New global study reveals the opportunity for HR to reposition itself as a strategic growth driver

It is increasingly recognised that business growth is powered by delivering exceptional customer experiences, with people at the heart of creating those experiences. Yet a new report led by Brand Learning reveals that in many businesses the customer and people agendas are not connected, with fewer than 30% of businesses involving HR in the development of the customer experience strategy.

The new global study by Brand Learning, the global expert capability consultancy, surveyed nearly 250 leaders and employees on their experiences and the role of HR, including Chief HR Officers and HR Directors who contributed their insights to the report, ‘The New HR Imperative: Leading for Growth’.  Interviews with leaders from organisations including Unilever, GSK, Colgate, MetLife, Diageo, PepsiCo, easyJet and Bupa revealed a growing acknowledgement of the capability gap that is holding HR back. HR leaders recognise that if the people experience is lacking, it is harder to deliver a great customer experience. Yet many HR teams are not increasing their impact quickly or sufficiently.

The report finds that HR has a unique opportunity to drive greater impact in organisations, connecting with the business growth agenda like never before. It outlines four key areas in which HR can add greater value:

Understanding – rooting strategic and operational HR guidance in insight

Simplicity – driving a coherent, streamlined employee experience with a clear sense of what the business stands for

Energy – unlocking the talents of people, enabling them to flourish and maximise their contribution

Advocacy – helping people to believe in the business and act as ambassadors of the brand

Addressing these areas would enable HR to keep pace with the changing needs of business. At present over 50% of survey respondents think HR in their organisation could do more to meet the changing needs of the business.  Doug Baillie, leading HR influencer and former Chief HR Officer, Unilever says “HR needs to lay the road in front, not follow filling in the cracks in the road.

In reframing the role of HR in the organisation, the report finds that new capabilities drawn from the Marketing function can empower HR to drive a closer relationship between people and the business. 

Jill Hughes, Managing Director, Specialist Business Unit at Brand Learning states “Business is crying out for HR to play a more driving role in shaping the future, putting people at the heart of the strategic discussion. HR and Marketing should be working together to build the capabilities that are needed for growth, enabling HR to build exceptional people experiences that will drive competitive edge and growth.” 

For your copy of 'The New HR Imperative: Leading for Growth', you can download the report from our website.