I was delighted to be asked by Leathwaite to contribute to its 2019 Global HR Leadership Report.
This data-rich document is the result of a poll of 1000 Global HR leaders including Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs), Heads of Specialist Functions (including Talent, Reward, Learning and Recruiting) and those at the vanguard of HR Transformation (including HR COOs and Heads of Analytics).
Retaining female talent
The Report highlights the continued importance HR Professionals are placing on Talent Acquisition and Retention, coupled with the need for a more diverse and inclusive workforce.
Since 2003, Women in the City (WiC) has championed the progress of female talent working in professional services within the City of London and has shone a spotlight on both exisiting and future leaders. However, despite everyone’s best efforts, women are simply not progressing to senior levels. Motherhood is the most usually cited reason, yet statistically many women leave the corporate world by the age of 38, regardless of whether they have children. They leave not because they’ve lost ambition but because they simply don’t want to work in a culture where their values and needs aren’t considered.
It’s not surprising, then, that Culture features as the second most important issue concerning HR professionals and highlights its elevation from being seen historically as an intangible “nice to have”, to a strategic lever that today sits as item No.1 in many CEOs’ in-trays.
Increasingly the traditional norms and behaviours associated with corporate life are being rejected by both men and women who recognize that unsociable hours and hierarchy in a heavily politicized environment are not necessarily universal. People have choice. In my view, building an inclusive culture that respects individuals’ needs and desires has never been a greater priority than it is today.
Against this backdrop, one might argue that the HR leaders of today (and tomorrow) have a somewhat daunting to-do list. However, I would argue that that these topics are not to be ring-fenced as “HR issues” but are the responsibility of the broader firmwide leadership, from Chairperson down. Good quality HR will provide the structure, strategy and skills necessary to drive progress and HR for this reason has possibly never enjoyed such a high profile.
Yes, talent is everywhere but in the knowledge economy in particular talent has never been more portable and we are seeing a flight-to-quality where employee brand and culture are concerned.
I found the Report a fascinating read and, whether or not you are a HR professional, I hope you will too.