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JUNE 2023

HR Recruiter Insights and Strategies for Success: The Evolving Role of HR in 2024

Mehreen Khan

In 2024, the Human Resources (HR) recruiter can help you hire an executive who plays an increasingly strategic role in the organization — the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO), Chief People Officer (CPO) or other top HR leader. 

In Conversation with Beth Ann Namey, Partner at Frederickson Partners

With rapid changes to the workplaces brought on by the pandemic, CHROs have taken on an increasingly  critical role in organizations,  and there is a growing need to find HR leaders who can serve as strategic partners to the C-Suite. The robust and competitive U.S. labor market, strengthened by the addition in early 2024 of 303,000 jobs with job gains continuing to exceed expectations in May, intensifies the challenge for employers of attracting top-tier candidates, particularly in HR. Demand is high for HR leaders who bring strategic vision, operational acumen, and technological proficiency

This surge in demand, along with potentially higher salary expectations, makes securing exceptional HR talent more important than ever — and the role of the HR recruiter more pivotal.

Organization leaders need to act swiftly and strategically, offering compelling value propositions to secure these sought-after professionals.

 

 

HR Recruiter Beth Ann Namey Answers 7 Most-Asked Questions

In 2024, the expertise of an HR recruiter is particularly beneficial to companies navigating these challenges.

Beth Ann Namey is a Partner in the executive search practice at Frederickson Partners, a Gallagher Company, and has extensive experience in recruiting HR and People leaders. She emphasizes the evolving role of HR as a strategic partner in organizations, critical to their success. She advocates for retaining specialized executive search expertise in hiring C-level HR leaders, noting the requirement for leaders to know how to integrate technology and AI into HR processes. Her insights underline the value of strategic HR leadership, particularly in fostering opportunities for women in executive roles.

Can you explain why it is so vital to build a great HR function in a company?

It’s important to the success of the organization. Great HR or People functions go beyond the basics of “yes, we have to be compliant and follow policy.”

Think about how organizations attract talent, particularly in these challenging economic markets that we have experienced for the last four years. Especially at present, it’s all about the employee experience. Companies exist, and they thrive because of their people. And there’s plenty of data here to show how a positive employee experience moves the bottom line.

  • An article from Forbes reaffirms the link between improving employee experience and company profitability, citing data that shows companies with highly engaged employees are 21% more profitable.
  • Not only that, but companies with highly engaged employees were also 17% more productive.
  • Summing it up, “having employees excited to be at work could translate to big boosts in your company’s profits.”

On the other hand, employee burnout is a costly issue. In 2023, 42% of departing U.S. employees indicated burnout as their reason for leaving. Nearly half of American workers are considering a job change, and since turnover costs can reach 33% of an employee’s annual salary, the financial impact is significant.

A company can gain 36 additional days of productivity per year by improving an employee’s well-being, emphasizing the importance of addressing worker satisfaction and health.

When employees are well cared for, your organization thrives. It’s important to put people first.

When you’re hiring a C-level leader in HR, why do you need the expertise of a specialist and HR executive search expert?

Most if not all C-level leaders, regardless of function, are going to be experts in their craft. These folks will want to have meaningful conversations with people who understand them and understand their challenges, their drivers, and what excites them.

HR is no different. I would argue that in some cases, it might even be more specialized.

When I think about the last four years, HR leaders have seen such a dramatic shift in focus. It has gone from “let’s make sure our payroll is right and we’re compliant” to “this person is the strategic business partner to the CEO and to other members of their leadership team.”

At Frederickson Partners, our clients want someone who knows the difference and knows how to recruit this strategic leader. A search partner that is very well connected, who has followed these trends for years, that’s someone that you want in your corner. As HR recruiters, we have nearly 30 years of this specific expertise under our belts, recruiting top CHROs and Chief People officers.

 As an HR recruiter who works on searches daily, what trends are you seeing in HR search now, especially in recruiting executives?

The team and I were recently discussing a way of recruiting that involves a slate-based approach. This is where the search firm comes in and kicks off the search, then goes away for a few weeks and you don’t hear from them. They return with a slate of maybe four or five candidates for their client.

I am not a big fan of this approach because it is dated. It’s also the fastest way to lose great candidates.

Our approach involves presenting candidates for clients as ready. For instance, if I have a fantastic interview with a CHRO, I am sending an email or picking up the phone the same day to my client and saying, ‘you’ve got to meet this person!’

