- Almost all C-suite leaders believe the role of HR has changed dramatically in the last few years, according to a recent survey from HR tech company Sage.
- Respondents indicated that the reputation and image of the department has not kept up with the times and is due for an upgrade. Eighty-five percent of C-suite leaders said they felt “human resources” is an outdated term (compared to 73% of HR leaders). But 92% of C-suite execs also said the perceived value of HR remains a challenge for the profession.
- While HR is becoming a more strategic department over time, Sage said, the bulk of HR and C-suite respondents said the role is still predominantly administrative in function. And while 91% of HR leaders said they are excited about the future of the profession, respondents listed limited HR technology, limited budgets, lack of resources and lack of leadership support as major barriers to success.
Sage’s survey highlights some interesting — and seemingly contradictory — realities about the state of HR, especially as it intersects with company leadership.
On one hand, C-suite leaders seem well-attuned to the challenges HR faces and its growing importance in business strategy. They appear well-aware that HR leaders continue to face questions about the department’s value and that the HR role is evolving to encompass far more than long-standard elements of the position like payroll and compliance.
The growing importance of HR skills in the C-suite space can be reflected in the developing CHRO-to-CEO pipeline, which the Society for Human Resource Management appeared to reaffirm with its recent acquisition of CEO Academy. Employee experience has risen to the forefront of company concerns over the past few years, as the war for talent continues and employees expect more political action and support from their workplace.
Yet HR leaders continue to face challenges in performing their role. While C-suite execs and HR pros agree the department’s perceived value is a challenge, it seems the C-suite is not always taking the steps to change that. In HR Dive’s own Identity of HR survey, conducted earlier this year, only about 60% of HR respondents said they felt “very” or “highly” valued by company leadership; around 40% felt only “somewhat” or “not at all” valued.
HR pros can demonstrate their value by communicating all the work happening with employees behind the scenes, experts have said. More transparency broadly within the department may boost its recognition as well, a Conference Board report from October noted.