basis delivering human capital initiatives. There is still a long way to go for the HR community to accomplish this. Advising HR to visit customers and learn what they do to help your own business is excellent, but not to the point where we suggest that this is the next evolutionary step. There are other hills and valleys to climb before we think that our role is to develop strategic relationships with our customers, many whom are very different from one another. Some of their examples weren't practical in this regard.
Also, they seem to mix skills to the point where their descriptions of these skills get too complicated, and again, are a bit academic. Example: "Strategic Positioner." Maybe I'm being picky, but it seemed like they crammed lots of requirements into 6 skills sets. Maybe they should have split them into a few more.
Last, and I"m not sure whether this is a compliment or critique, but the book was so overwhelmingly filled with skills requirements and subsets of other requirements, that it was hard to process it into an action plan. Practioners need books that are concise and with a roadmap or process.
Despite these critical comments, I am happy to have read the book and don't let these few knocks get in the way of understanding that the book is well worthwhile reading. I will refer to certain aspects of the book in my own business.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
They've done it again! 22 May 2013
By Allan Schweyer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
CEOs and organizational leaders now place a greater emphasis on the workforce and corporate culture than ever before. They realize the dominant role of "intangibles" in company success today and increasingly turn to HR for advice and solutions. As a consequence, many HR professionals and leaders face a steep and urgent need to improve their skills across the board. Yet those who have followed the advice of Ulrich and team over the years are probably already leading their organizations in executing and even determining strategy. Chief HR Officers in those organizations most likely find themselves among the top decision-makers and influencers. Yet, in HR From the Inside Out the authors argue that this isn't enough, change is with us again and this time HR must look outside the organization.

In leading companies, HR has made massive strides since the days, not too long ago, when it was mostly dismissed as an administrative function - necessary but certainly not strategic. Dave Ulrich, with partners including Jon Yonger, Norm Smallwood, Wayne Brockbank and others have been our undisputed oracles - at the forefront of a changing profession for decades. For more than 25 years, they have been tracking HR competencies in the US and worldwide. Every five years the group releases its latest findings and the analysis and insights almost always describe profound changes to the profession that help thousands of HR leaders move their teams to the next level. The 2012 findings synthesize input from more than 20,000 individuals in 635 business units from around the world; the results are in and they may be more revolutionary than ever before.

HR From The Inside Out is an exceptionally compelling report of where HR is headed next, what key competencies will be required and, as importantly, how those skills can be acquired in as short a time frame as possible. Consider the following questions:

* Are you already thinking beyond HR integration, beyond being a business partner and even beyond strategy to include a deep knowledge of the real "business of the business?"
* Do you have close relationships with customers, investors, suppliers, partners and the communities your company does business in? Do you seek their perspectives and work with them to co-create the future for your organization?
* How much do you know about the business broadly, including the global framework in which your organization does business?
* Are you a student of the environment in which your organization conducts business. Do you follow the political, societal, regulatory, economic, demographic and technology landscapes that impact it?
* Are you still seeking a "seat at the table" or are you "on the bridge," meaning, is HR asked for its opinion before any key decisions are made? Is HR able to add value through its deep knowledge of the people factors in the organization combined with its broad knowledge of the business?
* Do you wait to be asked or does HR proactively shape strategy and build a workforce capable of executing on the organization's highest priorities?
* Do you respond to change or continuously prepare the organization for constant change?
* Are you still building expertise in HR technologies or have you moved on so that you are now using technology and networks to manage knowledge and the flow of information throughout the organization?

If the list seems intimidating, the book is anything but. Indeed, practical recommendations, tools, examples and guides are offered page after page. The next great leap for the profession is described brilliantly and with a blueprint for action at every step. I recommend this book in the strongest terms to every HR practitioner and leader that wants to get out or stay out in front of a dynamic and increasingly critical profession.
5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A paradigm shift in human resource management 27 Aug. 2012
By Dan Erwin - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I've been dreaming about the issues David Ulrich and colleagues' new book, HR from the Outside In, deals with since the 1990s. Until this book came out, the ruling gods of Human Resources were recruiting, training, benefits and supporting the business. The obvious consequences were that HR managers and execs had no seat at the table, didn't understand the firm's business and acted passively around line managers and execs. The more serious consequences were that HR failed to center on the goals of the business and contribute significantly to business performance.

HR from the Outside In offers a radically different orientation to Human Resources, reframing the whole game and resolving issues I've faced in both small and large companies all over the nation. Ulrich argues that "aligned, innovative, and integrated HR practices make a dramatic difference in individual and organizational performance." That's a mouthful, and you'll need to work through the book to fully understand the importance of what he's saying. What's unique about the book is its emphasis upon a new HR mindset that starts with the external context in which the business operates and the goals of that business--not internal disciplines and technologies. To achieve these objectives, the authors focus upon personal effectiveness and the relevant knowledge for both HR professionals and departments to improve business success.

In a book such as this, where a major shift in a discipline is proposed, the authors need to provide a rationale for their thinking. And so their first chapter is largely devoted to this changing external context which justifies their shift in the discipline. The writers think of their rationale as "trends," enumerating six ever-changing issues which drive their research and conclusions: society, technology, economics, politics, environment and demographics. In the following chapters, they show how different companies around the world emphasize HR and deal successfully with local and national issues relating to their "trends."

Their goal is straightforward, as the authors lay out plainly in three statements: determine what HR pros should be and do to be seen as personally effective, what pros should be know and do to improve business success, and what they should focus upon to improve business performance.

As a result and in order to achieve this objective, the authors lay out six (extensive) competencies for the future of human resources. They include such domains as credible activist, capability builder, change champion and tech proponent. The most important focus, the foundational objective of the book, is the chapter about the strategic positioner: HR professionals who facilitate business strategy through their objectives and practices. Although the authors provide ways for getting at business strategy and applying it to HR, the most useful and unique means for getting at strategy issues is found in the chapter on building capabilities. There, the authors detail an approach that takes the strategic emphasis seriously, and walks the reader through a six step process for aligning HR practices:
* Business: where will we do a strategic HR linkage?
* Environment: What are the business trends?
* Strategy: What are the strategic drivers for the business?
* HR investment: What are hr priorities?
* Action plans: Who will do what, when, where and how?
* Measures or metrics: How will we measure progress?

In our tumultuous times, HR has a significant contribution to make to the success of businesses, a perspective not readily understood or even shared by many outside the field. Indeed, HR from the Outside In offers a highly transformative process, fit for today's business world. Thus, this book deserves to be on the shelf of every practitioner and put into daily practice.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Outside In - Inside Out.... does it really matter ? 31 July 2012
By EUM HR - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
Outside In - Inside Out.... does it really matter ? In my opinion, and after reading this book, it clearly does...

Several years ago, the authors spoke about, value in the eyes of the receiver... Simple concept but not easy to achieve.

I have been exposed to the HR Field for the past 25 years and in many cases we still don't get it. Our value is really measured by the line managers, employees, clients and other many stakeholders.

This book demonstrates through very solid global research that we in HR need to keep on working hard to not only sit at the table but to be able to shape it.

The six domains are very deep but practical. You can evaluate yourself through that lens and find very practical actions to close your gap.

Well Done !!! After 5 years we have new 360 data, fresh results and a very comprehensive way to think about what we do every day and how we can create better IMPACT.
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