Top 100 v 1.74 Kelly Cartwright
The HR Industry is maturing. Fifteen years ago, the space was a wild west sideshow. As the emergence of software standardized administrative practice, HR became increasingly intelligible.
Although the older institutions have failed to keep pace with reality, that’s hardly a surprise. HR evolved from the payroll department to a digital information infrastructure in a very short time. Lacking the traditional educational pipelines of other industries, the field matured ahead of its vendors and academic institutions.
Part of the problem people have with HR is that generalizations almost always fail to capture the operating reality of a particular company in a particular market. HR is the organizational function that manages Human Capital in much the same way that the Financial Department manages money. Slowly but surely, we are evolving companies that provide tailored offerings across the silos of HR.
Kelly Cartwright is General Manager of The Newman Group (TNG). Founded by Ed Newman in 1999, TNG is one of the preeminent companies providing talent acquisition strategy, services and solutions.The company was acquired by Futurestep (part of Korn-Ferry) in 2007. Faced with the always difficult chore of operating a founder’s eponymous company, Kelly is focused on the branding and strategic opportunities for TNG as it completes its integration with Futurestep/Korn-Ferry.
Kelly represents the way that the industry is growing up. In a universe where men lead a predominantly female workforce, she stands with the small group of other women executives. In some ways, the HR industry and its vendor ecosystem offers an amazing opportunity to demonstrate effective management and development. The glass ceiling may be a little thinner in our universe. She’s a peer among pioneers who demonstrate the integration of roles across life aspects.
Kelly’s influence in and on the industry stems from a lifetime of roles around the business. She’s worked on all sides of the staffing equation from ATS providers and pure staffing firms to technology problems solvers like TNG. Along the way, she has worked with a large number of the other influencers in our Top 100 list.
“As TNG emerges from its initial post-acquisition phase, we’re deep in the throes of internal change management. My job is to help unlock the synergies within Futurestep/Korn-Ferry. We’re listening hard to our customers as change seems to be the single consistent thing across the customer base.”
TNG competes with Knowledge Infusion, Deloitte, Towers, Hewitt-Aon and other large providers of strategy and integrated solution. “We help businesses identify problems and then implement affordable solutions” This means that Kelly’s view of Talent Management and Talent Acquisition is extremely pragmatic. “We can’t afford to have brilliant theories that fail in execution.”
Cartwright and I spoke about the things that are changing the face of HR at this moment:
- The way that organizations are tying performance and compensation changes the way that you manage performance. New managerial styles are emerging as our organizations become consumers of Human Capital. The ever moving performance bar ( a management approach introduced by Wal Mart) creates an ever intensifying cycle of performance demands and skill up leveling. Like the river that is never the same twice, hiring for similar positions is not the same thing it used to be.
- Technology makes new things happen. Take competencies for example. Now we define them, use them as recruiting benchmarks, measure our results against them and solve for gap analysis.
- Organizations are increasingly putting people with vast experience (but not in HR) into HR slots. This simultaneously makes the function more relevant and condemns us to reinventing the wheel.
- More and more organizations are doing workforce planning.
- Information overload is driving down productivity. More voices is a good thing. Too many more voices is just cacophony.
It’s early in Kelly Cartwright’s career. Expect to see her emerging as a lifetime power player.