USC’s Edward Lawler On Main Priorities For HR Leaders In 2014

Edward E. Lawler III , professor of business at the University of Southern California (USC) Marshall School of Business and founder/director of the University’s Center for Effective Organizations has written an article on about what he believes should be the main focus for most employers and HR leaders in 2014.

Mr. Lawler says “The most important thing that HR should focus on in talent management is assessing the skills the organization needs to implement its strategy and the plan for recruiting and managing that critical talent. It is important to understand what the organization can do to add the right talent: Whether it is best recruited or best internally developed, and whether it is even possible to develop the right talent in order to implement business strategy. Understanding the availability of talent in combination with knowing how it is critical for the business strategy should lead to a more interactive relationship between the strategic choices of the organization and how its talent is trained and managed. Often, the reasons why business strategies fail is that they mistakenly assume that the organization can get the right talent in order to perform the way the strategy calls for. All too often organizations cannot attract or develop it, and as a result, the strategy is not feasible.”

“Talent has always been important, but it has increasingly become more critical because so many organizations are doing much more complex, knowledge-based work and operating globally. (…) That reality is increasingly causing knowledge work-based organizations to focus on talent as a source of competitive advantage.”

“Some business leaders think they can live without top talent. Others believe talent management is important, but they do not see it as important as finance or technology. Finally, many executives are unable to see the relationship between talent issues and the business strategy of their organization. Many executives do not have a background in talent management. They are trained in finance or engineering and they see them as the major determinants of organizational performance. The challenge for HR is not just to establish the importance of talent, but it is to link talent management to the business strategy.”

Mr. Lawler has authored or co-authored more than 40 books, including the recent release – “Effective Human Resource Management” (Stanford University Press, 2012).

His entire article on “What Should HR Leaders Focus On In 2014” can be seen at

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