For countless businesses the world over, HR has taken centre stage during the pandemic. Now, more so than ever, business leaders recognise the importance of their people, but for author and People Strategy expert Anne Caron, it’s not about HR, it’s about people strategy.

“Most leaders I meet know that people are their ultimate competitive advantage,” she writes in a recent LinkedIn post. “Once you manage to get your people pointing in the same direction, you can dominate any industry, any market, any competition, anytime. But failing to get it right puts the whole business in jeopardy.”

But recognising this is only the first step, she maintains.

“The problem is that while they know this to be true, they quickly capitulate to the complexity of actually making it happen,” Ms Caron writes, acknowledging that while building the right organisation for a company is complicated, it’s not impossible.

Yet while it can be much simpler than one may think, she argues that a common stumbling block for leaders is that “in the hope that models from larger and more conventional companies could fit the bill, leaders overlook the fact that building an organisation is not just an admin task you delegate to HR.”

Rather, she maintains, “it is a key ‘function’ of the company, which requires thinking, strategy, planning, and a dedicated owner.”

For this reason, the People Strategy expert maintains, the owner of the people strategy has to be the CEO, and not HR. “Or at least not until it has been perfectly formulated and articulated” – that, she continues, is where a senior Chief HR Officer should come in, who will drive that strategy at the highest level.

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