As the highest-ranking executive in a company CEOs usually oversee business operations, directing the flow of resources within a company. They should make major corporate decisions, pre-empt forthcoming challenges and dictate strategy. Most importantly, CEOs have an executive view of the business that allows them to synthesise the projects that individual departments are working on – uniting employees, business, and customers.
However, CEOs aren’t the only people responsible for overseeing the success of a business; HR plays a pivotal role too. For a business to provide products or services that satisfy customer demands, meet objectives and maximise profits, they need the right people. As the dedicated people function, HR is, on the whole, responsible for recruiting the right talent for the business. Therefore, to ensure recruitment always matches business needs, both short and long-term, does HR need to get into the CEO mindset and take a more holistic view of the business? One that considers forthcoming challenges as well as the future of work to make calculated hiring decisions that will match the business’ strategy.
HR takes the lead
“Human Resources isn’t a thing we do. It’s the thing that runs our business,” explains Steve Wynn, CEO of Wynn Resorts Limited, a US-headquartered casino group. Working from Wynn’s thinking, HR is a key part of the business strategy so therefore needs to keep a business mindset when hiring: always thinking long-term and not opting for the short-haul when it comes to filling an empty seat in the office. Ewen MacPherson, People Director at Havas Group Media, agrees with this point of view. He explains that HR already sits in a unique position – with access to business and people data - so it is about utilising this vantage to identify talent which translates into a truly strategic hire. “This makes HR like the Queen in a game of chess," he adds, " there is no other piece that can move so fluidly when there is space and therefore be so connected with the business. From a talent perspective point of view, [HR thinking like CEOs] means that they are plugged in at a level where they can anticipate changes and challenges and proactively respond to solutions before you get there.” For example, if HR can pre-empt skills shortages in future, alongside knowing where the market is headed, they know which gaps to plug and can build this into their recruitment strategy.