In its research report, The Conference Board CEO Challenge 2013, American respondents ranked concerns about operational excellence, government regulation, customer relationships, and innovation above challenges related to human capital (human resources). This fifth-place ranking is the lowest among CEOs surveyed around the world. Let’s think about the role of human resources in all of this:
- HR should be directly involved with improving operational excellence by understanding total quality management and similar tools. Bring this same level of excellence to the HR function.
- HR should manage government regulation as it relates to human capital. This job is considerably more difficult in states like California and if you have offices abroad. There’s no substitute for audits, surveys, training, and running data to make sure you’re meeting these obligations.
- The quality of customer relationships depends primarily on how well HR supports the hiring of these employees. HR can also work with the marketing department to brand the importance of great customer service to the workforce.
- Finally, HR has to improve its willingness to innovate. Most people view HR as boring, unimaginative, non-innovative, etc. – largely because it is! How many HR experiments have you implemented in such areas as of hiring, retention, performance management, generating employee suggestions, and so forth?
This survey tells me that American CEOs continue to undervalue the opportunity in human resources. The challenge for HR professionals is to step up and give these executives a reason to change their minds.