Earlier this year the Sage Group published a report titled “The Changing Face of HR”. The report surveys over 1000 HR leaders and C-Suite Executives to uncover thoughts each group has about the state of the HR industry. The findings are interesting and reflective of perceptions I have heard from friends and colleagues in each group. As the year is winding down and many of us are in planning mode for 2024, I thought I would share some highlights from the report that stood out.
The survey found that HR leaders love working in HR but are overwhelmed by the daily challenges and those challenges are coming at a severe personal cost. 95% of HR leaders say working in HR is simply too much work and stress. I was shocked when I read that statistic. I thought I was the only one feeling underwater.
The report does not take a deep dive into what changes need to happen to reduce the volume and stress, it does lean into the relationship between HR leaders and C-suite executives. The report states the two groups agreed that HR needs to take on more of a strategic focus and a greater consultancy role, yet both said the balance of HR work continues to be more administrative and process-focused.
The disconnect arises when determining organizational priorities. As the chart below shows, HR leaders feel organizational efforts should be focused on talent management, DEI initiatives, and employee health and well-being, whereas C-suite leaders find financial growth, talent management, and efficiency and productivity to be the top priorities.
The report also notes that HR leaders find the biggest challenges and barriers to success are the increased workloads, limited budgets, a lack of resources including HR technology, and not having the right skills on the HR team. Conversely, the C-suite highlights the need for financial resources to pay for talent and invest in systems to improve productivity and efficiency.
It feels like a chicken-and-egg scenario. While each group may have valid points and a strong case as to why their objectives need to be the priority, we know that “everything” cannot be a priority. Deciding where to start can be complex, emotional, and challenging. So what can HR leaders (especially those who are not in the C-suite) do to influence meaningful changes?
I think it is important for both groups to remember that being caught in the debate will yield little to no results. This is a time for negotiation and alignment. By aligning on what the organization is trying to achieve both parties can support the activities necessary to get there.
Of course, this is easier said than done. So, as we meet with our teams, leaders, and stakeholders over the upcoming weeks and run into some of these inevitable challenges, I think it is important to remember that perhaps there is a win-win solution. Neither group may have all their wishes granted but hopefully, the two groups can work together to help the organization take a collective step forward.
Food for thought before your Thanksgiving feast. In this month of gratitude, I want to say a heartfelt thank you to all our volunteers and sponsors who make our programs and offerings possible. Your time, hard work, and efforts are deeply appreciated. And to our members, you truly make a difference in the communities you touch. Thank you for your membership, your unwavering support of LSHRM, and your dedication to professional growth. Together, we are truly elevating and advancing human resources in Lancaster County.
I wish everyone a happy, safe, and healthy month of November and Thanksgiving holiday! I look forward to seeing you soon!