Why the CEO must drive HR transformation

30251d6In reading How CEOs Can Transform HR into a Revenue Driver by Mark V. Hurd (President of Oracle), I was inspired to focus on the aspect of how HR departments should be doing (allowed to do) a better job at influencing their company’s performance and results.

Millennial power is here to stay

Of special note in this article, is a trend that I don’t understand many executives to be conscious of as I meet with them around the world. I’m talking about the rapidly shifting demographics leading to a surge in millennials among the workforce. While millennials will comprise 36 percent of the workforce in 2014, they’ll make up almost half of it (465) by 2020, according to a study conducted by the business school at the University of North Carolina.

The impact these young digital natives will have on your company isn’t limited to their sheer numbers. In fact, the biggest influence they’ll have is their demand, not their request, mind you, but their requirement that the technology they use at work provides them with the same degree of social immersion, accessibility, and collaboration as the technology they use in their personal lives. We are in life as we are in work, and this dynamic of millennials who have been raised in a different context than previous generations require new approaches beyond technology. Ironically, they require old school and basic emotional intelligence anchored leadership that will be conducive to their prefered behavioral DNA.

So the simple truth is that unless your company is offering these sorts of tools and approaches, indeed, these sorts of “workstyles”, then you’ll be sending a clear signal to recruits and new employees that you’re really not interested in hiring or keeping them.

Moving to action

Why is Leadership Development such an economical force in an organizations training budget theses days? At the end of the day, leadership boils down to more than just “moving people to action”. Effective leadership is about moving the right people to the right action at the right time. That combination is how you invert the scenario 60% of CEOs surveyed by PwC say they’re concerned about not having enough talent, and/or the right mix of talent. As a result, those CEOs say, that talent gap is presenting them with some significant challenges:

☛ 31 percent said they couldn’t innovate effectively;

☛ 29 percent couldn’t pursue attractive market opportunities; and

☛ 24 percent had to cancel or delay a strategic initiative.

But is it really just a talent gap? I would argue, from experience, that it’s an effective leadership gap.

Overcoming the Leadership Gap

Let’s go old-school in order to deal with the new school. As many of my colleagues know, at the core, a handful of successful & proven methodologies from the past is all you need to get the high performance performance & results we want. Here are a few of my recommendations to start out with:

☛ instead of measuring quantity of leadership or skills development training in the workplace as a metric, measure the business benefit extracted over the first 30, 60 & 90 days. What behaviors have changed as a consequence? How are these behaviors providing different performance & results from the past?

☛ instead of having PUSH communication, have engaging communication that fosters ownership, convergence, cross-functional and collaborative moving to action from every level of the organization. More importantly, get everyone literally on the same page through a simple One-Page Plan.

☛ make sure your strategic goals are driven by your desired company culture, and that jointly they feed into a simple & well articulated strategy map of a few business priorities that deliver the real results the organization needs.

☛ create rhythmic, agile & lean behaviors (mindset) that measure, modify & produce results more frequently. Be demanding and use both leading & lagging KPI’s, but most of all, make sure they are relevant to people up & down the org chart. Only through relevance will you get the engagement, commitment, ownership & performance you’re looking for.

Move the right people to the right action at the right time, it’s easier than you think!

Call to Action

Which of these 4 recommendations will you implement or improve upon immediately? How will you better drive, engage and leverage the HR transformation your company needs? You don’t need a strategy team if you already have the core competencies in HR. You just need to empower and help HR leaders become business-centric and data-driven enablers of revenue, innovation, and superb employee experiences.


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