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HR's time is now. Technology is enabling HR to deliver strategic value in the Board Room.

Updated on September 22, 2014

Notable Exceptions: HR Directors who made it to CEO

Mary Barra - CEO General Motors

Philippe Gas - CEO EuroDisney

James C.Smith - CEO Thomson Reuters

Nigel Travis - CEO Dunkin' Brands

Anne Mulchay - CEO Xerox Corp

Human Capital is the number 1 Challenge for CEO's in 2014

The Conference Board Challenge Annual Survey 2014 received responses from 1,020 CEOs world-wide and having asked them what their greatest challenges in 2014. The response was as follows:

1. Human Capital

2. Customer Relationships

3. Innovation

4. Operational Excellence

In fact Human Capital has been in the top 5 challenges for sometime. Yet HR Directors continue to talk about struggling to get a 'seat at the table' when referring to the management board. Why? Why is it that if Human Capital is so important, and has been for some time, HR Leaders still find it difficult to be seen on a par with their more commercially orientated colleagues? In fact, fewer than 5% of HR Directors manage to make it to CEO. According to the magazine 'Management Today' in 2012 50% of CEOs come from Finance, Operations, Marketing roles and only 5% from HR.

The Role of HR
The Role of HR | Source

Why HR has struggled to be a contender

HR has been traditionally seen as an administrative back-water with a focus on the bottom half of Dave Ulrich's quadrant. HR and HR teams have been made up of process owners who are focussed on ensuring that the organization 'gets the basics right'. And especially in a European context ensuring that the organization stays on the right side of any legal issues resulting from works councils and industrial relations.

It's time to start focussing on the top half of the quadrant if you want to be part of the Growth Agenda.

Technology Driven HR Initiatives

Which of the Following Initiatives will you be implementing in the next 12 months?

See results

Technology is an enabler to Change

This is an exciting time. The developments around Social, Digital, Analytics, Software as a Service and Cloud Computing provide key enablers for HR Directors to embark on new initiatives which drive Growth and Profitability. Let's take a look at what the CEO's are saying. Based on the outcome of The Conference Board survey they believe their focus initiatives will be:

1. Increase Efforts to retain Critical Talent

2. Provide Employee Training and Development

3. Raise Employee Engagement

4. Improve Performance Management Processes & Accountability

5. Improve leadership talent development programs.

Top HR Initiatives to drive Value


Initiatives which respond to the CEO's Challenge

Thanks to Software as a Service and Cloud Computing it is now possible to initiate technology enabled activities without huge capital outlay and long implementation cycles. Projects can be started in pilot mode, driven by business users and rolled out on proven value delivery.

Some of the key initiatives which are delivering value for enterprises today are listed below. There are many vendors out there and the growing demand for these solutions is demonstrated by the investment excitement around these software solutions.

My top 3 recommendations would be the following:

1. Implement Strategic Workforce Planning with the support of HCM Analytics software

2. Leverage Social Listening and Recruiting to understand who you want and who you currently have.

3. Transform into a Learning organization with the help of Social collaboration tools, multi-dimensional learning paths and peer to peer learning programs.

About Us

Inspire Consulting is an International Strategy Consulting organization based in Milan. We help organizations with Growth Strategy and Turnaround Strategies.


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