BAE invests in top-flight course for HR specialists

BAE has entered its top HR professionals on a strategic leadership programme
to create a high-level division of HR ‘business partners’.

The aerospace and electronics giant outsourced its transactional HR function
in a £800m, 10-year deal with Xchanging in 2001, leaving 220 HR specialists to
drive the company’s policies and strategy.

BAE’s HR director for resourcing and development, John Whelan, said 70 of
the company’s ‘top 100’ senior HR specialists are undergoing a University of
Michigan (UoM) programme to develop strategic skills and knowledge.

BAE decided on the US offering because UK business schools could not provide
what it needed. US business schools are more "about delivering for your
business", Whelan said.

Participants in the six-month programme – which include HR directors of the
company’s business units – were assessed before being accepted for the
£10,000-a-student course, which is run by UoM-based Global Consulting Alliance.

Kevin Green, managing director of Qtab, which is working with BAE on the
assessment process, said the programme would include capability planning and
culture management.

It will also teach participants consulting skills and business strategy to
drive the company’s HR leaders toward playing "very different roles in the
future", said Green.

Whelan ultimately sees little crossover ahead between the transactional and
business partner branches of HR serving the company.

"We sort of debate that. There may not be comparable skills. I don’t
see a great link-up," he added.

By DeeDee Doke

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