CEOs Say HR Is Central To Business Success: 5 Critical Shifts

Date:


This is arguably the most challenging time—ever—to be in HR. It’s also the very best. With so many business issues driven by people, talent and workforce, the time is right for HR to finally have a seat at the table.

But despite the obvious requirement for HR’s role to create and sustain a positive and productive future of work, it’s not automatic. Five shifts will pave the way for HR to have brilliant impact and to thrive.

The good news is that 89% of CEOs say HR should have a central role in the business, according to new data from Accenture. The bad news is only 45% of CEOs say they are creating the conditions for HR to lead business growth successfully.

Clearly there is room for improvement.

5 Shifts for HR Impact

The opportunity facing HR is significant.

#1 – Not Just At The Table, Embedded Throughout the Organization

The mantra of HR for decades has focused on the desire and imperative to be at the table. And this makes perfect sense. After all, the ability to lead, influence, solve and support requires knowledge of the issues and contact with other influencers.

But even more, HR must be integrated, embedded and intertwined with the organization. Knowledge of all kinds of areas will help inform comprehensive strategy. And a strong network of all kinds of influencers will help HR professionals expand their impact as well.

The Accenture data found the highest performing CHROs were four times more likely to have strong relationships across the organization and especially at the C-suite. They were especially likely to have mutually influential relationships with the CEO and senior leaders of finance, technology, and operations. In addition, they were more likely to have strong skills in leadership generally.

Social capital refers to the resources, knowledge and capability people gain through relationships with others. It is the constructive netting and webbing within and across the organization built on collegiality, trust and reciprocity. It is channels of relationships which provide the opportunity for mentoring, learning, advice and recognition. When individuals and organizations have strong social capital, it contributes to positive feelings about work as well as greater effectiveness.

The greatest influence within an organization comes from both bonding and bridging social capital. HR professionals are well-served to develop relationships within teams and groups (bonding social capital), as well as across teams, bridging throughout the organization.

Think of the best networks as superhighways rather than dirt roads. Dirt roads represent the footpath of one or two team members who travel within and between teams learning and building relationships. But even better are superhighways in which plenty of HR professionals are connected throughout the organization both broadly and deeply—building awareness of issues, contributing as business partners, solving problems and having a place at multiple tables.

#2 – Not Just a Focus on People, Focus on Performance

HR employees are known as the people people. This makes for a strong brand and identity as a profession. But it can also be a liability among business leaders who believe people issues are soft.

Of course, the last few years have demonstrated people-related issues are anything but inconsequential. When the best performers leave the organization, when it’s tough to find great talent, when people don’t come into the office despite leader edicts, when people demand new models of work or when it’s challenging to inspire and motivate people—the whole business pays attention. Or it should.

HR professionals can increase their influence by clarifying the links between people and the organization’s performance. Starting with people and doing the right things for people are best for business results. While the connections may seem obvious, the investment in people-related solutions, technology and strategies may require strong business cases—which HR professionals are best-positioned to make.

The Accenture data found the most effective CHROs had greater skills in both financial acumen and business acumen—a clear nod to the need to be deeply knowledge about the business and the investments which result in the greatest returns.

In addition, research is demonstrating strong correlations between happiness, engagement, productivity and performance. In the future of work, measurement systems will need to appreciate the links between these and their reciprocal relationships with each other—and recognize and reward people accordingly. HR can lead the charge in organizations which shift from measuring how much and how many to measuring broader sets of more meaningful outcomes for people and organizations.

#3 – Not Just Comfort with Tech, Leveraging Tech

CEOs are prioritizing technology and data. Their number one and number four (out of four) top focus areas for growth over the next three years are enhancing performance and productivity through data, tech and AI and enhancing their companies’ digital core. These were according to the Accenture study.

In addition, the research showed when companies were able to leverage technology, data and people, they benefitted from an 11% top-line productivity premium. This is compared to only a 4% premium when they leveraged technology and data without also incorporating the experiences of people.

Increasingly the core competencies of organizations are overlapping, and a great example is the need to understand the nature of tech, data and people—and how these interact. Increasingly, HR professionals need to develop not just a comfort with technology, but digital literacy and digital agility, as technology emerges and shifts at lightning speed.

HR must embrace and leverage technology within the department, but even more, HR must understand how tech will change the nature of work, workers and workplace. Technology will drive new ways of communicating, collaborating and performing. It will make some jobs unnecessary, it will create other jobs and it will replace portions of still others. HR will be critical in ensuring people’s skills evolve and their work continues to have meaning.

The data reinforces the need. The most effective HR leaders posses the best technology and data skills.

#4 – Not Just Hybrid Work, Fulfilling Work

This period will be the most significant reinvention of work in our experience—based on new levels of awareness and global dialogue about the nature of work. The discussion tends to become wrapped up in when, where and how people work, and certainly hybrid is here to stay. Different regions, industries and jobs will have a range of hybrid models and options, but flexibility and choice will be hallmarks of work going forward.

But more important (and more interesting) is the dialogue about why people work, what they do, with whom they work and for whom they work. This is the dialogue HR can spearhead.

The talent revolution (aka the great resignation) is the best evidence that the ways work happened weren’t working for many people. Going forward, there is a terrific opportunity to consider (and reconsider) how to ensure work has purpose and meaning, how to create the conditions for connection among colleagues and how to foster learning, stretch and growth opportunities within the work experience. In short, HR has the opportunity to ensure work is fulfilling and inspiring as an important part of life, rather than something to avoid. HR is uniquely suited to ensure this dialogue stays at the forefront of board rooms, C-suites and all levels of the organization.

The data aligns with this opportunity. CEOs reported their number two and three top focus areas for driving growth over the next three years are accessing and creating top talent across the organization and driving connection and collaboration across the organization as well. And the best-performing HR leaders boast especially strong skills in strategic talent development.

#5 – Not Just Strong Culture, Sustained Culture

Unfortunately, the narrative around culture has become negative. As business leaders require people to come back to the office and identify strong culture as the reason, people hear culture-speak as code for an experience which benefits the company and its bottom line, rather than employees.

HR professionals have an opportunity to ensure culture is understood for its power in creating the conditions not only for organizational success, but also for great experiences for people. Culture can be a positive center of gravity for people providing energy and shared purpose. The most constructive, productive and profitable cultures boast inspiring vision and clear direction from strong leaders balanced with opportunities for people to participate and influence. They are characterized by clear processes and systems balanced with adaptability and agility in the face of change.

HR is in a unique position to hear and see across the organization and to connect dots in terms of how the challenges in supply chain may be linked with new approaches to hiring. Or how the barriers in the marketplace are connected with opportunities for development or career growth among employees. This comprehensive view can enable and empower both people and cultures. And again, HR is positioned to have an outsized constructive impact.

The data suggested that the best HR leaders had a propensity for systems thinking—an ability to see patterns and connections and to identify and solve problems across organizations.

This Is the Time

Charles Dickens’ quote is especially apt: “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.” The recent past and the immediate future may be especially challenging for HR professionals. But these are also terrific times for opportunity. A CHRO at a Fortune 200 company said recently in a webinar, “If you’re an HR professional and you’re not at the table today, you never will be.” It’s a great time to face tough challenges and lead the organization to new solutions.

These aren’t easy times, but they will be the genesis of critical shifts in how organizations create value and in the meaning of work and the experience of people. Good times, important times.



Source link

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Share post:

Popular

More like this
Related

What is Bitcoin? Key cryptocurrency terms and what they mean

As Bitcoin's price makes headlines once more, here's...

This WordPress plugin vulnerability has put millions of websites at risk

A super popular WordPress plugin was found vulnerable...