Is Your Chief HR Officer the Power Behind Your Business?

By Simpplr Marketing
We are in precarious and uncertain times. We hear the phrase “The Great Resignation” every day. The challenge to draw and retain employees has left a hole in the armor of the most stable of businesses. Talent acquisition and employee retention have become one of the most significant impediments to attaining company goals today. It is now at the top of every company’s agenda, and U.S. business leadership rightly sees this issue as the one to master in 2022.

The reality of this problem runs much deeper than initially thought. PwC’s first Pulse Survey of 2022 found the following:

  • 77% of executive respondents say that “the ability to hire and retain talent is most critical to achieving growth” this year.
  • 60% expect to invest a lot in hiring and retention efforts
  • 31% expect talent shortages to ease in the near future 

PwC is not alone in its findings.  Global Workplace Analytics (GWA), a research-based consulting firm, analyzed thousands of studies and accumulated their conclusions. GWA found that: 

  • People are sick of the rat race, eager to take control of their lives, and desperate to find a balance between work and life.
  • Two-thirds of people want to work from home, and 36% would choose it over a pay raise.
  • 56% of hiring managers state that Gen Y’ers are more difficult to recruit, and 64% of them say their just as difficult to retain

All employees are particularly attracted to flexible work arrangements and company culture. 

Additionally, in a white paper, GWA found that “Over 60% of the [HR] respondents felt that providing a budget specifically for telework training and technology would ‘likely’ or ‘definitely’ help” with the current employee retention.” Interestingly, they also noted the need for results-based management training tied with “culture change” training, ranked the highest in ‘very important’ ratings. 

Employees are searching for the experience in their engagements that proves that their time and choices matter.  Companies, especially HR executives, want to retain their existing workers, attract new employees, not face attrition costs and see a return on investment into their workforce. In that case, there needs to be a significant shift in the emphasis on employee engagement and company culture. 

Multiple other factors complicate this problem and its resolution, such as the rise of inflation, supply chain challenges, and things as simple–yet complicated–as childcare. The intricacies of everyday life for the typical worker have led to tremendous pressure on, of all people, the Chief HR Officer. 

Amidst the hardships of returning to work, remote and hybrid work environments, helping employees meet their personal and professional goals, and the variety of HR problems, there is also increased focus on their responsibilities and power status within organizations.

The New CHRO Focused Organization

CEOs are now seeing the value their CHROs have. It goes beyond the mundane issues of work difficulties and talent acquisition. CHROs are being integrated into the strategic business relationship of employee engagement plans to facilitate better overall employee experiences. More dollars are being put into this effort.  

As a result, HR leaders are now forced to get creative when developing the overall engagement and experience structures to procure better talent while retaining trained and educated workers they already have. With both power and responsibility weighing heavy on the head of CHROs, and the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics showing that the number of resignations in the private sector in January alone was 4.3 million people, a rate of 2.8 percent, HR has their work cut out for them.

The truth is HR leaders have been waiting for this for some time. Quite frankly, so have employees. To better serve both employer and employee needs in 2022, CHROs need to focus on four areas.

  • Understanding the business goals of the company
  • Become the Consultant-Partner to the CEO
  • Leading Diversity and inclusion efforts while avoiding groupthink
  • Protecting and growing the company culture and, in effect, the Brand

According to Deloitte’s special report 2021 Global Human Capital Trends, the last factor, company culture, is the potential future of work moving forward in a post-pandemic world. Many believe what we may see next is a “purpose unleashed future” mindset that drives potential employees’ attraction to your company.

For the purpose unleashed future mindset, Deloitte believes that the “worker-employer relationship is communal,” leveraging company culture.  Both workers and employers see shared purpose as the foundation of their relationship, viewing it as the most important tie that binds them together.” By embracing this perspective, the perfect next step is to utilize the CHRO’s position and let them be the company culture crusader that aligns both business needs and cultural demands.

Let Company Culture be Your Calling Card

Simpplr believes that company culture will anchor your workforce in 2022 and beyond.  If CEOs and the C-suite don’t see that a strong company culture that combines flexibility, inclusivity, and diversity is your best attraction for new talent, then they are behind the times. Businesses need it, and employees are demanding it. If embraced you have the potential to ride the wave of the Great Resignation and find success on the other side.

Accordingly, this must be a joint effort while allowing your CHRO to take the lead to facilitate research around the subject. They must also convince leadership that change must happen and then design the impending strategy around cultural improvements. Next, the CHRO has to take the helm to guide the company beyond the talk and “walk the walk.” Part of that motion is using the teaching arm of the HR function to educate leaders and employees on the points of culture and instill in them the tools to drive cultural change within your organization

Despite the need for your HR executives to take the lead in company culture transformation, the reality check is that they can’t do this independently. To be transformative, it must be a top-down motion. Then, it becomes embedded in your company’s brand, attracting those meant to be employees to you.  However, to really make this work, you need to let the CHRO be the expert in the room.

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