The HR Revolution

Chief Human Resources Officers have spent much of the past two decades lobbying their C-suite colleagues. "For years, CHROs have said they want to become…

| August 07, 2018

Chief Human Resources Officers have spent much of the past two decades lobbying their C-suite colleagues. "For years, CHROs have said they want to become more strategic partners to CEOs, COOs, company presidents and boards," says PwC Workforce of the Future Leader Carrie Duarte. "That time has arrived." Now that C-suite colleagues and boards view talent as a defining strategic challenge of the digital era, CHROs face a bigger, but appealing, challenge: delivering on this mandate. 

"This is a fantastic time to be a CHRO," says Bain & Company Partner Dan Schwartz, who leads this firm's Talent and Capabilities product and CHRO forum. It's also a daunting phase for HR chiefs—as Willis Towers Watson Global Talent Business Leader Suzanne McAndrew demonstrates by violating her profession's sacred rule of threes. She plows through a list of seven major changes to organizational talent management capabilities before asserting that "HR functions must disrupt or be disrupted." 

The digital transformation of industries and companies marks the biggest disruption roiling workforces, talent management capabilities and HR functions, but there exist several other drivers of change that would qualify as weighty if the impacts of advancing technology were not so all-consuming. Unemployment rates in the U.S. recently reached a 10-year low. Many global regions still face a growing demographics crunch; others are undergoing major social changes deeply affecting the employee-employer compact, diversity and inclusion, leadership decision-making (and tenure), and stakeholder relationships. Earlier this summer demonstrators descended on the Salesforce Tower to protest the software giant's customer relationship with U.S. Customs and Border Protection as immigrant families were being separated at the U.S.-Mexico border. A week later, Texas Instruments' CEO stepped down due to code of conduct violations. Despite the stakes involved, neither event garnered more than a blip in the business news cycle.  

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