The reason for that is we know the demand for these leaders is high and timing is everything right now. If you wait too long, then you’re just missing out.

What HR leadership roles are you currently seeing as top priorities for hiring?

The top generalist is always the big one. These are your Head of HR, Chief People Officers (CPO) or CHRO searches. At Frederickson, we’ve seen those roles stay strong.

Next on the list has to be your Total Rewards leader. These roles are very challenging and super important. No matter how the economy is doing, these are the leaders that are in the highest demand, partially because the role has grown into being the #2 to the Chief People Officer in many cases. This may be especially true where you see CPOs who may not have extensive compensation experience and came up through the ranks a different way. Total Rewards leaders are acting as that right hand to their CPOs.

Next is probably your high-level HR Business Partner (HRBP). Think of those HR leaders who are focusing on highly strategic HR initiatives and on coaching executives and their teams.

Those are the top three roles that we’re seeing today.

What are the biggest challenges in recruiting top HR talent today? And how can CEOs, hiring teams and Talent Acquisition effectively navigate these challenges?

HR and People leaders are generally selective, especially with all they’ve gone through in the last four years navigating the pandemic and what followed. Most of the CHROs and the People leaders that I speak with want to know that the CEO values the HR function and sees it as a strategic differentiator. They want to know that they’re doing something good for the world and for their employees.

Being able to clearly articulate your organization’s mission and your values is crucial when you’re thinking about hiring these leaders.

Other challenges include making sure that your recruiting process is sound and fair. If the organization has a Talent Acquisition leader we’ll work directly with them as well, or if they don’t, that may be their next great hire!

It is important to ensure processes are efficient, effective, and based on data.

And on that topic, what skills and qualities are most sought after in HR leaders today? How can aspiring HR executives develop them?

As an HR recruiter, the main thing I would suggest is to keep up with the pace of technology, specifically AI. Think about how to design and optimize HR and People processes for automation through technology.

Make sure you have a clear understanding of AI in HR, how AI is being used in the HR environment and how, as an HR leader, to help organizations adopt AI in an ethical way, while making work more efficient. These are issues that our clients are thinking about.

How do HR leadership roles create opportunities for women leaders to advance in their careers, and within an organization?

There’s a lot of opportunity here and it can be seen in the data. HR is a female-dominated profession. Data from 2023 showed that 69% of all CHROs in the Fortune 200 are female, which is an amazing proportion of female representation in the C suite.

Another notable fact is that outgoing female CHROs are often replaced by other female CHROs 82% of the time, according to recent data, with outgoing male CHROs replaced by female CHROs 80% of the time.

This strong trend toward female leadership creates a lot of opportunity for women in this environment, and for women to have a seat on the executive leadership team and a voice at the table.

Call to Action

 We invite you to engage with our executive search firm for deeper insights and strategic support, helping you navigate these trends with confidence and foresight. For strategic HR solutions and expert guidance in navigating the evolving landscape of 2024, connect with Frederickson Partners, a Gallagher company. Our executive search team specializes in finding top talent and offering personalized service to meet your unique requirements and empower your HR strategies. Contact us today.

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Beth Ann Namey's author photo for Blog posts

Beth Ann Namey Partner at Frederickson Partners, a Gallagher company, has managed hundreds of leadership searches with U.S. and global companies across industries. In 2020 she led Frederickson’s expansion into the Southeastern U.S. and Latin America and runs the company’s Southeast regional hub out of Nashville, Tennessee. (See Beth Ann’s LinkedIn)

Read Beth Ann Namey’s Full Biography.

 Mehreen Khan, Marketing and Communications Specialist, Frederickson Partners

Mehreen Khan , Senior Marketing Communications Specialist at Frederickson Partners, a Gallagher company, has past HR experience as a Workplace Practices Specialist. Mehreen is currently pursuing her Masters in Industrial Relations and HR at the University of Toronto, where she also earned a B.A. with Honors in English. She holds an advanced diploma in Journalism and two graduate certificates in HR management. (See Mehreen's LinkedIn)

Read Mehreen Khan’s Full Biography.

Frederickson Partners, a Gallagher company is a market leader in retained executive search since 1995. As one of the top-rated HR executive search and C-suite recruiting firms, we have expertise in placing Chief People Officers, Chief Human Resources Officers, Chief Diversity Officers, Chief Financial Officers, Chief Legal Officers and many other senior leaders. We draw on a broad network of rising and established executives and leaders, and a 28-year reputation as a talent acquisition and HR Advisory provider.

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