The top 6 ways the C-suite would like to see HR change

HR, human resources, executives

Your jobs as HR professionals are about to change, if you believe these C-suite executives. 
As part of a large compilation of research on HR challenges, entitled “Business and Human Capital Challenges Today and into the Future,” the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) polled nearly 500 C-suite execs in non-HR positions on a variety of things related to business leadership and workforce management.
One of the questions posed to these execs was what changes they were planning to make to the HR function in their organizations over the next 10 years.
Here are their answers (execs could give multiple responses):

  1. Broadening scope and reach in business partnering (26%)
  2. Outsourcing more transactional HR tasks (26%)
  3. Broadening scope and reach in change management (22%)
  4. Moving away from qualitative metrics to more quantitative analytical tools to measure HR impact (18%)
  5. Transferring more HR tasks to line management (16%), and
  6. Decentralizing generalist HR support to individual business units (12%).

In total, 71% of execs said they planned to make changes to the HR function over the next decade.

What execs think of HR?

Whether you’re a fan of those changes or not, this has got to make you feel good: Most C-suite execs view HR as a key component of their organizations’ success.
For example, 42% of execs said HR serves both a strategic, as well as transactional, role within their organizations. And on top of that, another 18% view HR as a strategic partner.
Only 21% viewed HR as mainly a transactional or administrative business function, and just 15% viewed it as an enforcement function to oversee compliance issues.

Not on the same page

What is troubling, however, is that HR and the C-suite do not appear to be on the exact same page when it comes to what the top workforce challenge is for their businesses currently.
Here are the top challenges as perceived by HR:

  1. Maintaining high levels of employee engagement (38%)
  2. Developing the next generation of organizational leaders (31%)
  3. Maintaining competitive compensation offerings (29%)
  4. Retaining our highest-performing employees (26%), and
  5. Retaining employees overall (25%).

Here are the top challenges as perceived by the C-suite:

  1. Retaining highest-performing employees (28%)
  2. Maintaining competitive benefits offerings (22%)
  3. Retaining employees overall (22%)
  4. Maintaining high levels of employee engagement (21%), and
  5. Maintaining competitive compensation offerings (20%).

What’s even more troubling here is that HR’s top challenge — employee engagement — nearly crack the C-suite’s top five.
For employers, this indicates that a “meeting of the minds” between HR and the rest of the organization’s leadership cabinet is likely needed to come to a consensus on what the top HR goal will be for 2016 and beyond.