HR chastened by bosses’ poor perception of profession

HR chiefs told Personnel Today last week of their “disappointment” in the profession’s inability to convince chief executives of the value the function adds to businesses, after a damning report from consultancy Pricewaterhouse Coopers, (PwC).

Published at its annual conference in Rome, Fit for business: Keeping HR relevant in a changing world, showed that just 43% of the 1,150 CEOs surveyed were satisfied with the ability of their HR department to compete for talent.

Yet 89% said working on their organisation’s people management was one of their top priorities.

John Williams, global head of HR at financial services firm ING, told Personnel Today: “I am disappointed at the chief executives’ opinions of HR. While it is very hard to prove return on investment, it is up to HR to do so.”

Williams advised HR to pick one business area where it can show that people investment is linked with profit, to gain organisational respect.

“HR [professionals] should show their chief executives that the turnover rate of people who go on training is better than for those who don’t, for example.”

Earlier this year, PwC found that two-thirds of UK CEOs predicted changes in the way they recruit, motivate and develop employees.

Stephen Battalia, head of team HR at foods manufacturer Nestlé UK said HR must lead the changes.

“It’s really important that HR teams have that discussion with their chief executives, about what value they add to profits and turnover,” he said. “It’s worrying there still seems to be a divide in HR – that some [HR] people do not have business acumen.”

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