- Respondents in a new Korn Ferry study said HR must have more business acumen (41%) and be able to turn strategy into action (28%). Korn Ferry surveyed 189 chief human resource officers (CHROs) in late 2016.
- The survey results cited the most valuable skills for CHROs as having tolerance for ambiguity — that is, to be able to function well in uncertain times — and developing an agile workforce that can adjust to changing business times.
- The biggest struggles the respondents said they face is aligning talent with business strategy (34%) and engaging and retaining employees (24%).
The survey respondents recognize the skills and knowledge deficits of their profession and the challenges they must overcome. Identifying and acknowledging problems is a step toward finding resolutions for any group.
It’s not surprising that survey respondents said their closest associate in the C-suite is the chief financial officer (CFO), since HR oversees its organization’s biggest line item — compensation and benefits. In some organizations, HR reports to the CFO instead of the CEO, which often sparks debate about whether that’s where the overseer of human capital belongs. But HR can use the alliance to help close its business knowledge gap.
Aligning talent with business goals is an ongoing struggle for HR. Employment analysts think the problem is tied to HR not having a “seat at the table” with inside business leaders. We've seen what happens when companies try to function without an HR department (see: Silicon Valley's troublemakers). More companies are beginning to recognize the importance of putting employees first — especially once they are recovering from an employee scandal. But it's up to HR leaders to communicate that importance via data gathering and analysis.