In the News: Bridging the Divide Between HR and the C-suite

April 18, 2024 | Hamilton, ON
Contributed by Sarah Dobson, HR Reporter

executives in a board meeting

“In a lot of cases, they have a rough go of it without the respect, necessarily, of the other C-suite colleagues.”

So says Catherine Connelly, professor of human resources and management at McMaster University, in discussing an unfortunate divide that can happen between HR and the C-suite.

That’s evident in a recent survey that found almost half of HR leaders (44%) are feeling increased pressure and scrutiny from the C-suite to show the value of their work, to justify the investment in people programs.

And while 83% feel they can have a significant impact on important metrics such as company productivity, the C-suite doesn’t fully agree, at 61%, found Lattice’s 2024 State of People Strategy report, which surveyed over 1,000 HR and C-suite professionals in Canada, the U.S., England, Germany, France, and other global markets.

Similar gaps are apparent when it comes to avoiding costs, where 60% of HR leaders believe they can have an impact, compared to 44% of the C-suite, along with:

  • customer satisfaction (54% versus 30%)
  • revenue (53% versus 27%)
  • product quality (52% versus 28%).

It’s a pretty common refrain, according to Connelly.

“I think a lot of senior HR people see themselves as having strategic goals, and able to help with the company achieving strategic goals, but they are treated more as a functional area, and that their function is more routine. And I think that has a lot of implications for that relationship.”


Read the full article in the Canadian HR Reporter.

Catherine Connelly

Catherine Connelly

Professor, Human Resources & Management, and Canada Research Chair of Organizational Behaviour Tier II

Dr. Catherine Connelly holds a Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in Organizational Behaviour, and is a Member Emeritus of the College of New Scholars of the Royal Society of Canada (RSC). She is a former associate editor for Human Relations and currently serves on several editorial boards including the Journal of Organizational Behavior, Human Resource Management Review, the Academy of Management Discoveries journal, and Human Resource Management.

Her research focuses on the attitudes, behaviours, and experiences of non-standard workers (e.g., temporary agency workers, contractors, temporary foreign workers), the effects of leadership styles on leader well-being, and knowledge hiding in organizations. Catherine also conducts applied research with several Canadian organizations in both the private and non-profit sector.

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