On the final day of the CEB’s ReimagineHR summit in Washington, DC, last Friday, dozens of heads of HR and other HR executives gathered to discuss the future of the Chief HR Officer role. A panel of heads of HR, including Julie Gravallese of the MITRE Corporation, Arielle Meloul-Wechsler of Air Canada, and Pascale Meyran of Michael Kors, made their best predictions about the ways in which their jobs will change and the new challenges that will face CHROs in the coming years. Here are some of the highlights from that discussion:
CHROs Are Being Called Upon to Protect Their Organizations’ Reputations
The proliferation of social media allows crises of any magnitude to impact the brand of an organization. In addition to the external damage this can cause, employees become frustrated if they feel their organization is not defending them. Heads of HR will have to enable their employees to be brand ambassadors, promoting the reputation of the organization with a heavy social media presence. In an era when corporate scandals can develop quickly and generate misinformation, employees need to be equipped with quick facts with which to defend the organization on any platform.
The Magnitude and Frequency of Change Will Be a Continuous Challenge
With entire industries being disrupted on a daily basis, employees will need to show tremendous stamina and resilience to manage change in the long term. Heads of HR need the emotional intelligence to recognize when change becomes overwhelming and which employees are unable to keep up. Continuous change can scare employees who see an uncertain future in the news every day, and heads of HR will be expected to listen and show empathy. It is important to be transparent with employees and tell them that change is expected, even if the final nature of that change is still unknown.
The US workforce includes roughly 9.8 million veterans, roughly 32 percent of whom served in the armed forces after 2001. These veterans and their spouses have become a focal point for progressive employers seeking to hire from a diverse and often highly qualified pool of talent that is often underutilized. Thanks in part to these efforts, as well as the work of many organizations dedicated to connecting vets with job opportunities, the number of unemployed veterans in the US has declined substantially over the past four years.
Organizations that make veteran hiring a priority do so not only out of respect for their service and sacrifice, but also because they recognize the value veterans can bring to their organization as employees. Our analysis at CEB, now Gartner, finds that veterans are slightly more productive than non-veterans and have lower turnover, by 2-3 percentage points. In fact, the average veteran employee contributes an additional $7,500 to an organization’s overall performance.
Yet despite the extra value veterans have to offer, many employers still shy away from hiring them due to misconceptions about their characteristics, abilities, and needs. At CEB’s ReimagineHR event in Washington, DC, on Thursday, Chris Ford, founder & CEO of the National Association of Veteran-Serving Organizations (NAVSO), led a panel discussion on strategies for recruiting and retaining veterans with Mark Erwin, Special Assistant to the Secretary at the US Department of Veterans Affairs, Ret. Major General Paulette Risher, Chief Programs Officer at Still Serving Veterans, and Dan Goldenberg, executive director of the Call of Duty Endowment. The panelists shared a number of important and in some cases surprising facts about veterans in the American workforce:
1) Veterans Can Be Hard to Find and Don’t Always Self-Identify
The first thing an organization needs to do if it wants to hire veterans is find them. Veterans can come into the hiring process through three different pipelines: While some may come straight out of the military, Erwin explained that fully half of the 250,000 veterans who transition to civilian life each year use their Post-9/11 GI Bill benefits to attend college, and so will be found through campus recruiting. Countless others, meanwhile, are already in the workforce, but they are not always easy to spot.
While organizations have been using health and wellness programs to engage employees for decades, in recent years the rewards space has moved toward a more holistic view of employee wellbeing. Today, companies are feeling pressure from all sides to enhance their employee wellbeing programs. Employees are hearing more about the wellbeing benefits their friends are being offered at other organizations, our peers are innovating in this space, and vendors are constantly coming up with new services to differentiate themselves as they compete for our business.
Facing these combined pressures, companies have greatly expanded their wellbeing offerings in the past five years: Whereas in 2013, the average company had four wellbeing programs, by 2017 that number had quadrupled to 16. In a peer benchmarking session at the CEB ReimagineHR summit in Washington, DC, last Thursday, a plurality of rewards leaders said they expected wellness or wellbeing to be their number one area of change in 2018, more than healthcare or retirement.
Budgets for wellbeing, however, are not growing: Most companies we surveyed at CEB said their wellbeing expenditures were either remaining the same or decreasing from 2016 to 2017. As demand grows while budgets stagnate, many HR functions are being asked to do more with less in their employee wellbeing programs. Here are some facts for total rewards leaders to keep in mind as they try to get the most bang for their wellbeing buck.
Holistic Wellbeing Programs Have a Real Impact on Engagement
The shift in the conversation from wellness to wellbeing reflects a growing awareness that maximizing employee productivity and minimizing health care costs involves not just preventing or managing diseases, or even promoting physical fitness, but also helping to mitigate stress. That’s how psychological, emotional, and even financial wellbeing became part of the more holistic offerings we’re seeing today.
