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


HR has the potential to have a large impact on the success of a business. However, only 45% of CEOs are creating the conditions for human resources to lead growth successfully. To increase the effectiveness of HR, there are five key changes necessary. Firstly, HR should not only be at the table but also embedded throughout the organization.

 HR professionals must embed themselves within the organization and develop strong relationships across teams and the C-suite in order to effectively lead, influence, support and problem solve. Having strong social capital, or resources, knowledge and capability gained through relationships, is essential to success. The best networks are those which are connected throughout the organization both broadly and deeply. HR professionals should strive to create a superhighway of relationships which provides the opportunity to mentor, learn, advise and be recognized.

 HR professionals are known for being "people people" and have a strong presence in the workplace. However, the significance of people-related issues cannot be underestimated, as the people in an organization have a powerful impact on the performance of a business. HR professionals can increase their impact on an organization's success by demonstrating the connection between people and business performance, for example, by emphasizing the positive effects of investing in people, such as their happiness, engagement, productivity, and performance. They also need to understand and leverage technology, data, and people to maximize the organization's success. The research also indicates that the most successful HR leaders possess the best technology and data skills.

HR professionals have the opportunity to ensure that work is fulfilling and inspiring as an important part of life, rather than something to be avoided. They can also ensure that culture is understood for its power in creating the conditions for organizational success and great experiences for people. HR is uniquely suited to ensure that dialogue about why people work, what they do, with whom they work and for whom they work stays at the forefront of board rooms, c-suites and all levels of the organization. Additionally, HR leaders should have strong skills in strategic talent development and systems thinking to identify and solve problems across organizations. By doing this, HR can create a positive center of gravity for people providing energy and shared purpose, while also fostering learning, stretch, and growth opportunities within the work experience.

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.

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