How to make Singapore CEOs fall in love with HR

Published: 30 Nov 15
By Ronald Lee, Managing Director, PrimeStaff Management Services)

A gripe I commonly hear from human resource leaders is how HR very rarely gets the opportunity to become a member of the C-suite.

While that may be true to a large extent, it is not an impossible premise and HR leaders can become more influential amongst senior management by adopting the following game plan.

It starts with positioning your department as a strategic business unit with the objective of helping your company increase efficiencies, improve processes, enhance human capital and ultimately trim costs.

The key to achieving this lies in developing innovative business strategies that are powered by data and workforce analytics. HR needs to become more data and digitally savvy and bring to the table measurable, data-driven strategies that will help propel the company towards its business goals.

A study by CareerBuilder some months ago not only confirms this but also reflects a growing awareness amongst CEOs of the critical importance that the right talent plays in taking the company to the next level of growth.

According to the study, 65% of the US-based CEOs surveyed agree that HR opinions now carry greater weight with senior management in the current business climate marked by increased competition for skilled talent amid shrinking labour pools. The latter is certainly something that Singapore companies can identify with.

The overwhelming majority of 90% of CEOs believe it is important for HR leaders to be proficient in workforce analytics and apply it to the company’s recruitment approach. Additionally, 73% stated that their HR leader has provided data that they have incorporated into their business strategy.

In the area of recruitment, more than half (60%) of them acknowledge that their companies have not been able to reach their full potential because they are unable to find enough qualified candidates.

The CEOs further identified these as the top three recruitment challenges that their organisations are facing:

• Lack of skilled candidates
• Inefficient recruitment process – takes too long to fill jobs
• Candidate experience is not as good as it could be

Meanwhile, nearly half of CEOs (48%) say their companies have lost money due to inefficient recruiting.

These statistics provide valuable insight into what CEOs value and are looking for from HR so it would be wise for all HR leaders and professionals to pay heed. The figures are very encouraging and they point to a willingness on the part of CEOs and senior management to give HR a bigger role in the organisation.

In fact, the survey findings offer several gems relating to what HR leaders and executives can do to plug some of the abovementioned recruitment gaps. Up to 92% of the CEOs surveyed noted that HR can achieve a broader influence by:

• Providing actionable talent data and other research to help devise strategies to meet larger business goals
• Showing ways to increase efficiencies or cut costs by better utilising the company’s human capital
• Knowing what the company does, but also how everything works
• Proactively working with other leaders to help solve business problems

The last point is especially pertinent as the key word here is proactive. HR needs to take the initiative to actively seek out ways to help the organisation achieve its business objectives rather than wait for directives from above. And this will require, first and foremost, that you adopt the mindset of being – and position HR as – an indispensable partner to your CEO.

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