Executives, HR disagree on value of human resources

Over 2 in 5 HR professionals feel increased pressure to justify program budgets, finds report

Executives, HR disagree on value of human resources

Despite the resilience exhibited by HR teams in navigating a challenging year marked by economic uncertainties and mass layoffs, many HR professionals struggle to demonstrate their impact to executive counterparts, according to a recent report.

Overall, 44 per cent of HR leaders feel increased pressure from the C-suite to justify the investment in people programs, finds Lattice, a people management platform.

"Successful people teams and leaders are increasingly those who go beyond just taking a seat at the table to demonstrate the strategic potential of the function, implementing programs that move the needle for employees and drive business results," says Cara Brennan Allamano, chief people officer at Lattice.

"This year's State of People Strategy Report reveals a missing link for some HR teams in demonstrating those business outcomes. We hope that by exploring some of the reasons behind this and how teams are overcoming it, we can help more HR practitioners prove the value of their work as absolutely crucial to the business."

Specifically, HR professionals and business leaders disagree on HR’s impact on the following:

Percentage of those who believe HR can have significant impact on the following

HR professionals



83 per cent


61 per cent

60 per cent

Avoiding costs

44 per cent

54 per cent

Customer satisfaction

30 per cent

53 per cent


27 per cent

52 per cent

Product quality

28 per cent


Nearly seven in 10 (69 per cent) of HR professionals are confident or very confident in demonstrating their impact on the business.

Two in three (67 per cent) employers are optimistic about the economic outlook today, 65 per cent have the same sentiment for the next 12 months and 73 per cent for the next five years, according to a previous ATB Financial report.

HR professionals confident at work

Despite not getting the level of recognition that they want from executives, HR teams are showing confidence at work, according to Lattice’s survey of over 1,000 HR professionals between July 18 and Aug. 28, 2023.

About two in three (64 per cent) of teams feel engaged, with 65 per cent feeling confident about their job security.

Nearly eight in 10 (79 per cent) say their budgets are the same or increasing, while (86 per cent) reported a flat or increasing headcount.

Despite these positive numbers, C-suite engagement is critical to HR teams’ wellbeing, according to Lattice. This is because HR teams that aren't aligned with the C-suite are:

  • 59 per cent more likely to feel overwhelmed and burnt out
  • 50 per cent more likely to worry about job security for themselves or their team
  • 25 per cent less likely to feel fully engaged with their job

Many HR teams are also innovating in the way they get the job done: 76 per cent are proactively looking to incorporate AI solutions into HR workstreams.

“Communicating impact as a people team can come down to self-confidence, especially when businesses are under pressure and people investments are drawing increased scrutiny,” says Q Hamirani, CPO at Paper. “People leaders shouldn’t be afraid to have — and share — strong opinions around their people strategies and the ways in which they will support overall business growth, both within their organization and in the boardroom.”

In analyzing the social media profiles of HR leaders, BambooHR has discovered that only one in four (26 per cent) Fortune 100 companies have a people leader in the C-suite.

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