A CEO view of how HR can take on a bigger role in driving growth?

Human resources is an ever changing environment with it been summarised as the “nuts and bolts of the business” (Philippe Gas, CEO, Euro Disney). It has been shown by the Economist Intelligence unit survey (May 2012) that 56% of CEO’s worry about insufficient talent in the organisation as a whole. The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) shows from 2009 to 2012 more than a third of companies reduced their work workforce.

HR can often be forgotten about in a business, however, recruitment and retention of staff is one of the most important part in businesses. 70% of CEO’s would like their head of HR more involved in key planning (EIU, May 2012), although many feel that HR do not understand business well enough to be  strategic or are to focused on set rules and processors.

One of the best ways for HR to impact on the on a business is to provide constructive criticism to the CEO. Paul Sparrow, Lancaster University said “CEO’s tend to be creative and full of ideas, but they sometimes need a reality check”. It is particularly important for the HR to have a good relationship with staff so employees feel comfortable having a conversation to HR on their opinions of other staff and those who are above them in the hierarchal process. To give constructive feedback HR staff need to find an appropriate time and place, for example talking one to one would be more effective then discussing issues in an executive meeting.

It has been show that CEO’s and HR of large organisations often talk about the performance of their executive staff to ensure senior staff are working together collectively and efficiently. Zoe Yujnovich, CEO of Iron Ore of Canada believes, “we need the head of HR to sit at the executive committee table” the reasoning behind this is to allow HR to gain greater and further understanding of the business whilst at the same time seeing how the senior management works together. This is ever more prevalent in a large business where senior staff sets the tone for the whole organisation. The general image of HR is meeting the recruitment needs off an organisation, however, the role stretches much further than this. HR should be a trouble shooter, able to identifying weakness in the team, removing underperforming or recalcitrant individuals, these all lead to an enhanced team cohesion.

To conclude Human Recourses are a valuable part of any business. For the head of HR to be successful they must have a good relationship with the CEO with both being very comfortable to discuss issues in an appropriate manor. Ensure everyone in the senior executive team is working together as one unit. Further HR needs to be clear when trying to implement change and work with the right selective people. HR should take the initiative to find ways how they can best support and help projects. Following these rough guidelines will ensure the HR function of your business is more efficient and feels more valued in the workplace.

Based on CEO perspectives: How HR can take on a bigger role in driving growth
An Economist Intelligence Unit research programme


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