the pressure is on: how HR’s strategic value is evolving.

February 5, 2018 Cindy Keaveney

Are you delivering the resources that accelerate your entire organization forward?

Some forward-thinking organizations are progressively transforming their HR department to lose the “HR.” In the view of some C-suite leaders, “HR” is a thing of the past, a throwback to the days when the function focused on systems, models and processes rather than what executives need it to do: drive business goals through talent management.

Take the case of Banfield Pet Hospital, the largest privately owned general veterinary practice in the United States. Last year, its president, Brian Garish, sought to transform its HR department, which is now called People & Organization. Garish told Forbes that he wanted the function to prioritize talent development, an initiative that turned out to be harder than expected when the company looked for a new human capital leader. After searching externally and finding only candidates that still clung to the old-school ideas, Banfield promoted internally.

Garish is among an emerging number of executives who increasingly expect human capital leaders to understand the needs of the business and address them through talent acquisition and people development. In no other way can the CHRO or chief people officer make a greater impact on topline performance than by delivering high-quality talent and leaders in a timely manner. As Garish told Forbes: “They can truly deliver value and the vision you want to create.”

In our 2018 Talent Trends survey, we found that most C-suite and human capital leaders agree with this assessment. An overwhelming majority (84%) of survey respondents say the work that talent leaders do will prepare their organization for the future, and 77% believe HR deserves a voice with the organization regarding strategic business decisions.

As competition for talent and the skills gap grow, ensuring your company has access to talent is one of the most important contributors toward fulfilling on business strategy. More importantly, executive leadership recognizes that their HR leaders have the skills needed to execute on this mandate. As a result, now more than ever, the C-suite is turning to their talent leaders for guidance on all kinds of strategic decisions.


In fact, many HR leaders have demonstrated their strategic business thinking so effectively that they’ve risen to the CEO role. To name a few, GM chief executive Mary Barra spent three years as the company’s global vice president of HR before being named CEO in 2014. Lisa Weber was president of MetLife’s individual business/auto & home division after serving as the head of HR from 1998 to 2001. Former Xerox CEO Anne Mulcahy also held the title of vice president of HR before her rise to the corner office.

If you’ve been in the profession for some time, you’ve undoubtedly witnessed the evolution of the HR executive, whose role in the past focused on benefits, payroll and compliance. These areas often still remain under HR, but they are just a small part of how you fulfill the growing expectations of your company’s C-suite. With business leaders counting on you to take a bigger role in business strategy, how will you be the indispensable advisory resource they need?

How will you respond with the business intelligence and prescriptive ideas that will align your workforce to the growth objectives of the company? It all begins with insights — on the ambitions of the CEO, your industry, the talent market and the impact of technology on the workplace. In other words, you need accurate knowledge about all the forces impacting your business to develop a long-term talent strategy.

Our 2018 Talent Trends Report is a good place to start. It offers an in-depth look at the top 10 trends affecting the world of work this year, and presents insights on the talent practices and perceptions of C-suite and human capital leaders in 17 countries. By understanding the complexities that are building in your workforce, you can optimize talent utilization and workforce planning. The report also contains practical tips for addressing everything from talent analytics to talent quality. You can get your copy here.

The pressure is on for you to deliver a comprehensive and effective talent strategy that business executives can rely on. It won’t be easy, but don’t stress. Forge ahead with confidence knowing the insights you have can guide you forward.

about the author

Cindy Keaveney

Cindy Keaveney is a leading business and human capital executive with more than 30 years of experience transforming organizations by building high-performing teams that produce profitable growth, develop industry-leading products and create corporate strategies in complex, changing environments. As the leader of Randstad Sourceright’s global HR team, Cindy ensures that the best strategies are in place to deliver a stand-out talent experience for all of our people. This encompasses driving best practices and new approaches when it comes to talent acquisition, talent management, engagement and development, and further enabling cross-cultural collaboration and talent mobilization.

More Content by Cindy Keaveney
Previous Article
HRDive: employers invest in HR technology to improve the employee experience.
HRDive: employers invest in HR technology to improve the employee experience.

With early 2018 job reports highlighting the acceleration of a candidates' job market, the pressure is on f...

Next Article
Hunt Scanlon: companies adjust to candidate-driven job market.
Hunt Scanlon: companies adjust to candidate-driven job market.

Get insights on how you can harness the power of talent analytics, recruiting robotics and workplace techno...