Businesses have been grappling with extreme disruption over the past five years – Accenture found that the level of disruption has increased by 200% since 2017.
Unfortunately, they are far from out of the woods yet. 2023 is seeing a continuation of many of the 2022 trends – the ‘Great Resignation’ is going nowhere (leaving businesses grappling with talent and skills shortages), and the world is on the brink of a recession.
This situation begs the question, what must organizations and leaders do to thrive?
According to a new Accenture survey of over 1,000 CEOs and CHROs, the answer is complete reinvention of business strategy, with a particular focus on digital transformation, as well as embracing new opportunities to access and create talent (and unlock individuals’ potential).
Currently only 5% of organizations are doing this, and a key contributing factor to their success is having CHROs at the heart of the company reinvention.
The issue is that just one in three CHROs are actually becoming growth-focused leaders that can drive business reinvention. Now is the time for that change.
Rethinking the role of the CHRO
Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture, wrote: “You need to look at your CHRO as being a business leader who’s driving your growth and reinvention. And you need to empower them to follow through on that mandate.”
The best place to start is to look at what the 29% of CHROs are doing to succeed – this can act as food for thought and inspiration for organizations struggling in this period of disruption.
First of all, growth-focused top CHROs have the skills to lead. Accenture noted this means financial acumen, being data and tech savvy, as well as being very strategic around talent development.
These CHROs are twice as likely to connect data, tech and people to drive growth, and are much more focused on how tech can solve problems around skills and talent gaps. They are twice as likely to invest in people’s skills development, and recognize that tech has a crucial role to play.
They also must break through their siloed ways of working and build connections, both internally with other members of the C-Suite and with their external networks. This will enable them to put their skills to work and contribute to business success.
Accenture found those 29% of CHROs who are growth executives are four times more likely to have strong relationships of mutual influence across the entire C-Suite – including the CEO, CTO, CFO and COO.
“With their skills and enterprise-wide impact, a new type of CHRO is stepping up to lead their C-suite peers in connecting data, technology and people and cultivating collaboration”, stated the report.
Of course, even for the CHROs that have spent time honing these skills, they cannot make a real difference to business growth without the right conditions.
Although 89% of the CEOs surveyed by Accenture said that the CHRO have a crucial role in controlling the businesses future growth, but only 45% are actually creating the conditions to lead on business success.
CEOs need to get very serious about positioning CHROs as central to profit and loss decisions, and give them financial responsibility outside of their normal HR purview.
Yes, it is a challenging time, but that doesn’t mean organizations should rest on their laurels. If companies want to thrive in the future, and reach that 5% who have reaped the benefits of business reinvention, leaders need to be bold.
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