The rapidly changing and increasingly complex business environment today is placing huge demands on business leaders. This past decade has seen dramatic shifts in aspects that govern work and workforce – the physical, educational, enterprise, social and geopolitical aspects – and compel our business leaders to relook at how they manage their people and talent strategies.
What the CHRO’s Ecosystem Demands
As the demand for talent takes precedence over everything else, the CHRO lands at the center of these shifts. The CEO expects that employees are at their productive best and organizational business goals are achieved. Business heads expect that the right talent is made available at the right time to ensure that business targets are not compromised. Employees want that their aspirations are matched with challenging roles, and that the employer equips them with coaching and mentoring, that will make them successful. The talent market itself imposes significant pressure on the CHRO, given the fierce competition between like-industry employer brands. All of the above in light of today’s highly prudent business environment where the thin line between success and failure of a business will entirely depend on how efficiently does the CHRO manage business overheads, especially the largest chunk of the cost pie – manpower. Let us look at how would an equally measured focus on governance, quality and innovation allow the CHRO to stay ahead in the game:
The Review Agenda: Steering the Way Forward
All of the above mentioned demands from the business ecosystem mandate that Human Resources as a function is managed with acute prudence and foresightedness. The agility with which the CHRO sets the rhythm of governance and frequency of well structures and multi-tiered reviews defines how proactively can HR as a function enable and advise business on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats related to the organization’s work and workforce ecosystem. How the CHRO integrates the agenda of the CEO and all organizational business leaders is key. The overall objectives and milestones that the CHRO sets for the HR function should directly be derived from the organizational objectives and milestones that the organization sets for itself each year. HR metrics that directly impact business should be reviewed with an eagle eye. Inferences drawn from these metrics, along with critical thinking and evaluation, should lay out forward looking action plans to achieve rapid and dramatic results, not only for the short and medium term, but also on what insights would a long term view attract. The rigor with which such metrics and action plan items are reviewed ensure that the most common causes of failed objectives – a lack of structure, discipline and follow ups – are corrected well in time.
Sanctity of Processes and Sieving Exceptions
How a business sustains itself and how a business organization stays relevant in a very competitive market a lot depends on what it does to keep up its reputation and meet its customers’ expectations consistently. The workforce of a business therefore automatically becomes the custodian of its customer experience, and well laid out, efficient and outcome based business processes become the foundation basis which a superlative customer experience is delivered. How HR is perceived by business and its workforce at large also is largely dependent on the accuracy and sanctity with which the people related processes managed. Frequent deviations from laid out processes in the form of exceptions in particular, could easily lead to a break down in the consistency of employee experience. With businesses becoming more diverse and multi-locational and multicultural, it becomes critical that employees experience the employer brand and the organizations HR policies in oneness, agnostic to their coordinates of location etc. The growing importance of social media means that employees – both current and prospects – can easily share both favorable opinions and criticism of the workplace and the employee experience on forums, review sites and social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter. A strong reputation of the employer brand can be an important differentiator in today’s exceedingly competitive talent market. However, today’s business volatility makes it imperative that the CHRO and his team create truly robust people processes and systems that would have provisions to manage unexpected business situations.
Making Accurate, Informed and Timely Decisions: Data and Analytics
Today’s fast paced business environment demands that business leaders show tremendous agility of thought and action. The pace with which accurate decisions are made can make all the difference in success and failure of a business. As people and talent are at the center of an organization’s business strategy, it makes it all the more imperative that the CHRO adopts systems and technologies that will enable him, the HR Leaders and Business Leaders to get a live, real time view of some of the most critical people metrics and indicators, both lead and lag, like Cost per Hire, Revenue per Employee, Time to Fill, Absence Rate, Employee Benefits Cost, Employee Satisfaction, Employee Turnover and costs, Employee Tenure and Employee Compensation, to name a few. Today, HR Analytics that integrate all of these key people metrics have been digitized so that they can be simulated and inferred through “what if” functionalities, that will enable quick and accurate “nick of time” decisions basis indicators and trends, that would otherwise have taken huge time and effort to report, and perhaps resulted in a huge negative impact on business due to delayed decisions.
Changing before Change Strikes You
Change is the only constant. Businesses today are very dynamic and any CHRO will need to constantly innovate on organizational people practices and adapt to the changing environment, if the business has to stay relevant. There are many historical examples, even from recent past, which tell of global F500 companies dying in a matter of months just because they did not stay ahead in the innovation game. HR leaders will need to ensure that they constantly listen to what the talent outside in the market is saying and keep a tap on the changing market, especially understand macro trends keenly. They will also need to constantly understand the business’s true priorities. And lastly, but most importantly, stay abreast with the latest HR Technologies that will keep your business’s people agenda ahead in the competition. Employees would have to be on mobile devices, offering them the flexibility to consume and play with information when they want it. HR Mobile Apps will ensure that your workforce “on the go” has that kind of flexibility with their time spent on work.
The Golden Balance: Maximizing the Long Term Value
Today’s CHROs have their hands full dealing with the plethora of challenges mentioned above. Yet, some of the best brains in the discipline could feel the heat if the overall function is not delivering, or is still anchored in traditional practice. Too much of governance might result is wastage of time and costly resources, quality controls set beyond optimal levels might result in ineffectiveness, and frequent and unplanned innovation might be costly and risky. Creating a world class HR organization is an art, and it is our master artists – the CHROs, who will be able to weigh the pros and cons and strike the right balance between Governance, Innovation and Quality and thus maximize the long term value for their organization.