Globally interconnected information networks and supply chains, pushed by rapidly evolving technology, are changing the meaning of work as well as the methods of managing it. Successfully coordinating the services and products needed for the decentralized organizations in this new work world is a demanding high wire act where the failure of making a hand-off at some link can make the whole system crash.
It is with this reality that Human Resources management is finding its seat in the C-Suite where risk management-related decisions are made. Here’s what Daniel Chait, CEO of Greenhouse, says is the part of his job that has the most impact:
“As a leader, my most important job is still to maximize our human capital — to set the values and culture, help us bring in the right talent, and make sure we get the most out of our people.”
Chait’s point that human capital is the center of his effort reflects the fact that the information economy stresses the value of the knowledge and analytical abilities of workers. Many of these workers cannot be easily replaced, so choosing them carefully and managing to keep the work interesting and rewarding is essential. At the same time, managing the many risks these workers present to the organization is increasingly falling into the domain of HR.
One important theme in Chait’s story is that the modern organization has to respond appropriately to social and cultural movements. In one example, he points out that the #metoo movement has potential to greatly help or hurt an organization. After NBC fired Matt Lauer, the Today ratings went up. Perhaps to see how the organization would respond to such a catastrophic event involving one of its most valuable assets.
Dynamics like this mean that HR needs a holistic and strategic view of workforce risks. The nature of the risks in this social media saturated environment makes a short view untenable, and dangerous. HR is now tasked with seeing both the likely shifts in the workforce ahead, and adapting company tactics to accommodate them. Even if the organization itself is undergoing changes in how it operates, where it operates, and what its core competencies are.
The old idea of a workforce within a mostly stable hierarchy has been replaced with one that uses independent contractors, or fluid partnerships, often at different places on the globe. Organizations have to replace command and control structures with relationships built on aligned incentives and common goals. They must take a holistic view of how their human capital strategies impact risk. These are today’s HR challenges, and they have impact at the strategic level. HR belongs in the C-Suite and must be engaged in the process of risk management.
Our new whitepaper, 9 HR Trends That Will Define Your Hiring and Retention Processes explores key trends impacting the dynamic world of work, and how to cope with the risks they impose.