Ram Charan: This is an era for HR

Ram Charan has urged senior HR leaders to seize the mantle of “trustees of the talent” and use that to lead organisations and drive business growth.

With financial capital so cheaply available at present, Charan said this meant talent was the most difficult thing for businesses to find.

However he also criticised HR leaders for not linking their work to the needs of the business and said they must be more business aware to earn the respect and confidence of CEOs.

Speaking at the European HR Directors Summit, Charan noted that owning the talent expertise and linking it with the business outcomes was essential.

“Just like the CFO will tell the board this kind of financing will not work, you are the trustee of the talent,” he said.

“This game is a talent game, this is not a money game. This is an era for the CHRO. Let’s pick up the ball and create more of those CHROs to have seniority,” he added.

Ram Charan’s three keys to claiming your seat at the boardroom table


Poor perceptions

Charan highlighted that HR was frequently not well perceived within the rest of the business functions, but selected two key external factors that will hit every organisation and that HR would be at the centre of.

First he explained that digitisation would affect every company in some way with transformations in structure very likely to occur.

“No company anywhere is going to escape and you’re going to be at the centre of that because today capital is cheap,” he said.

“The issue is the talent. Can we get the right talent, can we put them in the right place? What are the high leverage opportunities, what is the high leverage talent? And if you do that, that will deliver the numbers.”

Charan also identified the power held by consumers and that this could massively affect businesses very quickly.

“Today the consumer has the power with instant access through mobile phones to be able to compare prices to change what you’re going to do.

“These changes are here, they are going to change the value chain and all that has to be integrated within the function of the company.

“Those are two changes that are unstoppable,” he added.


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