At Devon, HR has become a differentiator. I’ve always felt that I was part of the senior team, and expected to contribute at that level, including with the board. In 2010, my third year, we conducted a full-scale talent review with the board. As a result, we were able to talk more effectively about some of the specific people who have been affected by our leadership development and succession planning — and whether they’re positioned most effectively for the future. At this point, our business leaders’ view has shifted from, “Yes, this is a very good program,” to, “This is the way we’re going to do business.”
HAGER: If another company were contemplating making a shift similar to what we did, and asked me for advice, I’d say there are elements that both sides — the HR staff and line operations — need to take responsibility for. This isn’t just an HR initiative, nor is it driven by operations, with HR totally subservient. Everyone needs to take ownership, and they have to embrace the case for change. If it’s just a program where you check the box, it won’t work. On the other hand, if you see how it’s important to your organization, it can be very successful.
Reprint No. 00132
- Christopher Click is a Booz & Company partner based in Dallas. He focuses on growth and organizational strategies for the upstream energy sector.
- Also contributing to this article were Booz & Company partner Andrew Clyde and consulting writer Robert Hertzberg.