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Canadian CEOs view HR executives as trusted confidants who provide strategic value to organizations


By: 
Date: May 19 2011

TORONTO, May 19 /CNW/ - There has long been a myth that HR professionals are 'supporting cast members' vs. having a 'starring role' in modern-day business.  A new survey of Canadian CEOs by the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) reveals that HR does play a lead part at the boardroom table but has more to do to become the star.
In conjunction with Knightsbridge Human Capital Solutions, the survey—The Role and Future of HR: The CEO's Perspective—asked a series of questions of 20 Canadian CEOs, including the value HR brings to the business; how well HR has performed over the past several years; what CEOs consider as their biggest human capital challenges; and what they look for in a Chief Human Resource Officer.
Results reveal disconnect
While many HR executives feel their contributions aren't valued by chief executives, the CEOs view strong HR leadership as critical to the success of the organization. Overall, the survey revealed CEOs see their Chief HR Officers as valued contributors to the business; and trusted advisors who often play the role of confidant to the CEO and other executives. They believe HR is on an equal footing with other business areas.
"In fact, the executives felt their HR leads were instrumental in guiding their organizations through the recent economic downturn," said HRPA CEO Bill Greenhalgh.
"One half had experienced big growth during the period, while the other half underwent significant downsizing. In both cases, HR's ability to manage workforce levels and workforce effectiveness was critical," concluded Mr. Greenhalgh.
Room for improvement
However, the CEOs did identify areas for improvement. Many felt HR executives fall short of really understanding business challenges, largely because they don't get "in the trenches" enough. The CEOs said HR needs to get out of their "ivory towers"—where they are perceived as too often developing impractical policies and programs—and better understand the challenges of supervisors and front-line managers.
As one CEO stated, "If you don't have a business-savvy HR team, it's time to re-tool it!"
Moving out of the recession, the CEOs confirmed that HR professionals continue to play a significant part at the boardroom table, leading the organization on key challenges including managing across generations, continuous change management and communications in the age of social media.
About the Survey
The survey was conducted by Knightsbridge Human Capital Solutions on behalf of HRPA through phone and in-person interviews of 20 CEOs representing a cross-section of Canadian organizations.
About the Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA)
The Human Resources Professionals Association (HRPA) is Canada's HR thought leader with more than 19,000 members in 28 chapters across Ontario. It connects its membership to an unmatched range of HR information resources, events, professional development and networking opportunities and annually hosts the world's second largest HR conference. In Ontario, HRPA issues the Certified Human Resources Professional (CHRP) designation, the national standard for excellence in human resources management and the Senior Human Resources Professional (SHRP) designation, reserved for high-impact HR leaders. www.hrpa.ca



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