Executive Leadership

Concerning HR budgets in the 2023 SHRM “State of the Workplace Report”.

I am concerned about some of the data contained within the 2023 “State of the Workplace Report”. It appears to me that organization amy inadvertently be misallocating dollars in already constrained organizational HR budgets. I spent 20 years in corporate healthcare as a leader working closely with HR departments. Almost everyone I know is employed. I have seen the challenges, dynamics, and nuances that HR departments face when operating in the healthcare space. In the US we tend to view the role of HR as a supply chain. HR should obtain talent, develop resources to retain and grow a workforce. Train leaders to perform. I have never been so sure that that is HR’s best use of their time. Many of these responsibilities should be performed by leaders, not outsourced or “centralized” to HR.

This post is not intended to be critical but to offer a paradigm shift. Many organizations have their people priorities inverted. Much of the reasoning behind mixed up people priorities is well intended and even logical. Nevertheless, as the adage goes- “the road to hell is paved with good intentions”

State of the Workplace Report

Take for example the picture included on this post. It is taken from the annual “Society of Human Resources (SHRM) annual “State of the Workplace” report. Many organizations are still under the delusion that:

  1. Organizational efforts need to be spent first and foremost on getting talent.
  2. HR employees who are better compensated will perform more effectively
  3. DE&I needs to “be addressed” rather than prioritized
  4. Human capital management data or people analytics should be the least useful spend of all budgetary increases.

Imagine flipping the line items around use data to drive your people strategy. An organization people analytics should be the most important spend and reviewed daily or at least at the same frequency in which the financial are scrutinized.

DE&I, if your workforce/workplace does not exemplify acceptance, unity, and inclusivity, none of the other organizational spends will be worthwhile. It’s time to stop checking boxes and understand and embrace what this means. Its not woke, an organizational risk factor to be remedied or a PC tactic to employ. It’s central to the current and even more so the future of employment in the US.

The last spend I’ll call out is leadership development. Smack dab in the middle of the graphic.  Organizational leaders are responsible for operationalizing strategies, budgets, and tactics. I believe it is a leadership failure when organizational priorities do not reflect a balance between effective human capital management and organizational objectives. A leader that doesn’t put people first is not a leader at all. Let’s align incentives and make leader compensation dependent on employee engagement, retention, and development.

Leave a Comment