And there’s a good reason for this change, because organizations with well-designed holistic wellbeing programs see levels of employee engagement nearly 10 percent higher than average. Designing a progressive wellbeing program has as much positive impact on engagement as letting employees choose their own hours, and three times as much impact as providing dental and vision benefits.
At the CEB’s ReimagineHR event in Washington, DC, last Wednesday, over 60 diversity and inclusion leaders and other HR leaders came together to discuss where their organizations were in their D&I journey and how best to continue advancing it. Participants in Wednesday’s session answered a series of live survey questions and engaged in a dialogue with panelists Nellie Borrero, Senior Global Inclusion and Diversity Managing Director at Accenture, and Karen Wilkins-Mickey, Director of Diversity and Inclusion at Alaska Air Group, Inc.
The conversation focused on strategy and metrics as well as branding and communications. Although D&I leaders continue to face many of the same issues raised in last year’s peer benchmarking session, a few new themes emerged from the conversation on Wednesday:
1) D&I Leaders Must Align Their Efforts to the Organization’s Values
Gaining buy-in for advancing D&I is still a challenge for many D&I leaders. However, some organizations have found success by embedding D&I efforts into business objectives. When D&I is connected to initiatives or goals the organization already values, senior leaders come to see how it relates to their day-to-day work. One participant said their organization does this by tying measurements of diversity and inclusion to business results in order to communicate the impact of D&I on the business.
Organizations beginning their D&I journey may be tempted to move quickly to get to the more progressive D&I initiatives, but skipping foundational steps such as aligning D&I efforts to organizational values can slow down their ability to move forward in the future. “Don’t jump the gun in your D&I journey,” Wilkins-Mickey said. “Even if you are a senior D&I professional, if your company is new to this space, you need to meet them where they are.”
At the CEB ReimagineHR summit in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, dozens of heads of HR and other HR leaders participated in a discussion with a panel of experts on the changing nature of corporate governance and its impact on HR executives. The panelists included Holly Gregory, partner and co-chair at Sidley Austin, LLP; Dan Kaplan, managing partner at Heidrick & Struggles; and Lori Zyskowski, partner at Gibson, Dunn, & Crutcher LLP.
The panelists brought a wide range of experience in advising heads of HR, CEOs, and boards of directors, as well as developing corporate governance in-house and advising externally on both good governance and governance crisis situations. The panelists shared some of the common concerns that are keeping board members and CEOs awake at night. Here are some of the key points from Wednesday’s discussion:
Boards Face Anxiety Over the Issues They Don’t Know Exist
In a challenging environment of disruption, expanded scrutiny, and higher expectations from society, boards need to ask the question, “What don’t we know?” Hidden patterns of employee misconduct, a body of claims around harassment, or compliance issues all represent a failure of corporate governance.
Heads of HR help boards by creating an information system that methodically elevates issues to the board. CHROs have their fingers on the pulse of the company and are involved in employee misconduct, issues with supervisors, harassment claims, etc. It is critical that these issues be surfaced, and CHROs that are not getting traction with their organization’s general counsel when these issues arise need to show courage in escalating them to the CEO or the remuneration or audit committees on the board.
The Speed at Which Governance Crises Emerge Has Accelerated
Boards don’t have as much time to respond to problems as they used to. In an era of viral media, an organization’s customers, investors, and competitors often find out about crises before the Board does. With no time to plan a reaction, it is critical that boards have the information they need and that the organization is able to respond rapidly. That means heads of HR need to develop teams that can quickly pivot and adjust the way things operate in the company.
In today’s business environment, digitalization is reshaping organizations from top to bottom and HR is taking on a new role as a strategic partner rather than an order taker. Our latest recruiting research at CEB (now Gartner) presented to attendees at the ReimagineHR summit in Washington, DC, on Wednesday, looks at the confluence of these two trends and encourages recruiting leaders to adapt to the digital enterprise by shifting from a service mindset to a leadership mindset. This means moving from fixed to continuous planning, from a responsive hiring process to a predictive hiring process, and from business-focused job design to a candidate-focused approach.
The end result of these three strategic changes is decreased cost-per-hire, reduced time to fill for new roles, and an increase in recruiter productivity. CEB Recruiting Leadership Council members can read our full study, Recruiting for the Digital Enterprise.
There are external forces driving the urgency of this shift: Businesses are rapidly evolving their products, the way they deliver them, and the processes that support them. Along with increased talent mobility, this has led to increased volatility of hiring needs and greater uncertainty. It’s time for recruiting to take charge.
Many HR executives are understandably worried about the effects of making such a bold change to their organization’s recruiting strategy. Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions we get from recruiting leaders when it comes to making that transformation from serving the business to leading talent acquisition: