LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A new Korn Ferry (NYSE:KFY) survey of Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs) shows that as the HR function becomes more strategic and high-profile, HR professionals need to step up their game when it comes to business insights and achieving results.
Editor’s Note: Survey Results at end of news release
When asked which skills are most lacking when searching for HR talent for their own teams, respondents’ top answer was business acumen (41 percent), followed by the ability to turn strategy into action (28 percent).
According to the survey, competitive pressure on the business is the top factor for increasing the complexity of the HR role compared to five years ago.
“Disruptors such as digitization and globalization are creating an environment of constant organizational change,” said Joseph McCabe, vice chairman in Korn Ferry’s Global Human Resources Center of Expertise. “HR leaders must understand the business challenges that occur as a result of these disruptions, including the impact on the business strategy, and be able to quickly adapt and act.”
More than half of respondents (52 percent) said a tolerance for ambiguity, defined as the ability to work in conditions of uncertainty and change, is the most important competency for a CHRO. In addition, nearly half (44 percent) said creating an agile workforce to meet evolving demands is the top talent challenge organizations face.
The top way to meet long-term, bottom-line goals, according to the survey, is creating a culture where people are most engaged. Only 1 percent of respondents cited altering compensation and benefits packages as the top way to long-term success.
“HR leaders need to create a culture of allowing people to take chances, to be agile and adaptable to meet challenges of today and tomorrow,” said McCabe.
The inability to align talent strategy with business goals is clearly a frustration for HR leaders. When asked why a CHRO would voluntarily leave the company, the largest percentage of respondents (36 percent) cited the inability to directly connect HR efforts to tangible business outcomes. When asked why a CHRO would get fired, not linking tangible business outcomes to HR efforts came in a close second, behind the CHRO’s inability to work well with or lead others.
“Today’s CHROs are judged both on what they do and how they get things done,” said McCabe. “While it’s critical that HR must act quickly to adapt to changing business strategy, it’s also important to take the time to align their team and other key leaders to foster engagement and a shared vision. It’s no surprise that CHROs reported aligning talent with business strategy (34 percent) and employee engagement and retention (24 percent) as the top things that keeps them up at night.”
The majority of respondents admit they are not using all available tools to align business and talent strategies. Two-thirds (64 percent) said they do not have strong HR data analytics integrated into their business planning process.
The study found that of all other members of the C-suite, besides the CEO, CHROs work most closely with the CFO. Finances are also top of mind for boards of directors, as respondents cited executive compensation as the top board area of focus for HR.
“More than ever, CHROs play key roles at the highest levels within organization, leading critical talent strategies that are core to executing on crucial business priorities,” said McCabe.
About the Survey
The global survey of 189 CHROs took place in late 2016.
What do you see most lacking when searching for top HR talent?
|Business acumen||41 percent|
|Relational skills||3 percent|
|Intellectual horsepower||10 percent|
|Ability to turn strategy into action||28 percent|
|Diversified experience||6 percent|
|Technical skills||1 percent|
|I don’t find it difficult||4 percent|
What is the No. 1 reason a CHRO would voluntarily leave a company?
|Not being recognized for efforts||15 percent|
|Having an underperforming team||2 percent|
|Inability to directly connect HR efforts to tangible business outcomes||36 percent|
Inability to align the organization around a change agenda that the CHRO was hired to drive
What is the No. 1 reason a CHRO would get fired from a company?
|Having an underperforming team||7 percent|
|Personality issues/inability to work well with or lead others||37 percent|
|Inability to directly connect HR efforts to tangible business outcomes||34 percent|
Inability to align the organization around a change agenda that CHRO was hired to drive
|Low employee morale/engagement||0 percent|
What’s the No. 1 Thing that Keeps You up at Night?
|Managing increased oversight from the board||4 percent|
|Aligning talent strategy to overall business strategy||34 percent|
|Creating a robust, working succession program within the organization||13 percent|
|Implementing successful M&A integration strategies||2 percent|
|Employee engagement and retention||24 percent|
|Serving as a confidant to the CEO||6 percent|
|Building a high-performing global HR team||5 percent|
|Understanding the business' key drivers and what will make it succeed||12 percent|
What factor has had the greatest impact on increasing the complexity of the HR role compared to 5+ years ago?
|Board pressure and involvement||4 percent|
|Increased breadth of responsibility||12 percent|
|Managing a global workforce||7 percent|
|Building an “innovation” culture||9 percent|
|Competitive pressure on the business||29 percent|
|Gaps in existing workforce, shortage of skilled external talent||20 percent|
|Utilizing and interpreting Big Data correctly to inform talent strategies||9 percent|
|Increased scrutiny and pressure from regulatory bodies||10 percent|
What is the most important competency for a CHRO to have today?
|Tolerance for ambiguity – Ability to work in conditions of uncertainty and change||52 percent|
|Empathy – Ability to assess team culture and identify strengths and weaknesses||6 percent|
|Confidence – Ability to make bold, yet informed decisions||20 percent|
|Composure – Ability to remain emotionally steady when pressure is high||5 percent|
|Energy – Ability to sustain analytical thinking and motivate others||11 percent|
|Adaptability – Ability to listen to and accommodating others’ methods||6 percent|
Which area do you feel is most crucial to meeting your organization’s long-term bottom-line goals?
|Leadership development||30 percent|
|General employee training and capability building||6 percent|
|Building the right culture where people are most engaged||59 percent|
|Altering compensation and benefits programs||1 percent|
Besides the CEO, with which other C-Suite member does the CHRO work most closely?
|Heads of lines of Business||34 percent|
What is the top talent challenge organizations face when trying to optimize their workforce?
|Ensuring there are the optimal number of employees in place to effectively operate||3 percent|
|Building a strong leadership pipeline||20 percent|
|Creating an agile workforce to meet evolving demands||44 percent|
|Implementing more proactive vs. reactive hiring strategies||9 percent|
|Enabling leaders in organizations to create real value and drive innovation||13 percent|
|Creating a common view of what great leadership looks like across an organization||11 percent|
What area has the Board of Directors’ been most focused on regarding HR?
|Executive compensation||40 percent|
|Broad-based compensation||3 percent|
|Benefits and health care reform||5 percent|
|Succession planning and talent issues||33 percent|
|Attracting and retaining talent to meet evolving business needs||13 percent|
|Creating and maintaining a diverse workforce||3 percent|
To what extent do you agree with the following statement?: “We have a strong HR Data Analytics function that is integrated into our business planning process.”
|Strongly agree||1 percent|
|Neither agree nor disagree||17 percent|
|Strongly disagree||21 percent|
About Korn Ferry
Korn Ferry is the preeminent global people and organizational advisory firm. We help leaders, organizations, and societies succeed by releasing the full power and potential of people. Our nearly 7,000 colleagues deliver services through our Executive Search, Hay Group and Futurestep divisions. Visit kornferry.com for more information.