Let’s get HR leaders and CEOs on the same page – and at the same table

As the human resources field grows in stature – including as an appealing career – more CEOs see top HR leaders as strategic partners in the C-suite.

This was not always the case. As noted by Forbes, the archaic view of HR departments was as “an overhead department that takes away from the company’s profits.” But at a time when it is more important than ever to meet talent needs and nurture employee engagement, HR is earning some overdue respect.

As Alex Sampson, licensed Health Insurance Broker for Health Benefits Associates, told Forbes, “the CEOs who respect their HR managers usually end up with a better relationship with their employees and a stronger, more motivated workforce.”

Harnessing the power of that relationship requires more than an impressive title and a seat at the executive table. According to a position paper by global consultants Korn Ferry:

“Enlightened HR leaders and courageous CEOs should fundamentally remake HR into a business unit that thinks like a business, acts like a business, is funded like a business, and thus will undoubtedly improve performance and profits as never before.”

A golden age for HR?

EY sees the disrupted talent landscape as presenting opportunities for improvement. In the report, “Will HR transformation be the thread that ties value to experiences?” the professional services partnership writes:

“It’s time for a wholesale transformation of the HR function. To embrace the fact people strategy sits at the core of the future of the organization. To become exceptional at solving people problems, skilled at seizing new opportunities at speed, and adept at creating a workplace that inspires its people and adds value to the business. It’s time to reframe the future of HR.”

Perhaps that’s one reason the profession is becoming more popular as a career. A recent article in Fast Company concludes “more people want to work in HR now,” because the profession’s scope continues to grow beyond its original purpose:

“During the pandemic, the role of HR took on new importance when managers were called on to oversee return to office plans and matters of public health. Their priorities also came into clearer focus as the pandemic highlighted the importance of mental health support in the workplace and put pressure on companies to make concrete commitments to DEI.”

The article notes that the elevated role of HR comes with some growing pains, including raised expectations that leaders have business savvy, analytical skills and the ability to align HR strategy to the organization’s overall goals.

Resources for West Michigan

Recognizing the important role of HR leaders – and DEI leaders – in efforts to ensure West Michigan is a leading region for talent, TalentFirst has formed an HR Council. This is an exclusive professional membership group that will work alongside our CEO Council and working groups.

Participants include top-level HR and DEI strategic leaders from organizations in the 13-county region of West Michigan.

An inaugural event is being planned for April 27th – details will be shared soon. Additionally, in keeping with the growing recognition that HR leaders are strategic partners of CEOs, members of the HR Council will join their CEOs at the convening of the TalentFirst CEO Council this Spring.

Learn more about the benefits of joining.

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