The following blog is written by John Huckle, CEO of BusinessForward. BusinessForward is a consulting firm that helps IT, HR and other Shared Services organizations derive the most value from their investments in ESM and human capital management tools.
For the last decade, we at BusinessForward have had the honor and pleasure of serving HR Leaders in their time and place of need. Across all of those years, it has been an amazing experience to observe and help HR Organizations continually pivot towards becoming a strategically vital component of a business’s success. Along the way, we frequently found ourselves being asked: “what are others doing”. Our HR friends, in the throes of change, were in need of perspective – from their peers – around what was being done to overcome the specific challenges that a modern-day HR Organization faces.
Sure, we knew that there were (and are) HR Benchmarking surveys and studies that cover a broad range of very strategic People issues and HR innovation topics. But our customers were asking for something different.
“Tell us what we need to do right now to fix the foundational things that prevent us from achieving our People aspirations“.
And most importantly, “Connect us with others that are in our shoes so that we can learn from each other.”
Fulfilling the Need: The Launch of Our Annual HR Survey
As a result of these pressing questions, we set out in early 2015 to come up with a better way to systematically share meaningful, actionable, and real information with as many HR Professionals as possible. An altruistic effort, our goal is to be the digital litmus test for People Leaders and anyone who has an interest in helping those that dedicate their professional lives to helping others.
Our first HR Leadership Survey was four years ago and we now have the valuable asset of trend data – which means that we can understand how the HR organization’s role has evolved leading up to today and better predict the HR agenda for the near future.
The professionals who participate in our annual the survey represent a diverse array of industries including retail, nonprofit, business consulting, health care, technology, energy, manufacturing, education, utilities, engineering companies, law firms, and wholesalers. Representing both companies in the middle market and Fortune 500 spaces, we find that while the challenges are largely the same, scale drives pace and nimbleness drives effectiveness.
We know that HR professionals juggle a wide range of responsibilities, from recruiting to retention and everything in between – so it is hard to focus on one particular topic of importance.
It’s rarely a slow day in a typical HR organization – so it is hard to ask HR Leaders to take more than 10 minutes to share their thoughts.
But it is so important – In today’s ever increasingly digital world, where decisions are more and more binary, HR operates between the 0 and the 1.
They are moving from evaluating their success just in terms of getting people paid in the right amounts at the right time, to helping their organization navigate more esoteric and humanistic topics to drive tangible and real results through people.
Today’s HR leaders are looking to pull together and answer very related questions like how do we acquire the right talent at the right time? Once that Talent is between our four walls, how do we develop them in line with an engaging career path that also serves our succession planning needs? How do we define what key behaviors, skills, qualities, and characteristics that our employees are expected to perform against, compensated based on, and drive business results?
Here we are in 2019, and we find HR organizations are still working hard to catch up – and many are closer than ever.
In Between the Binary
The answers to those questions are not binary, and HR professionals are looking at anything and everything to help. Many HR Leaders are taking an introspective step back to think about what’s challenging them and how to clear roadblocks like capacity, talent, inefficiency and relationships with business units.
They are trying to figure out how better help themselves to help others through process improvement and adding technology. They are looking at the impact today’s political climate and multi-generational workforce has on culture.
They are looking for context.
So, we encourage you to share your thoughts with us, so that we can share back with you. Once completed, we encourage you to use the results of our survey to educate your stakeholders about your priorities and why you make the decisions – in the context of what others are facing because you don’t stand alone.