say their top concerns are:
• A lack of candidates with the right skills,
experience and knowledge.
• Leadership development and succession
• Anticipating workforce skills for the
• Poor retention of top talent.
• Providing attractive career paths.
• Managing a multi-generational workforce.
• Improving organizational culture.
A Company-Wide Challenge
Such challenges place HR center stage in
the call for stronger people initiatives that
add business value. But this mission cannot be
completed by HR alone. Led and facilitated
by HR? Sure. But line managers and business
heads must also play important roles to:
• Gain at least foundational HR
competencies and learn how to identify
immediate issues in HR programs.
• Improve abilities to track and identify
high performers and reward them.
• Champion the company’s reputation as a
great place to work.
• Develop strategies to extract optimal
performance from every employee.
• Own higher success rates for
companywide change initiatives.
• Create improved flows of information
between employees and supervisors.
Such initiatives are more than HR drivers.
They are business drivers that must be
aligned around a company-wide goals and
measurable and have top-line as well as
However, getting the company-wide
buy-in needed to drive high performance
through people will take work. In an
earlier HRCI study, only 19 percent of line
managers now believe it is their roles to
take ownership of strategic HR initiatives.
Also, only 51 percent of line mangers
believe that their company’s current
HR practices are “very” or “extremely”
effective. Line management needs both
a better understanding of HR roles and
capabilities as well as more front-line proof
of strategic HR benefits.
HR must play the role of facilitator,
consultant and strategic guide to bring
all parties together. At the same time,
top-level executives must embrace
higher expectations of HR professionals
as strategic business partners and
contributing members of the executive
boardroom. Line managers, too, must
embrace talent management and have at
least a basic understanding of HR principles
Having now arrived with a seat at the
table, HR’s next transformation is working
hand-in-hand with senior and line managers
to drive greater people and business
results. The HR leaders who can make
these vital interconnections will generate
more than administrative outcomes—they
will drive enhanced business performance.
That’s something everyone in an
organization can get behind.
When thinking about the top companies in the world, we often point to financial growth, excellent
customer service or innovative use of new
technology. But when you get down to it,
it’s the people at organizations who are
ultimately the drivers of business results.
Business leaders—perhaps as never
before—are embracing the importance
of the people in their organizations as
quantifiable change agents for industry
leadership. Working with HR teams to
improve talent strategy and employee
engagement is among the top priorities
for corporate executives in 2017, finds
new research conducted by Dow Jones
Customer Intelligence in collaboration with
HR Certification Institute® (HRCI®).
How important is HR today? Many
companies now market HR and people
excellence to external stakeholders.
Infineon Technologies, a semiconductor
manufacturer, for example, produces a
People Excellence in a High Performance
Company report. Starbucks publicly links
outstanding customer service to culture and
employee-driven business strategies.
Untapped Talent Management
C-suite executives rank “talent strategy
and employee engagement” fourth as a
top business concern, only behind “financial
growth,” “customer experience” and “new
technology adoption.” “Cybersecurity”
ranked fifth, based on the survey of 300
executives. Additionally, 95 percent of
executives agree that hiring and retaining
the right people affects the bottom line.
However, there is room for improvement.
While over 70 percent of executives
surveyed say their companies are “above
average” or “industry leaders” in customer
satisfaction, profitability and revenue
growth, and 68 percent give their firms
the highest marks for innovation, only 59
percent feel as positive about attracting
and retaining talent. The rest ( 41 percent)
say their organizations are just “average”
or “below average” when it comes to
attracting and retaining talent.
What, specifically, keeps executives up at
night about talent management? Executives
Top Executive Challenges Are
Ultimately People Challenges
Dr. Amy Schabacker Dufrane, SPHR, CAE
HR Certification Institute