Knowledge Center


Article -> Aligning Employees, HR & CEOs

Date Added: August 2009

Note: This article appeared in the September 20, 2009 issue of The Green Bay Press-Gazette.

I enjoy research as it can coherently support a topic, while also being extremely contradictory. A case in point is various research about employees and leaders. Try to follow this data.


Human Resources leaders were requested by CEOs to make a series of employee-related budget cuts. The top three cuts with the corresponding percentage of those choosing to make the cuts: morale and team building (60%), professional development (48%), and training (42%).


In another study, CEOs were asked which tactics are used to attract leaders to their organization. The No. 1 response was “development opportunities” with 70% of CEOs stating this tactic attracted leaders. Yet, 48% of HR leaders were forced to cut professional development budgets based on CEOs’ request.


In addition, the same CEOs were asked what they value in leaders. The top responses with corresponding percentages were: strategic thinking (50%), execution (40%), decision making (33%), and teamwork (30%).


Again, 60% of HR leaders are cutting team building budgets; while the No. 2 and No. 3 HR budget cuts – professional development and training – correlate with the top items CEOs value in leaders. It’s no wonder organizations are struggling as maybe CEOs and HR leaders should communicate to determine an employee/organizational development strategy.

Here are some simple steps to develop this strategy:

  1. Ask employees what they value. Is it work-life balance, team building, professional development, training, decision making, etc.?
  2. Share financials and request employees’ input for reducing costs. Be transparent and empower them to make choices to help your business.
  3. Publicly recognize employees for great work. Pessimism tells me great work is becoming scarce; so when it occurs, employees should be publicly congratulated by the CEO and other leaders.
  4. Devote a day to cross-training and provide employees an opportunity to request specific skills they’d like to learn. This generates teamwork, camaraderie and engagement.

Taking care of employees shouldn’t be complex or contradictory. Ask them, listen, learn, and act on this. Be authentic and honest with them. Show you care about them and they will reciprocate.

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