HR Observations: February 24, 2023

hr strategy hr trends Feb 24, 2023

The Hackett Group's latest CHRO Agenda spoke to HR executives about their top priorities for 2023. They were:

1. Develop executives who can lead a changing business environment

2. Recruit and retain staff in key business areas with critical skills

3. Act as a strategic advisor to the business

While 62% of businesses have a current plan in place to address recruiting and retention needs, only 39% have a plan to develop executives to help them through change. And only 23% have a plan in place to make them a strategic partner to the broader business.

HR folks know better than else that if you don't have a plan in place, things don't get done.

If you need help making a business case for change, let's talk.

COVID has shed light on other ways we can work. Reseachers discovered that shorter hours of work lead to:
Lower gender gaps in:
- unpaid hours of work
- paid hours of work
- wages
Lower GHG emissions per capita
Higher productivity
(UK Feminist Green New Deal Policy Paper, Feb 2022)

The UK 4-day work week experiment results are in and the results are very positive. Morale is up, turnover is down, productivity is up and revenue is up. Additionally, there will be all sorts of positive societal impacts including a positive impact on the climate and on the wage gap.

The key to four day work week success is good organizational design. 

Remember when they first started to float the idea of a four-day work week? Many people were convinced it would fail. After a pilot program in the UK involving 61 companies, the results were pretty impressive.

When companies in UK pilot shortened the work week to four days:
Revenue increased 1.4% over the trial period
Revenue increased 35% when compared to a previous time period
Resignations decreased by 57%
Work stress decreased
Burnout decreased
Satisfaction increased

92% of participating companies will continue with a four-day week.

The four day work week is working for employees and employers. What's good for people is good for organizations. Work can be better for everyone when systems are well-designed.

If you are a goodhearted company who wants happy employees while maintaining strong business results, let's talk.

I've been doing a major spring cleaning and came across an old HR conference badge from 1995. I was working in recruiting for a big consulting firm before moving into training and development with a Fortune 500 manufacturer. I worked with great people but remember feeling a little jaded that the HR role did not seem particularly human-centric at the time. People were really seen as resources and were talked about as one might talk about improving an assembly line belt. I also did not like the general lack of respect from the other managers. (One CEO asked me why I was in HR when I seemed "smart enough to go into finance.")

Well, I went into finance after grad school and guess what I discovered blew up the companies that looked fabulous on spreadsheets? Infighting, lack of engagement, lack of buy-in to ideas: all of that "HR stuff" that everyone dismissed.

I'm so glad that things have progressed since then and that the pace of change in HR has accelerated since 2020.

I love HR in 2023. I love that people are trying new things. I love that they are trying the four-day workweek rather than dismissing the idea. I love that HR is embracing its role as the values center of an organization and is positioning itself as a strategic partner to other parts of the business. When I worked in banking in the early 2000s, we were told to ignore HR. Now, CHRO is starting to be a bona fide path to CEO.

Still, the partnership needs to be stronger.

HR is still being left out of some mission critical discussions where numbers do not tell the whole story. Lots of savvy business decisions require the input of folks who have an intuitive sense of the business that comes from managing people issues every day. HR needs a role that reflects business in 2023 as we wrestle with the role of AI, burnout, and permanent hybrid work.

Let's make that happen.


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