A recent survey of Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs) across the globe has found that business acumen is the most lacking skill when looking for top level HR talent. Those questioned also cited key concerns around engagement and leadership when it comes to meeting long-term strategic goals. Aligning talent strategy to overall business strategy is a key factor keeping respondents up at night.
The Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) plays an increasingly strategic role, with talent scarcity in a number of sectors as well as business transformations in light of disruption and digitalisation. To better understand key current trends in the space, Korn Ferry, a consultancy focused on Human Resources and recruitment, conducted a global survey of 189 CHROs.
The survey highlights that the skill or attribute most lacking in respondents is business acumen, cited by 41% of respondents – highlighting that the market is becoming increasingly competitive and complex. The ability to turn strategy into action is the second most cited factor (by 28% of respondents) to be lacking when searching for top HR talent, followed by analytical skills at 7%. The areas of least concern are technical skills 1%, relational skills 3% and diversified expertise 6%.
Respondents were also asked to identify what they feel to be the most crucial areas in meeting the organisation’s long-term bottom-line goals, in line with current market trends. A culture of engagement remains the number one issue, cited by 59% of respondents, followed by leadership development, as cited by 30% of respondents. Recruitment, general employee training and capability building, and altering compensation and benefit programmes feature distantly, at 4%, 6% and 1% respectively.
In terms of the factors that keep CHROs up at night, aligning talent strategy to overall business strategy and employee engagement and retention churn most frequently, at 34% and 24% of respondents’ concerns. Yet, others are kept awake by creating a robust, working success programme within the organisation (13%) and understanding the business’ key drivers and what will make it succeed (12%). Managing increased oversight from the board is the area cited as least concerning for respondents (4%).
Researchers also sought to identify the factors that affect retention of CHROs, in relation to their volunteer leaving a firm. Two factors saw similar numbers of respondents opt to leave: an ‘inability to directly connect HR efforts to tangible business outcomes’ took the number one spot with 36% of respondents, while ‘inability to align the organisation around a change agenda that the CHRO was hired to drive’, came second at 35% of respondents. In third and fourth came ‘Not being recognised for efforts’ and ‘other’, at 15% and 9% of respondents respectively.
The number one reason for a CHRO being fired from a company, meanwhile differed somewhat. The top cited reason at 37% or respondents was ‘personality issues/inability to work well with or lead others’, followed by ‘inability to directly connect HR efforts to tangible business outcomes’, cited by 34% of respondents. A further 21% said that ‘inability to align the organisation around a change agenda for which the CHRO was hired’ was often also considered grounds for dismissal.