First up, you know my position about the studies - past, present and future - that say HR stinks and doesn't get any respect. Stop whining and be different than the HR people those whitepapers talk about. It's pretty easy when you think about it. Know the business you support, be functionally excellent and look for business problems to solve.
So everybody do that... Please...
Most of the folks talking about the latest study agree with that take. You've got Ann, Frank, Dan and Deb basically saying the same thing - which is good. I like it when voices I know and respect have the same (or similar) take...
One voice I like to read had a different take - Jon Ingham from the UK. Here's part of what he said in reaction to what Deb wrote, (Deb's points in bold, Jon's reactions follow):
"2) too many HR folks can't speak the CFO's language / HR people expect others to understand “HR Speak”
Well, OK, we need to understand our businesses and be comfortable with Finance, but we need to educate the rest of the business to use the CPO's language too!
We shouldn't expect our business colleagues to understand debates around grandfathering or red circling, but they do need to understand how reward influences motivation, and 'engagement' is no more jargon than 'balance sheet'."
3) too many HR folks are all about the party planning
Sorry, I don't see them. I think this one's a myth. (But note, the early results of my Social Connecting survey suggest that physical, connecting activities like parties are likely to be more effective at building social capital than virtual ones using social media tools).
If you read Jon's site, he's a strategic guy. There might be some "across the pond" differences as well, but I doubt those are significant. For the most part, his reaction should be viewed in the same context as ours.
...With this possible exception. It seems like Jon spends most of his time on strategy and less time focused on the basic HR Manager type of work. If Jon, based on his practice, doesn't see the same things Deb and I do (and I agree with Deb's points), does that mean there's a difference in the competency level and the ability to connect with the business when it comes to the average VP of HR vs. HR Manager?
Your first reaction is probably "duh" - that there should be. After all, you're paying VPs to be VPs. I'm not sure - I think there's some weakness within the titles of HR Director and VP of HR as well.
In agreeing with Deb's points, I'm going to say that unlike Jon, I see a lot of what she described in many HR Managers, Directors and VPs that serve client groups of 500 or more employees. That's large enough to have some scale, and also a critical mass where the HR Manager/Director/VP has an opportunity to be at the table, to be the peer of the Marketing, Engineering, or Customer Service leads for the company or unit in question.
I like Jon's perspective a lot. I'm thinking that if he doesn't see some of the fundamental weaknesses where he's at (the cheerleader thing, inability to connect with the business, the over-focus on transactions and administration, etc.), he may be in the stratosphere of the profession in Europe. That's OK - the SVPs need friends too, but in the next decade it's the folks who take HR client groups of 500-2000 employees who will shape the reputation of the profession.