While many HR executives feel their contributions aren't valued by chief executives, HR does play a lead part at the boardroom table — but it has more to do to become the star, according to a survey of Canadian CEOs by the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) in conjunction with Knightsbridge Human Capital Solutions.
CEOs view strong HR leadership as critical to the success of the organization, found the study The Role and Future of HR: The CEO's Perspective, based on interviews with 20 CEOs. They also see their chief HR officers as valued contributors to the business and trusted advisors who are often confidants to the CEO and other executives. They believe HR is on an equal footing with other business areas.
"In fact, the executives felt their HR leads were instrumental in guiding their organizations through the recent economic downturn," said HRPA CEO Bill Greenhalgh. "One-half had experienced big growth during the period, while the other half underwent significant downsizing. In both cases, HR's ability to manage workforce levels and workforce effectiveness was critical.”
However, the CEOs identified areas for improvement. Many felt HR executives fall short of really understanding business challenges, largely because they don't get "in the trenches" enough. HR needs to get out of their "ivory towers" — where they are perceived as too often developing impractical policies and programs — and better understand the challenges of supervisors and front-line managers, found the survey.
Moving out of the recession, HR professionals continue to play a significant part at the boardroom table, said the study, leading organizations on key challenges including managing across generations, continuous change management and communications in the age of social media.
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