Where Does Human Resources Sit at the Strategy Table?

Where Does Human Resources Sit at the Strategy Table?

By
Courtney Hamilton, David F. Larcker, Stephen A. Miles, Brian Tayan
Stanford Closer Look Series. Corporate Governance Research Initiative, February
2019

Two decades ago, McKinsey advanced the idea that large U.S. companies are engaged in a “war for talent” and that to remain competitive they need to make a strategic effort to attract, retain, and develop the highest-performing executives. To understand the contribution of the human resources department to company strategy, we surveyed 85 CEOs and chief human resources officers at Fortune 1000 companies. In this Closer Look, we examine what these senior executives say about the contribution of HR to the strategic efforts and financial performance of their companies.

We ask:

  • What role does HR play in the development of corporate strategy?
  • Does HR have an equal voice or is it junior to other members of the senior management team?
  • Do boards see HR and human capital as critical to corporate performance?
  • How do boards ascertain whether management has the right HR strategy?
  • How adept are companies at using data from HR systems to learn what programs work and why?