Every time we speak to an HR Director they will – almost inevitably – emphasise the need to invest in talent.
This investment, invariably, leads to better business performance. Leigh Lafever-Ayer, HR Director - UK and Ireland at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, informed us earlier this month that “HR is key as great customer service comes in selecting great talent to build a culture of service”.
She went on to say: “Then, we have to develop world class customer service managers and leaders, so talent development is crucial to the organisation in order for us to grow our business and provide opportunities for advancement to our employees.”
Speaking to us separately, James Roberts, Organisational & HR Director at Aggregate Industries, named the “need to focus on further developing the strategic workforce plan and nurturing talent” as the first area of focus in his new job.
Sometimes, though, this falls on deaf ears. Karen Jones, HR Director at housebuilder and construction firm Redrow, outlined to us last month how HR can sell a concept to the Board. She said HR must “present [their] case to the Board in numbers and show them what the cost [is]”.
She continued: “The latter, we have found, can be shown to be a savvier investment in the business – and in the majority of cases it is.”
Worry not though, as HR Directors may have a new ally in the Boardroom over this – the Chief Financial Officer.
The 2017 Global Business and Spending Outlook by American Express and Institutional Investor found that investment in recruitment and retention is a key priority over the coming year for CFOs. Most (89%) anticipate the staffing numbers to swell and just under half (48%) will increase investment in talent as a result.
Jose Carvalho, Senior Vice President - Global Commercial Payments Europe at American Express, says: “With changing times ahead it’s going to be more important than ever for companies to have the right people with the right skills in place to push their businesses forward. It would be easy for CFOs to tighten the purse strings until the economic landscape becomes clearer, so it’s positive to see that far from cutting jobs, they’re investing in both new and existing people.’’