The Importance of a Permanent C-Suite Seat for HR Management

Human Resources management has been the Rodney Dangerfield of business operations for many years. That is, it gets no respect. HR management has traditionally been viewed as a cost center for organizations, not a profit center. As such, it has taken a long time to make its way into the C-Suite, and even longer to get a seat at the executive table.

Now, the coronavirus pandemic has thrown a spotlight on HR’s strategic importance like never before. The sudden, huge shift to remote work and the need for businesses to rapidly scale up or down their staff levels have made HR one of the most important functions in any business.

For many companies, the COVID-19 crisis has revealed gaps in the management of their human resources. For example:

  • No unified remote work policies
  • No clear path for scaling up or down staff levels quickly
  • Existing HR technology not set up for remote management

It can be difficult to get top management and C-level executives to focus on HR — especially when there are so many other pressing concerns. But now is precisely when effective, strategic HR management should be at the top of your agenda, with a key role at the C-Suite table.

In this article, we look at why HR has taken a long time to get to the C-Suite, the reasons it should stay there, what C-Level focus on HR management means, and how HR Strategies Consulting can help you deliver effective, strategic HR management from the top of the organization.

The rise of strategic HR

There is an argument that many successful organizations have managed without C-level HR focus until now. So, what has changed?

Traditionally, HR management has focused on transaction-oriented record keeping such as payroll processing, benefits administration and employee data reporting — essentially executing on administrative tasks around staffing and personnel management. For many years, organizations could afford to have this transactional relationship with HR; its role was largely to deliver the right resources at the right cost to satisfy the demands of Operations and Finance.

HR was elevated to C-Level at times when major changes or shocks meant HR management could have an immediate impact on the financial health of the company, for example during resource shortages, labor disputes, step changes in resourcing strategy like outsourcing, or, most recently, when dealing with a global pandemic.

By the time the pandemic put HR front and center for most organizations, there were other factors already driving it that way, leading forward-thinking businesses to think about needing a permanent seat at C-level for the CHRO.

So why does HR need C-level focus now? In recent years there’s been a shift toward a more strategic role for HR within organizations. As the nature of work has changed, so too have the roles of HR professionals evolved. For many organizations, the emphasis for HR is shifting from managing employee resources to maximizing value from the talent in the business.

Digitalization and automation are enabling new, richer and more productive ways of working, with the flexibility for employees to work in ways that suit how they want to live while delivering maximum value for their employer.

A talent squeeze in digital and other key areas is placing a premium on organizations’ abilities to attract, retain and develop the right talent.

To prosper, businesses need to be increasingly nimble, lean and resilient to external economic and social shocks, and sustaining this requires an HR strategy that is similarly adaptable and maximizes value from its people.

Together, these factors create a compelling argument for HR strategy being at the core of business, with constant C-level focus.

It enables organizations to optimize investment in human resources in a continually evolving talent and resourcing landscape, maximizing resilience to external economic and social events and shocks, delivering full benefits from robust, end to end HR management and digital capabilities.

Painting the picture for C-level HR management

HR is a critical component of business success. More than just an administrative function, depending on where you are in your company’s lifecycle and the state of previously mentioned external pressures, HR management can be the difference between surviving and thriving for organizations navigating today’s changing labor landscape. Amongst other benefits, C-level focus on HR management makes people strategy an integral part of business strategy, rather than just a provider to it.

  • It enables HR strategy to be fully and appropriately resourced to maximize value from the talent already in the organization and recruitment.
  • It keeps strategic focus on the end-to-end employee lifecycle, from hire to release, ensuring it is effectively managed throughout.
  • It places diversity and inclusion at the heart of the business.

How HR Strategies Consulting can help

HR Strategies Consulting uses extensive experience and expertise in C-level strategic HR management, along with the transformative power of technology, to help our clients deliver the HR strategy and employee engagement journey they need.

We do this by:

  • Supporting you at a strategic level to transform the way people are managed in your organization. This is critical if you are looking to drive growth through your people. We can help you develop a forward-looking people strategy that aligns with your business strategy and will truly engage your workforce.
  • Using our expertise and experience to provide comprehensive HR technology solutions that touch all aspects of the business.
  • Providing support for teams in smaller organizations who want to move towards a more strategic and agile HR approach, but may not have the resources to do so. We work with executives so that they can make fundamental changes at board level that positively impact every employee in the organization.

Many business leaders know where they want to take their organization but have no idea how to get there. We can help you build short and long-term strategies with key success metrics and a detailed roadmap. We developed our unique “Re-imagine HR” approach to partner with organizational leaders to drive individual and organizational growth and become forward-thinking and future ready.

To find out more, download our eBook or visit us at

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