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The voice of your talent: HR needs a seat at the table
The HR function has evolved significantly over the last few years, but so too has the world in which businesses operate. This has led to significant changes in terms of the roles and responsibilities that fall into the remits of professionals today. Traditionally viewed as a somewhat back-office function, HR is now much more strategic, forward-thinking, commercially focused, and business aligned. As the fourth industrial revolution continues to evolve the working world, it is also crucial that HR is tuned into the impacts of new technology. Not only in the way we do business, but also in how it has changed the way we live our lives.
So, why should HR have a seat at the table? To ensure that you are getting the best out of your people, by enabling and empowering them to create more for the bottom line. If the people within your business are unsuccessful, then your business will be unsuccessful. This is why you need diverse leadership, including the voice of a Chief People Officer (CPO).
The people-centric business model
The working world is changing. More businesses are placing people at the heart of their strategies and this includes the staff working for them too. Professionals working longer hours, are now more connected than they have ever been, operating on a global scale. The millennial workforce is unique in terms of the expectations they have of the businesses they work for and the people who manage them. They want different things and have different needs, so it is important to keep tuned in. The rise of concepts like, live – work – play, is one example of why being tuned in to the shifting attitudes of the workforce is so important.
With remote working now much more commonplace and an increasingly expected work benefit, it is crucial to ensure that processes and policies are in place to support the business in managing this new way of working. In addition to this, the mental health of employees is now also very high on the agenda. Businesses are now seen to have an increasingly crucial role to play in supporting individuals to maintain a positive work-life balance and manage their mental health. And finally, another challenge that businesses are prioritising is the diversity and inclusion of their teams. If you don’t have an HR professional guiding strategic decisions at the top, you are missing out on valuable insights about how to attract and manage the people you need to drive business success.
Recognising the value of HR at the top
Today, there are many more forward-thinking, disruptor businesses such as Monzo and start-ups that truly recognise the value of empowering people in a business. Companies like Facebook and Google have led the way in terms of the value placed on hiring the right people and managing them throughout their careers. It is all about the mindset at the top. However, with the evolution of leadership styles, we are now seeing a lot of inconsistency.
The HR function owns the culture and employee experience of an organisation. They are responsible for the effectiveness of people, organisational design, company mission, purpose and values which all help drive the business and recruitment retention. All of those things have a direct impact on the bottom line but are not directly tangible. But ultimately, if you don’t have the right recruitment strategy, you won’t hire the right people. If you don’t have the right employee value proposition, the right people won’t want to work for you.
The new world HR function and professionals should be:
- Innovative and commercial.
Partnering with the business and key stakeholders to enable employees to perform to the best of their ability.
- Especially viewed as a partner of the area of the business area it is supporting.
- Integrated and valued by the business and part of the team, not separate.
- Highly emotionally intelligent.
Pushing for a seat at the table
If you are considering bringing in an HR professional at the CPO level, it is important to assess the current state of your business and take the following steps:
- Identify what your people challenges are.
Be honest about what the business is like, where you want to go, and what the people landscape is like both positive and negative. From here, identify what skills are therefore needed and what strengths a CPO would need to have.
- If the business is experiencing a high level of legal issues – CPO will need a high level of employment relation and legal experience.
- If you have a growth agenda and a good culture – you will need someone who has international experience in managing growth.
- Partner with the right search firm to come up with the best strategy for your business, identify the right professionals, and approach the market in the right way to engage with these individuals. They’re representing your business.
Set your CPO up for success. Believe in the value that this role can add to your business and empower them to drive the HR agenda. There are many specialist HR roles that can add huge value to the modern company and we are currently running searches for D&I specialists, employee experience specialists, and a director of culture. Some businesses are even hiring chief happiness officers. The CPO is the conjugate to ensuring that these roles thrive.
The new HR mindset
Through innovation and creativity, the new generation HR function looks at the latest ways to develop people. Having a seat to communicate this at the board/executive level will enable businesses to make better-informed decisions to benefit their workforce.
This might lead to the implementation of HR systems to better engage staff, revolutionise people analytics to identify top performers, or a more forward-thinking organisational design to drive productivity. The HR function holds a wealth of knowledge and data, and these professionals are in tune with the latest trends in the market and people related opportunities.
People are the heart and soul of every company. Considering the role of a CPO, can businesses in the world of today afford not to have a leader in their team guiding decisions at this level?
If you would like to explore how we can help find the right HR professionals for your executive team, get in touch for a confidential discussion.
Associate Partner, HR Practice, Page Executive
T: +44 117 906 5507
E: [email protected]