Partnering Across Talent Functions for Competitive Advantage

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, Mark Englizian, Chair of i4cp's Total Rewards
Leader Board, and Tom Stone, Senior Research Analyst at i4cp, facilitated a conversation with special guest Margeaux King, Vice President & CHRO, at The Toro Company. Here are some highlights from the call:

  • King has been with Toro for the past seven months, and before that was in various HR leadership roles at Ecolab. She shared several examples of where she led partnerships across HR functional areas to drive competitive advantage.
  • At Ecolab, King partnered Total Rewards together with HR Policy and Compliance. They had some early wins working together, such as conducting a pay equity study to determine if their policies were truly creating equitable outcomes. A second area they worked together was on managing immigration, talent mobility, and their global workforce more holistically. A third area where this partnership proved effective was when COVID-19 hit and there were various policies and benefits that needed fresh attention.
  • One of the learnings for King from all of these endeavors was the power and value in choosing people for projects based on skillset and interests rather than their title or functional area.
  • The second time at Ecolab that King brought two functional areas together was in the merging of Total Rewards and Talent. This allowed for a far more extensive consideration of the entire employee experience, e.g., aspects such as traditional benefits and compensation, along with other key elements of the employee value proposition such as onboarding, learning and development, succession, etc.
  • A learning for King from that combination of TR and Talent was that business leaders and non-HR employees don't really care how HR is structured to provide the best employee experience, they just care about the results of those efforts. They might get used to going to certain people for things, but changing it won't matter as long as the end results improve.
  • Now at Toro Company, the company has been growing so there is a need to scale up HR capability,  e.g., the HRBP area. In describing that, King noted the value in fostering what she calls "healthy tensions" between people in different functional areas, or between HRBPs and those in COEs, who often have different perspectives on matters such as customizability vs. scalability, or speed of execution vs. standardization.
  • King shared several suggestions for situations where you want to have the benefits that can come from partnership and collaboration, but where you aren't in a position to restructure the teams to enable it more formally:
    • Walk it through with someone who's never done the practice in question.
    • Assemble a SME-diverse team to tackle it
    • Don't decide for people, ask them
    • Don't have any projects be off limits
    • Facilitate formal rotations with the current people structure

Links to resources shared on the call: