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Two thirds of HR leaders feel undervalued by their CEO

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Two thirds of HR leaders feel undervalued by their CEO

Execs don’t recognize the strategic value of the function.

According to a global survey by HR firm Harvey Nash, despite boards consistently ranking human capital as a top priority, two thirds of HR professionals believe the chief HR leader is undervalued by the CEO, and almost half believe the HR leader is considered less important to the board than the top financial leader such as the CFO.

When assessing how HR is seen by the wider business, beyond the board, two-thirds of HR leaders are happy with the image and reputation of their function, suggesting that whilst operationally HR is performing well, its strategic value is not being fully seen by the top tier of the organization.

Gaining board buy-in isn't solely about presenting KPIs and metrics.

The survey reveals differences in approaches between the HR leaders who feel valued and undervalued by the board, with the valued leaders being more likely to:

  • Focus on employee engagement as a strategy (64% versus 58% for undervalued HR Leaders)
  • Develop Very Strong relationships with the operations of the business (62% vs 50%) and Sales (39% vs 28%)
  • Consider Culture and Values the single most important function of HR (27% vs 22%)
  • Want HR to assume direct responsibility for HR activity, rather than empower the business to do more HR for itself (52% vs 44%)

Interestingly, despite the majority of HR leaders rating data / management information as an important tool within the HR function, HR leaders who felt valued by the board were less likely to believe this (59% vs 53%), suggesting that gaining board buy-in isn't solely about presenting KPIs and metrics.

Robert Grimsey, director, Harvey Nash Group said: "There is no doubt that boards see the people agenda as a key priority, however many CEOs are making important human capital decisions without the involvement of HR, because it is seen as an “engine room” function. Things are changing though and over the five years we have conducted the Harvey Nash HR Survey the HR function has become increasingly influential."

 

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