Executive-level HR - a must for success

Rahat Joshi
July 8, 2022
Executive-level HR - a must for success

Apple. Tesla. Comcast. Berkshire Hathaway. Alibaba. Johnson & Johnson. Visa. P&G.

That’s a handful of global leaders by market cap in different industries. And here’s the multi-million pound question: what’s the secret to their success?

Lots of things, for sure. But they all have one big truth in common: a strong leadership team consisting of the CEO (of course!), senior VPs and big Cs, as well as a strong executive-level HR presence.

Whether it’s a VP of People, a Head of Global HR, a Chief People Officer, or something similar, each of these successful companies positions HR at the pinnacle of the business. In the most cases, HR has had a seat at the table for years. So, let’s talk about why everyone else is scrabbling to catch up — and why you can’t afford not to pay attention.

People leaders are the guardian of organisational success

The pandemic made organisations more aware of their people. Or more accurately, more aware of how painful their people problems can become if they’re not managed effectively. With employee engagement hitting crisis mode on just 14% in Europe , absenteeism and burnout on the up, stress levels sky-rocketing plus all the impact of organisational change thrown into the mix, few organisations came out unscathed. And as many organisations are realising, this is only the start.

Whatever workplace model you’re exploring, people’s expectations and relationship with work have changed. The Great Resignation has left many organisations desperately spinning plates, scrabbling for talent while trying to keep the best people firmly in-house, while competitors’ salary budgets seem to get bigger and bigger.

The gap between the boardroom and the workforce has widened, and there’s a whole heap of dissatisfaction that’ll bear rotten fruit. Not prioritising to improve employee engagement will cost you (transform your unique disengagement cost here).

The truth is, organisations always have lots of priorities to juggle —but few companies aren’t battling people problems. And unfortunately, those without effective HR leadership at the top aren’t positioned to solve them.

How to elevate and empower your people leaders

Strengthening your HR leadership isn’t as simple as creating a Chief People Officer position. Unless you also empower that person with the right budget, processes, tools, and autonomy, you’re throwing them into the deep end without a snorkel.

Before the organisation decides to elevate HR to executive-level, you need to evaluate:

  • Current people team capabilities and shortfalls
  • People goals and how they relate to strategic goals
  • Your biggest people challenges and roadblocks to progress
  • Leadership team support for elevating HR
  • Operational challenges to elevating HR
  • The resources this elevated HR function will need to succeed
  • The processes needed to integrate HR into exec-level

Creating space for HR to take more responsibility, accountability, and authority within the business means empowering the people you already trust with your biggest asset — your workforce — to make the difference you hired them for.

When you speak to your current HR team, you’ll likely find they already have a good idea on how to solve but are disempowered to do so. But there's probably also a few challenges in the hiding, that only the right people data can put to light.

See how the right tool can transform your HR processes, help prioritising the true issues and boost employee engagement here.

Rahat is a Senior People Scientist at Winningtemp. She has a Masters in Industrial Management, with over 18 years experience as an HR/Organizational Behavior professional within a wide range of roles such as Organizational Development, HR Analytics, building and executing people strategies. At Winningtemp, her work centers around bringing a scientific mindset to organizational challenges and translating people data into actionable insights to improve business performance. She applies her HR experience to design solutions that provide a better world of work for employees.

About the author
Rahat Joshi

Focusing on people

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