When I was at Harvard Business School, one of the most scoffed-at courses we were required to take was “organizational behavior” or OB. We envisioned ourselves creating audacious strategies and new financial instruments — not dealing with mundane “HR issues”.
We couldn’t have been more wrong in our misplaced focus.
You can concoct the best strategies, or invest in the best financial instruments, but it all comes down to a leader’s ability to inspire members of the organization to change, shift, adapt and align around a singular effort. At Altimeter, our research found that the biggest obstacle to digital transformation is culture. Winning in the digital era isn’t about having the right technology — it’s about having the right leadership and team that can execute what is often a constrained and flawed strategy in the face of daunting competition.
That’s why at Altimeter we’re very focused on the role of the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) or its equivalent within organizations. We found that HR is often not sitting at the strategy table, or it plays a tangential role as an afterthought. That’s because HR has traditionally been involved in two areas: 1) Recruiting talent, and 2) Mitigating risk of underperforming or rogue employees. For most organizations — as it was for me and my business school classmates — these are ‘keep the business running’ priorities, not necessarily strategic.
HR’s Influence Extends Outside the Organization
What’s changed is that employees are now empowered in the digital era. They are connected not only to each other but also to a broader ecosystem and network outside of your company. Like it or not, they have power because of their ability to leverage mobile, social, and digital technologies, regardless of whether it’s provided by the company or not.
These empowered, connected employees can tap their influence on behalf of their company, and increasingly, they are choosing to work for organizations where they can contribute in a meaningful way to a shared mission and outcome. Or they can vote with their feet and go to a competitor.
I believe the digital transformation of HR and employee engagement will be a competitive advantage for organizations over the next five years -- if you can harness the enthusiasm of great employees, it will be reflected in the bottom line. Our research found that 63% of organizations cite culture as the biggest barrier to digital transformation. This means digital strategies are more of an HR issue than a technology issue. And yet, we treat culture as if it were an afterthought, rather than a starting point.
Issues around talent, culture, and the nature of work not only extend throughout the organization, but also externally. The landscape for CHROs has expanded exponentially to become strategic in nature -- and it’s up to the leaders of an organization to start working in a new way that reflects this reality.
How to Make the CHRO Role Strategic
Given the challenges of modern organization, it’s time to think differently about the role of the CHRO. Here are some of the organizational challenges where HR should play a central, strategic role -- it’s up to the CHRO and other members of the C-Suite to ensure that this happens.
The CHRO Digital Toolkit
In order to support and accomplish these strategic goals, CHROs must have the right digital tools and the team skilled to provide insight and take action. While every organization will need to assemble the platform that will best support their unique strategies, here are some guiding principles to consider:
If your organization wants to become more customer-centric, then developing talent that is focused on customers will be a key strategic asset that CHROs must bring to the boardroom table. Ensure that your CHRO has a place at that table, and the tools and resources to be able to execute on that strategy.
It’s time companies brought HR into the C-Suite.
How Altimeter will continue to do research as a part of Prophet Brand Strategy.
The start of a new era for Altimeter Group.
Why leaders are so hesitant to engage digitally, and what they can do to overcome that fear.
How leaders can make the most of the biggest digitally-focused event of the year.
What leaders need to do to earn the trust of their employees and consumers in the digital age.
A new book by Charlene Li tells today’s leaders how to start engaging their employees on the same digital channels as their customers.
The digital trends and practices that require the most attention from business executives this year.
This month, we welcomed Omar Akhtar as our Managing Editor, a role that we created to shepherd exciting new initiatives at Altimeter.
What you need to know about Facebook’s newly launched workplace collaboration tool, and the impact it could have in a highly competitive space.
Content marketing is hot, but it is not solely created by, inspired by, or used by marketing.
Employees are disengaged at work, and organizations have been exploring how social and digital technologies can address this problem.
In our research and client work at Altimeter, one of the most misunderstood issues we see is social business governance.
I crossed an item off my bucket list when I gave a TED Talk at TED@IBM on Sept. 23rd. The event was part of the new TED Institute, which partners with companies to create TED-curated events.
Altimeter and Capgemini Consulting to Collaborate on Thought Leadership, Research, and Global Consulting
Ten years ago today, I wrote my first blog post, entitled “Blogging as a State of Mind.”
While most of the tech and business press focused on the functionality of the Apple Watch (digital crown, battery life, taptic engine, yadda yadda…) discreetly milling around the event were the fashion press, invited by Apple’s new fashion and design team.
A key factor to creating and delivering a great customer experience is the ability of a company’s workforce to modernize, use new technology platforms to connect with each other and customers, and most importantly, adopt a new mindset of openness and transparency.
Take a look around our site today, you might notice a very subtle change. We’ve seen a lot of change in our industry, not to mention at Altimeter, since we started five years ago. It felt like the right time to refresh our brand.
As we launch into 2014, the analysts at Altimeter each pulled together a compilation of trends and issues they are watching closely this year.
Last year, we asked companies about their top social strategy priorities. The second top response was “Developing Internal Education and Training.” Yet, when we surveyed companies earlier this year, we saw that only 38% had any education program in place, beyond ad hoc efforts.
Each year, Altimeter surveys social strategists and executives, and shares our findings and analysis in Open Research reports. In our most recent report, we looked at our survey findings from the last four years, 2010 to 2013, to share our analysis of the state of social business.
I am thrilled to announce the promotion of Andrew Jones to Analyst at Altimeter.
Co-written with: Susan Etlinger, Rebecca Lieb, Andrew Jones, Linda Saindon, Brian Solis, and Ed Terpening The not-so-long awaited Twitter S-1 is out and now the intense scrutiny begins.
Jeremiah Owyang will be leaving Altimeter Group at the end of September to start a new company focused primarily on his passion for the Collaborative Economy.
As the founder of a small business, I know that the hiring and departure of each and every person makes a huge impact of the firm — and that this is an evitable part of the business.
Five years ago, I started a company. At the time, it was simply just me deciding I wanted to do something different. I learned it was by far the hardest professional decision I have ever made, to strike out on my own.
Altimeter continues to grow with the addition of Ed Terpening as Senior Consultant, where he will be leading Altimeter’s client engagements and develop Altimeter Academy the company’s new training offerings.
In 2011, the US hit a milestone — more than half of all adults visit social networking sites at least once a month. But when it comes to using social-networking technologies inside organizations, many business leaders are at a loss to understand what value can be created from Facebook-like status updates within the enterprise.
One question I frequently get is “How much should I be spending on social media?” The answer, of course, is it depends. This report looks at how 140 Social Strategists spent on social media in 2010 — and their plans for 2011 (read report).
I conducted the first of four Webinars on the ideas around “Open Leadership” and am making available the slides as well as a video recording. This Webinar laid out the reasons why open leadership is inevitable and required because of the adoption of social technologies.
Jeremiah Owyang and I held a webinar entitled “Developing A Social Strategy” that had over 495 participants asking very insightful questions — we had a great time sharing the information and got new ideas on how to develop our thinking as well.