Dr. Boudreau is Research Director for USC’s Center for Effective Organizations and Professor of Management and Organization at Marshall School of Business. His large-scale studies and focused field research address the future of the global Human Resources profession, HR measurement and analytics, decision-based HR, executive mobility, HR information systems, and organizational staffing and development.
A strong proponent of corporate/academic partnerships, Dr. Boudreau helped to establish and then directed the Center for Advanced Human Resource Studies (CAHRS) at Cornell University, where he was a professor for more than 20 years.
Dr. Boudreau consults and conducts executive development with companies around the globe that aspire to maximize employee effectiveness by discovering the specific strategic bottom-line impact of superior people and human capital strategies.
He is a strategic advisor to a range of well-known organizations, including early-stage companies, global corporations, government and military agencies, and non-profits.
The author of more than 50 books and numerous articles and papers, features on his work have appeared in Harvard Business Review, The Wall Street Journal, Fortune, Fast Company, and Business Week, among others. Scholarly research has appeared in Management Science, Academy of Management Executive, Journal of Applied Psychology, Personnel Psychology, Asia-Pacific Human Resource Management, Human Resource Management, Journal of Vocational Behavior, Human Relations, Industrial Relations, and Journal of Human Resources Costing and Accounting.
Recent books include Retooling HR: Using Proven Business Tools to Make Better Decisions about Talent, Beyond HR: The New Science of Human Capital (with Peter M. Ramstad), Investing in People (with Wayne F. Cascio, now in its 2nd edition), Transformative HR: How Great Companies Use Evidence-Based Change for Sustainable Advantage (with Ravin Jesuthasan), and Achieving Strategic Excellence in Human Resource Management (with Edward Lawler).
- Investing in People
This book contains practical and precise ways to calculate the costs and benefits of investments in human capital, covering areas such as health and wellness, absence, turnover, staffing and engagement. It provides a framework to make metrics and analytics catalysts for improved decisions. Software available at the Society for HR Management web site provides tools to use actual organizational data to conduct the calculations, and report the results in any global currency they choose.
- Achieving Excellence in Strategic HR
Data from a unique survey conducted every three years (the next wave to be published in 2018) reveals the trends in HR’s strategic role, effectiveness, structure, strategy, roles, measures and decision support systems can be determined. Key messages include what HR elements are related to HR and organizational effectiveness, what has and has not changed over time in the HR function, and what contributes to HR’s strategic role.
- Retooling HR
This keynote draws upon my 2010 book suggesting that to engage leaders outside of HR, the profession should master the tools those leaders already use, such as supply-chain, inventory optimization, portfolio risk optimization, consumer segmentation and engineering performance analysis. These models are surprisingly well-suited to reframing traditional HR issues in ways that engage non-HR leaders, and lead to new insights. Examples include treating employee turnover like inventory turnover, treating the staffing pipeline like a supply-chain, analyzing leadership as an asset portfolio in an uncertain future, optimizing the employee value proposition using product-design and marketing tools, etc. Examples include IBM, Starbucks and McDonald’s.
- The Future of HR
This work reflects an investigation, with Ian Ziskin, former CHRO of Northrop Grumman, of the trends shaping the future of HR, and their likely implications for the HR profession, the role of HR professionals, and the issues that will define the HR discipline. In an article published in the journal “Organizational Dynamics” (part of a special issue on the future of HR co-edited by Boudreau), John and Ian highlight the need to look beyond the HR function to the issues that define effective organizations in a dynamic future environment. Implications include HR’s need to master such things as collective leadership, agile co-creativity, segmentation, redefined professional boundaries, and fatigue versus sustainability (please see the attached article for descriptions of each emerging trend that was identified).
- Transformative HR
This keynote draws upon the principles in my book, with Ravin Jesuthasan, published in 2011 by Wiley and Sons, shows how the HR profession can truly transform organizational effectiveness through evidence-based change based on five principles: Logic-Based Analytics; Segmentation; Risk-Leverage; Synergy and Optimization. Case studies of a wide variety of organizations across the globe (e.g., IBM, Shanda, Deutsche Telekom, Royal Bank of Canada) provide tangible illustrations showing how transformative HR is taking hold.
- HR as a Leader in Emerging Trends
This keynote draws upon research with over 200 HR leaders in 30 global organizations, and examines HR’s current role, and its future role, in exploiting emerging trends for talent excellence. The trends include Big Data, Segmentation, Diversity, Sustainability, Gamification and others. The keynote shows practical applications from today’s leading organizations, and also looks beyond today, to show the emerging issues that offer great potential for future HR contributions. It includes examples from organizations including Starbucks, IBM, McDonald’s in the UK and others, as well as references to classic literature and even mindfulness.
- HR Reporting and Investor Standards: Enhancing Decisions and Constituent Expectations
The call for “enhanced reporting” and standards for human capital measurement and investor reporting is increasing, as our efforts to develop such standards. Will investor and other constituent decisions be enhanced by these efforts, or will they become just another compliance activity? What are the characteristics of measurement standards that are truly useful to HR constituents, and that enhance their understanding and expectations of the HR profession and its contributions?
- Beyond Analytics: Strategic Decisions in the Age of the Smart Machine and Big Data
Leaders are urged to apply big data and predictive analytics to talent, leadership and organization capability. Is better data and analysis the key to the long-sought strategic impact of human capital decisions? Should you be investing millions in sophisticated data systems and analysis tools applied to your people? Beyond the data and analytics, strategic success will hinge on fundamental questions about storytelling, culture, uncertainty and the connection between artificial and human intelligence.
- Lead The Work: Navigating New Organizational Forms, Intermediaries, and Alternative Work Arrangements that Lie Beyond Employment
Future leadership will increasingly involve optimizing how you get the work done, not how you manage employees. Estimates are that over 40% of work will soon be done by individuals that are not employed by the organization they work for. Yet virtually all present laws, organizational systems and human resource processes are designed assuming that managing full-time employees is how work gets done. A world beyond employment offers options such as alliances, talent-trading, tours of duty, freelancers, along with familiar options of outsourcing, temporary employment and contractors. What are the fundamental dimensions of this new world, and how can they help leaders make better decisions about work and talent?
A groundswell of enthusiasm has emerged, to create a movement that will advance the future of the HR profession faster. Beginning in 2013, with a handful of like-minded HR leaders, the CHREATE initiative has attracted over 30 CHROs and other HR leaders. These HR leaders have devoted hundreds of hours of volunteer effort to map how HR must evolve to meet the future challenges in ten years, to identify pivotal initiatives to accelerate that evolution, and to design the actions needed to make the future a reality. The CHREATE initiative is unique in its diversity, its open-source approach, and its emphasis on collective action that goes beyond the fine work of any one institution, to tap the synergies that are possible when we work together. Through the power of open-source collaboration, participant diversity, volunteerism and a unique combination of in-kind and financial resources, we aim to continue and extend the community of senior HR leaders who will reimagine a profession equipped to address the challenges of the future.
- Reinventing Jobs to Optimize Work Automation
AI will significantly disrupt and potentially empower the global workforce. It won’t happen all at once or in every job, but it will happen, and leaders will need an automation strategy that realizes its benefits, avoids needless costs, and rests on a more nuanced understanding of work. Leaders need a clear-eyed way to think about how these technologies will specifically affect their organizations. The right question isn’t which jobs are going to be replaced, but rather, what work will be redefined, and how?