After the first Creating People Advantage report in 2007, we have occasionally removed or added topics and subtopics for analysis depending on the trends and shifting priorities in HR and people management. In this year’s version, we looked at 10 broad topic areas, broken out into 27 subtopics. (See the exhibit below.)
The online survey was conducted from March through July of 2014. Using a six-point scale, respondents rated each subtopic on future importance, their companies’ current capabilities with regard to that subtopic, and the levels of effort invested in the subtopic in terms of time, money, and full-time employees over the past three years. We also calculated a fourth metric—the urgency of individual subtopics—as follows: future importance minus current capabilities, multiplied by future importance.
A total of 3,507 respondents from 101 countries replied to the survey. The bulk of the respondents (83 percent) were from HR functions, including HR generalists, HR business partners, members of a center of excellence (such as recruiting, talent, or diversity), and members of a shared-services center (such as payroll or IT). The remaining respondents were from non-HR functions.
The biggest industries represented in the survey were professional business services (18 percent of respondents), industrial goods (17 percent), the public sector (16 percent), consumer goods (15 percent), and technology, media, and telecommunications (12 percent). The remaining industries represented were health care (7 percent), financial institutions (6 percent), energy (5 percent), and insurance (4 percent).
We identified high and low performers through self-reports of financial performance overall, using operating margins over the prior two years (2012 and 2013) as the primary criterion. For companies that had similar operating margins, we used revenue change over the same time period as a secondary criterion. Also, we excluded from these analyses any companies that had fewer than 50 employees.