Lack of basic knowledge holds back US HR teams…

US HR executives lack knowledge about basic HR theories, new research

A University of Iowa study of almost 1,000 American HR executives suggests
that the job-specific knowledge bases of many, and perhaps most, executives are
‘quite substandard’.

The authors of the study found there were several common misconceptions:

– More than seven in 10 agreed with the statement ‘conscientiousness is a
better predictor of performance than intelligence’, despite widely-proven
research showing the opposite – as jobs get more complex, general mental
ability has been proven to be a more important predictor of workplace

– Sixty-eight per cent agreed that ‘integrity tests’ don’t work because so
many people lie. However, while people do lie, the effects are negligible on
the tests that have been proven effective.

– Seventy per cent agreed that integrity tests have an adverse impact on
racial minorities. But, once again, research has shown this to be negligible,
with less than 0.2 per cent variability.

– More than 80 per cent believed that encouraging employees to participate
in decision-making is more effective than setting performance goals. This,
again, is despite evidence to the contrary. Performance improves by 16 per cent
following goal-setting intervention, as opposed to only 1 per cent for employee

With only 1 per cent of respondents admitting they keep up with research,
the authors say more has to be done to bridge the gap between academia and
industry if important bottom-line HR decisions are to be based on solid
research evidence.

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…but clueless UK fares no better

While US HR executives languish in
the dark over business theory, their UK counterparts appear to be falling down
on the practical implications of modern HR.

A survey of 57 senior HR executives by the Chiumento
consultancy shows that almost two-thirds admit to not measuring employee
engagement, and 85 per cent don’t know the true cost of unplanned employee

Only 33 per cent claim to deliver on promises made to new
employees once they’ve joined and 26 per cent don’t have a clue whether they do
or not.

More than half claim to know how strong their employer brand is
for attracting talent, but only one in three know how strong it is for
motivating the talent they’ve got.


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