PSPS Future of Human Capital Task Force

By: Karen DeLise, August 2014

“The war on talent is over, and talent won.”  Josh Bersin of Bersin by Deloitte Consulting has concisely captured the reality of human capital management in a post Great Recession world.  Human Resources leadership is being challenged by seismic shifts in workforce, technology and globalization.  These new employment dynamics require innovative approaches to attract and engage a demographically diverse workforce that has high expectations for their careers and employers. Rapidly evolving technology permeates nearly every aspect of life and work, changing the way we professionally collaborate and personally connect.  This technological tsunami of 24/7 communication has created a new concern, the overwhelmed employee.  Companies are operating in highly interdependent and uncertain global economy.  As economic growth and investment begins to accelerate, there is a widening disparity in leadership effectiveness and organizational readiness to meet these challenges. This is an exciting time to be a part of HR leadership!

The PSPS Board of Directors is committed to providing members with insight into emerging trends in human capital and business strategy, and to deliver current and relevant information to equip our members to drive success in their organizations. In keeping with this commitment, a task force has been commissioned to explore the “future of human capital”. In the Q1 2014 newsletter, PSPS President Matt Levy issued a call for volunteers to assist in this effort.  Ten individuals came forward, and the project is underway. Fredy-Jo Grafman, Principal, Grafman & Associates an Affiliate of Convergence Healthcare Associates and Mitch Schwartz, Senior HR Director, HP Software , volunteered to co-lead the team, in an excellent example of sharing external consulting and internal expertise.

In a recent interview Fredy-Jo, a member of PSPS since 1987, said that she has been “surprised and just blown away by the volunteer’s enthusiasm, expertise and commitment to be a part of this team.”  Mitch was inspired to take a leadership role in the task force after participating in an HP cross-organizational global team that worked on a Future of Work project.  Mitch believes that sharing his experiences as part of that exciting work would help PSPS. The kickoff meeting for the task force included an overview presentation by Mitch on  HP’s Future of Work study. Mitch also expressed his appreciation for the “passion and dedication to the topic and project; it has been inspiring.”

An unexpected benefit of getting involved in this effort has been a heightened sense of engagement and connection to the PSPS organization.  At the summer networking event at the Manayunk Brewery, team members actively sought each other out, enjoyed robust conversation and were able to put a face with the voices on team teleconferences. Fredy-Jo strongly encourages other PSPS members to get involved in other PSPS committees and volunteer opportunities to share their expertise and build a stronger sense of community in the organization.

The structure of the task force is modeled after a comprehensive study by Deloitte Consulting LLP and Bersin by Deloitte; Global Human Capital Trends 2014: Engaging the 21st Century Workforce. This report served as the launching point for the task force’s efforts. The team is aligned into three key areas of strategic focus with subgroup leaders and members assigned as follows, Fredy-Jo will serve as the senior sponsor for the Lead & Develop, and Attract & Engage teams.  Mitch will serve as the senior sponsor for the Transform & Reinvent, and Task Force Survey teams.

Focus Area                             Subgroup Leader                    Additional Subgroup Members

Lead & Develop                        Helen Cooke                           Jane Lowenstein, Tricia Steege

Attract & Engage                      Judy Boreham                        Liane Faermann, Karen DeLise

Transform & Reinvent             Walt Gavula                            Johnson Eapen, Morris Yankel

Task Force Survey                  Judy Boreham                        Liane Faermann, Karen DeLise

“Connectden” Technology    Morris Yankel                 

Use of the Connectden collaboration site is an additional example of member cooperation, Morris Yankel, project manager for the team, has provided the group an opportunity to test drive the new platform. Morris has given the task force access to Connectden, allowing members to easily share documents, data and ideas. This win-win approach provides the group with an excellent technology resource, and provides user testing for Morris to evaluate the platform.

Going forward, the task force will examine the Deloitte findings, investigate additional resources, and integrate input from PSPS members and other HR professionals in the region.  The objective of the task force is to provide the Board with key findings on current and emerging trends, and to keep PSPS members forward focused on these issues. In Q4, the task force will deliver a white paper and a presentation to the Board along with recommendations for future action. The board will consider the implications of the task force findings, and determine how to use the information to drive programming for PSPS. Through Local Area Networks, Special Interest Groups, Quarterly Programs and the Leadership Forum, the task force findings will be used to facilitate an ongoing dialog that will intrigue, inspire and challenge our members to successfully navigate the emergent issues in human capital management. 

Task force members are working hard to produce research and recommendations that will provide high value content that aligns with the objectives, goals and strategies outlined by Matt Levy in the PSPS Annual Meeting webinar on June 18, 2014. Mitch referenced the potential impact of the team’s efforts: “I hope the Task Force’s information provides a foundation for how we think about the current and future shifts in HR, as well as providing tools to our members to help them think strategically on this important topic.” 

The first initiative that will be coming soon to your inbox is a task force survey to help the team validate and prioritize the Deloitte findings.  The survey will be sent to all PSPS members, as well as other area HR professionals. We value PSPS member input, and the team thanks you in advance for taking a moment to promptly complete and submit your responses.  The survey will allow the task force and the Board to focus on the areas that are most pressing to HR leaders in our area. Stay tuned for additional updates from the Future of Human Capital task force. 

Karen DeLise, email:, or mobile phone: 916-798-7735.

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