Supercharging HR Leaders in 2023

The Next Practices Weekly call series has become a well-attended and wide-ranging discussion for HR leaders each Thursday at 11am ET / 8am PT. On this week's call, i4cp' s Managing Director, Communities & Partnerships, Carrie Bevis, and Senior Research Analyst, Tom Stone, facilitated a conversation with special guest JP Elliott, Chief People Officer at WilliamsMarston, and Host of the Future of HR Podcast. Here are some highlights from the call:

  • Elliott's career has spanned talent leadership positions at a wide range of organizations dating back to the late 1990s, including Kaiser Permanente, Taco Bell, Lenovo, Brink’s, Dick’s Sporting Goods, JCPenney, McAfee. Now he is a Chief People Officer at WilliamsMarston, a national leader in complex accounting, tax, and valuation services advising pre-IPO, public, and private equity-backed companies managing rapid growth and transformation.
  • Unlike some of the earlier organizations he has worked for, WilliamsMarston is PE-backed and relatively small, but growing rapidly. So a big challenge is building HR in a scalable way, but in a fast-paced environment that has very little established bureaucracy.
  • Another challenge is establishing a differentiated employee value proposition, and one that is tied to WM's overall brand. It is very hard to hire specialized accounting experts, so Elliott needs to establish WM as an employer of choice.
  • Elliott emphasized the importance of establishing repeatable processes, noting a mantra to "think systems, but design for individuals."
  • He also said that good HR leaders today are data-driven and intellectually curious, but also need to have a point of view on each critical talent issue.
  • Elliott emphasized the importance of leveraging human-centered design approaches in all areas of talent practices.
  • He also noted the shift in many organizations towards developing skills databases to enable greater talent mobility, more targeted upskilling opportunities, etc. But he said that in addition to skills we also need to capture projects and experience in these systems. Together, this information is a powerful addition to, not replacement for, the use of degrees/etc. as a proxy for capability.
  • During the call we asked participants the following poll question: "What capabilities will be the most important for HR leaders to develop over the next five years? (Select up to three)"
    • 56% Human-centered design
    • 55% Change leadership
    • 51% People analytics
    • 43% Organizational and job design
    • 39% Business acumen
    • 22% Technology
    • 23% Coaching
  • Elliott noted the broad spread in the above responses, which speaks to the many requirements of good HR leaders today. When asked how business leaders might have answered this same question, he suggested that they always want HR's business acumen to be stronger, and might have interjected that hiring and developing talent are the most critical business need right now.

Links to resources shared on the call: