If talent is the primary asset in your organisation, why does HR not have a seat at the top table?
When asked to identify the primary asset in their company, the majority of business leaders will respond quickly and simply – their people. Yet while most identify those who work for them as the most important part of their organisation, very few will have included their Human Resources or talent manager on the board or as part of the Executive leadership team. Why, if people are such a great asset, do so few HR managers get a seat at the top table when it comes to taking the important decisions, and how has the data and digital revolution made HR departments more important than ever over the past decade?
Talking the Talk
The majority of CEO’s would be quick to acknowledge that without a strong team of talented people, their organisation would struggle. With overall control of finding and recruiting that talent, you would think that the Chief Human Resource Officer would be lauded as one of the most important senior managers within any business, yet while most businesses talk the talk when it comes to HR, few actually walk the walk.
Very few boards offer a seat to the HR manager, meaning that while people might be celebrated as an organisation’s greatest asset, they are seldom represented at the top. In failing to invite the HR manager to the board, companies are missing out on hearing how the people they employ are performing; how they feel towards the business and the people managing them; and how the overall recruitment strategy and process for finding future talent might be improved.
The past decade has seen a lot of change in the way in which HR departments function, largely thanks to the digital and data revolution which followed the turn of the millennium. With increased globalisation through digital, many medium and large-size enterprises began to expand into new foreign markets, and recruitment became more complex as a result.
With cultural differences potentially causing tensions and the difficulty of comparing people from completely different markets, developing more intelligent and better-managed talent recruitment programmes became more important than ever. Ensuring that staff from across the world were benefitting equally from career development processes also became more critical to how businesses worked. And with overall responsibility for all this is the HR Manager, a role which has become ever more important as a result.
Another major change within many HR departments has been the trend towards appointing professionals without an HR background to the top HR jobs. Many of these CHRO’s will have had previous experience in another discipline within the business – be it legal, financial or marketing – bringing with them a new perspective which can change and improve the efficiency of an HR department.
With HR therefore becoming an ever more sophisticated and increasingly important part of any organisation, CEO’s of the future would be wise to ensure that their HR managers are given a seat at the top table. If people truly are a company’s greatest asset, ensuring they are represented when the big decisions are taken should be an imperative.
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