This is arguably the most difficult time ever for HR departments. It’s also the best. With so many business issues stemming from people, talent, and workforce, it’s the right time for HR to finally come to the table.
But despite the obvious requirements for HR roles to create and maintain a positive and productive future of work, it’s not automatic. Five shifts pave the way for HR to shine and thrive.
The good news is that 89% of CEOs say HR should be at the heart of the business, according to new data from Accenture. The bad news is that only 45% of CEOs say HR sets the conditions for successful business growth.
There is clearly room for improvement.
Five shifts for HR impact
The opportunities facing HR are significant.
#1 – Embedded throughout the organization, not just tables
For decades, HR’s motto has focused on the desire and obligation to be at the table. And this makes perfect sense. After all, your ability to lead, influence, solve, and support requires knowledge of the problem and contact with other influencers.
But more than that, HR must be integrated, embedded and intertwined with the organization. Knowledge in all sorts of fields helps inform a comprehensive strategy. A strong network of influencers of all kinds also helps HR professionals expand their influence.
Accenture data shows that top-performing CHROs are four times more likely to have strong relationships across their organization, especially with the C-suite. They were particularly likely to have mutually influential relationships with CEOs and senior leaders in finance, technology and operations. Additionally, they were more likely to have strong skills in leadership in general.
Social capital refers to the resources, knowledge, and abilities that people acquire through their relationships with others. It is constructive netting and webbing within and across organizations built on collegiality, trust and reciprocity. It is the relationship channel that provides opportunities for mentoring, learning, advice, and recognition. When individuals and organizations have strong social capital, it contributes to positive emotions and greater effectiveness at work.
The greatest impact within an organization comes from both connecting and bridging social capital. HR professionals help build relationships not only within teams and groups, but also between teams that bridge the entire organization (bonding social capital).
Think of the best networks as highways, not dirt roads. Dirt roads represent paths for her 1 or 2 team Her members move within and between teams learning and building relationships. But even better is Superhighway, where many of his HR professionals are connected broadly and deeply across the organization, raising awareness, contributing as business partners, solving problems, and attending multiple tables.
#2 – Focus on performance, not just people
Human Resources employees are known as People People. This creates a strong brand and identity as a profession. But among business leaders who believe that people’s problems are soft, it can also be a liability.
Of course, the last few years have shown that problems related to people are not trivial. When top performers leave an organization, when great talent is hard to find, when people don’t come to the office despite the orders of their leaders, when people demand new models of work, or when people find inspiration The whole business pays when it’s hard to give and motivate. caution. Or should.
HR professionals can increase their impact by uncovering the relationship between people and organizational performance. Starting with people and doing the right thing for them is the best business outcome. The connections may seem obvious, but investing in talent solutions, technology, and strategy can require a strong business case.
Accenture data shows that the most effective CHROs have strong skills in both financial and business acumen. This underscores the need to have a deep knowledge of the business and investments that yield maximum returns.
Additionally, research shows strong correlations between happiness, engagement, productivity, and performance. In the future of work, measurement systems must recognize these interrelationships and their relevance, and recognize and reward people accordingly. HR can take the lead in organizations moving from measuring how many outcomes to measuring a broader set of outcomes that are more meaningful to people and organizations.
#3 – Don’t just make technology comfortable, use it
CEOs prioritize technology and data. The number one and number four (out of four) growth focus areas over the next three years are improving performance and productivity through data, technology and AI, and strengthening the company’s digital core. These are from Accenture research.
Additionally, the study showed that when companies can leverage technology, data, and talent, they benefit from an 11% increase in top-line productivity premium. This compares to a meager 4% premium for leveraging technology and data without incorporating human experience.
Organizations’ core competencies are increasingly overlapping. A good example is the need to understand the nature of technology, data and people and how they interact. As technology emerges and changes at lightning speed, HR professionals are increasingly required to develop not only technology comfort, but also digital literacy and digital agility.
HR needs to embrace and leverage technology within their departments, but more than that, they need to understand how technology will change the nature of work, workers and workplaces. Technology drives new ways of communicating, collaborating and performing. It makes some jobs superfluous, creates others, and even replaces parts of others. HR is essential to evolving employee skills and keeping their work meaningful.
Data reinforce the need. The most effective HR leaders have the best technology and data skills.
#4 – Enrich your work, not just hybrid work
This period will be the most important reinvention of work in our experience, based on a new level of awareness and global dialogue about the nature of work. Debates tend to revolve around when, where and how people work, and hybrids are sure to take hold. Different geographies, industries and jobs have different hybrid models and options, but flexibility and choice are the hallmarks of the future of work.
But more important (and more interesting) is the dialogue about why people work, what they do, who they work with, and who they work for. This is a dialogue that HR can lead.
The Talent Revolution (aka resignation) is the best evidence that the way work has gone wrong for many people. Looking ahead, consider (and revisit) how to ensure that work has purpose and meaning, how to create conditions of connection among colleagues, and how to foster opportunities for learning, stretching, and growth within the work experience. there is a great opportunity to In short, HR has an opportunity to make work not something to avoid, but an enriching and inspiring part of life. HR is well suited to ensure that this dialogue remains at the forefront of the board, executive management and all levels of the organization.
The data match this opportunity. The CEO said his second and third areas of focus to drive growth over the next three years will be to access and create the best talent across the organization and foster connection and collaboration across the organization. reported to be And top-performing HR leaders boast particularly strong skills in strategic talent development.
#5 – Not just a strong culture, but a sustainable one
Unfortunately, the narrative around culture has turned negative. Business He argues that when leaders call on employees to return to the office and identify a strong culture as the reason, culture is spoken of as a code of experience that benefits the company and its bottom line, not the employee. people hear
HR professionals have an opportunity to ensure that the power of culture in creating the conditions for not only the success of an organization but also for people’s great experiences is understood. Culture can be a positive center of gravity for people who provide energy and common 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 make an impact. They are characterized by well-defined processes and systems that balance adaptability and agility in the face of change.
HR is uniquely positioned to hear, see, and connect the dots across the organization when it comes to how supply chain challenges relate to new approaches to recruiting. Or how market barriers relate to employee development and career growth opportunities. This holistic perspective can enable and empower both people and cultures. Again, HR is in a very positive position to influence.
This data suggests that the best HR leaders tend to be systems thinking. It is the ability to understand patterns and connections to identify and solve problems across the organization.
now is the time
The words of Charles Dickens are especially apt. The recent past and near future can be especially difficult for HR professionals. But these are also great opportunities. His CHRO at a Fortune 200 company said at a recent webinar: It’s a great time to face tough challenges and lead your organization to new solutions.
These are not easy times, but they will bring about profound changes in how organizations create value, what work means, and what people experience. Good times, precious times.