Rating HR’s Global Mind-set

Do HR folks have more of a global mind-set than most of their peers?  Not according to just released data from the Najafi Global Mindset Institute at Thunderbird School of Global Management in Glendale, Ariz.

Despite all of the attention globalization has been getting in recent years, GMI’s latest research suggests that HR’s global mind-set may be somewhat lacking, especially when it’s put up against other functions in the organization. On the GMI list, HR scored below management, educator, sales, marketing, financial, logistics/distribution and operations, though it managed to inch out R&D and IT.

In an environment where global talent strategies matter more than ever, that’s hardly encouraging news.

GMI defines an organization’s “global mind-set” as “the sum total of its individual employees’ global awareness and capacity to operate across cultures.” Its findings are based on an analysis of data from 13,000 people who have taken its Global Mindset Inventory assessment.

Joy McGovern, head of client services for GMI, told me she can only speculate as to why HR professionals ranked near the bottom of the list.  She suspects the function’s tendency to be “internally focused” might have something to do with it.

No doubt there are more than a few ways to interpret this data. But I agree with one of McGovern’s conclusions, which is that one of the key takeaways from the research is the need for HR leaders to focus more of their attention—and their teams’— on the business and less on the function. Of course, that’s something we have all heard before. But given GMI’s findings, it’s probably worth repeating.

Would that be enough to push HR past operations or logistics/distribution or finance? Who knows? But there’s little doubt it would go a long way to helping their businesses open up new markets and better compete in those where they already have a foothold.