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How HR can hire with a CEO mindset

Hiring like a boss is a must when it comes to matching talent with the business strategy...
How HR can hire with a CEO mindset
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HOW HR CAN HIRE WITH A CEO MINDSET


Hiring like a boss is a must when it comes to matching talent with the business strategy...

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.

This makes HR like the Queen in a game of chess; there is no other piece that can move so fluidly when there is space and therefore be so connected with the business

 

 

Struggling for the right skills

As ever, this is easier said than done. 2019 research from The Open University revealed that 91% of UK businesses currently struggle to find workers with the right skillsets. Whilst there are a perfect storm of reasons for this - employers are already citing the impact of Brexit on foreign talent; businesses are citing a drop-off in the skills they believe are needed for success; role specifications are evolving faster than the skillsets can keep up - could HR mitigate the issue by hiring with long-term business goals in mind? “From a skills perspective, if you have a mid or long-term business strategy, it might highlight a skills shortage that you might need to hire for, or if there is a big change coming down the line then it might cause instability or increased turnover so you might need to plan ahead. That can also be a good opportunity to bring new skills into the business,” MacPherson adds. His subtext being: get savvy to what the business needs before hiring.

Being market aware

Being aware of what marketplace changes - in terms of skillset requirements and what employees consider working life to be - are occurring will give HR better insights into what candidates are looking for from prospective employers. They can then lead the company into offering packages that will better entice candidates. By taking a broader view of talent, Alexandra Thompson, Head of People and Culture at Harvey Water Softeners explains that HR really need to be taking the lead when assessing the talent landscape. “If you look at Millennials and Gen Z coming into the business, they are looking for different things. [We need to be] thinking about what their needs will be and how they want to work so that we can adapt our offering. If we don’t keep track of what candidates want in this day and age then candidates will go somewhere else and we won’t get the best talent.”

Additionally, Kate Humber, HR Director at MADE.com explains that by taking a more executive view of the business, HR can consider the internal talent that they already have and whether it has the potential to plug future skills gaps. “When you’re working for a business that’s growing, you need to hire people who you think can ride that wave with you. You are not just looking externally; you’re also looking internally because there [will] be people internally that you can be pushing and developing as the business grows,” she explains. This mindset, to be aware of both the internal organisational landscape alongside external market conditions, is much like a CEO has to do all the time. If HR keeps this executive mindset when assessing talent, it is becoming more than a recruiter. It is identifying future challenges and skills shortages which are sensitively attuned to business need. In this way, the function will be able to make more strategic hiring decisions that will allow the business to prosper. After all, as the American author and star salesman Zig Ziglar once said: “You don’t build a business – you build people – and then people build the business.”

You need to hire people who you think can ride that wave with you

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