Engaged WorkforceInnovation

CEO’s Letter: The Importance of Leadership

Our CHRO of the Year Awards comes to EMEA.

By Elliot H. Clark, CEO

HR is transforming at an astounding pace. Long gone are the days of only administration and compliance—the new gestalt is about employee productivity, talent management, and contribution to organizational performance. And, oh, keep doing that administration and compliance thing. While some decry the layering of responsibility on the HR suite, one thing is abundantly clear: The role of HR is growing.

So, what is next? I’m not sure exactly, but I know what is necessary to meet the current need. Every CHRO we talk to tells us the same thing: Now is the time to have the most talented workforce within the company’s budgetary parameters and to have highly comprehensive data reporting that offers the ability to analyze trends and predict future needs.

In an era when things are changing and innovation is the buzzword of the day, it is important to recognize the leaders in the HR profession who are pushing the boundaries and redefining the role of HR through innovation. This why we started the HRO Today CHRO of the Year Awards. On the cover of this month’s issue is Jenn Mann, Vice President and CHRO of SAS, who has made HR integral to the company’s success and has won so many workplace culture awards it is mind boggling (see page 8). However, how Jenn did it is not. Rejecting conventional HR practices, she uses data, technology, and a broad variety of programming and communication platforms to manage the workforce.

This year we bring the successful model for our CHRO of the Year Awards to our HRO Today Forum Europe, November 10-12 in Amsterdam. Learn more about the nominees on page 11 and at www.hrotodayforum.com/eu. Each global market has distinctions and unique challenges so we lean on local experts to help our editorial team for the first year of awards, and after that, prior year’s winners become the judging panel. Each year we gain additional insights into the issues that affect the top of the HR suite, and these comments actually help us program the themes for subsequent years.

Leadership is about taking chances and being exposed for both success and failure. Success at many companies has led HR to becoming an increasingly potent force in the boardroom as employers learn how important and how impactful the difference is between the performance of an engaged workforce versus an unengaged workforce. At no point in history has technology played a bigger role in the success of HR. From suite-based solutions like Workday, SAP Employee Central, or Oracle Fusion, we have seen a continuing transformation to cloud-based platforms. In addition, talent management software, workforce planning, and vendor management software have all become important parts of the HR software landscape. Picking the best combination can be a maddening trip to the virtual HR technology shopping mall. Yet the top companies do this well. How HR is using software to engage the workforce is changing, but more importantly, the way employees are using technology to engage with the employer is changing almost more rapidly. And as Millennials populate a greater percentage of the workforce, their use of technology and the type of work engagement term they seek may permanently change the employer-employee relationship.

The best HR leaders, like Jenn Mann and her fellow 2015 North American winners, were picked because of their ability to navigate the currents in these changing waters. Those that win from our esteemed global finalists are out in front of market trends, shaping the next phase of HR in Europe.

Tags: Engaged Workforce, Innovation

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