Is Your HR Department Really That Forward-Thinking?

A Betterworks' survey reveals that managers don't see HR departments as forward-thinking.
By: | April 10, 2019 • 2 min read
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Would you consider your HR team “forward-thinking?”

According to Betterworks’ Continuous Performance Management Survey, 78 percent of managers don’t think so. Only 43 percent of managers say that HR departments adopt new ideas, technologies and practices before a majority of other departments.

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The survey included 750 people, 379 of whom were non-HR managers, the remaining 377 were HR professionals working within U.S.-based companies with more than 500 employees. Responses weren’t wholly negative, despite the not forward-thinking jab. The top five positive statements made by managers about their HR department are:

  • HR technologies [are] easy for me to use correctly (75 percent);
  • HR does a great job supporting me when it comes to recruiting new members of my team (75 percent);
  • HR technologies [are] easy for my team to use correctly (72 percent);
  • HR processes are easy to follow (67 percent); and
  • HR does a great job of supporting me when it comes to developing my team’s skills (66 percent).

An interesting trend revealed in the survey suggests that the makeup of an HR team significantly impacts the forward-thinking influence HR can have on the business—the most impactful have a CHRO who reports directly to the CEO. This C-suite CHRO is 69 percent more likely to serve as a business partner to other departments and 25 percent more likely to say they care about making work experiences better for everyone. They’re also 44 percent more likely to agree that within their organization the HR function is well-respected.

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The survey also found that CHROs in strategic positions within a business tend to expect more from performance-management programs, which they view “as a way to positively impact multiple business-critical outcomes such as building and maintaining coaching cultures, developing new leaders, and motivating and engaging their workforce.”

What’s more, HR teams with C-level leadership are 29 percent more likely to view themselves as leading the pack in adopting new ideas, processes and technologies. For example, organizations with these leaders are 38 percent more likely to implement employee pulse surveys and 24 percent more likely to agree that a key part of HR’s job is to ensure managers are having the right conversations with their team members.

“Forward-thinking CEOs understand that aligning, developing and continuously motivating their workforce is crucial to achieving and sustaining competitive advantage,” says Doug Dennerline, CEO at Betterworks. “They demonstrate this commitment by hiring strong HR leaders who report directly to them and support them in creating an outstanding employee experience for maximum impact.”

Danielle Westermann King is a former staff writer for HRE.