This year forced companies all over the world into a remote work pilot study. The outcome? An understanding for the importance of the people side of business – for employees, vendors, and customers. 


Sharing their thoughts from the front lines on how human resources are evolving in 2020 is Katharine Mobley, Chief Marketing Officer of First Advantage, and Sejal Patel Daswani, CHRO of Sunrun. They covered: How do we understand and measure the employee experience? What data do we need to get visibility? How does our understanding of people and communication need to change? These are questions that will evolve beyond 2020. 3 key highlights from the live panel:


1.There is No Business Without People

“Companies now have a lens that we haven’t had in a long time that, at the end of the day, your people are what makes the company money. Having a lens on them and putting HR in the center of that, ensuring that these dialogues are happening, that the tools are there, are imperative.”  –  Katharine Mobley, Chief Marketing Officer, First Advantage


If 2008 was the year of the CFO during the financial crisis, 2020 is the year of the CHRO where people, HR tech and communications are front and center. In the spotlight are CHROs tasked with answering “how do we make consistent decisions that are in the best interest of the company and the employee in a more productive, profitable way?” As the workforce focus shifts to people-first organizations, how CHROs leverage and support human talent capital will determine the companies that successfully align capital to business objectives. Therefore, the employee experience is the company’s legacy. Going forward, leaders should take stock of what they understand about their people and find ways to measure how they align to business objectives.


2.DEI: From ERGs to the Board Room

“As a nation, we’ve gone through a lot, the political climate, the events – which has led to really mindful thinking on the diversity, inclusion and belonging front. We’re all on a journey, and it’s important to ask how are we thinking through that journey. How are we building companies and workforces that are truly diverse and inclusive where people can bring their whole self to work and have a sense of belonging.”  – Sejal Patel Daswani, CHRO, Sunrun


While DEI initiatives rested in the hands of Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) for the last decade, DEI is now a board level priority. As HR increasingly joins the C-level, boards are re-examining the roles diversity, equity, and inclusion play in the future of their talent supply chain but also its impact on the company’s long-term success. As a result, the human capital investment and DEI initiatives require people-centric due diligence. 


This means leaders need to understand at scale what is the experience of different talent pools in a labor force with increasing rates of chronic illness, rising tension among race-relations, remote work, and more. What data do we need to get visibility? How does our communication need to change? How does it change our recruitment and retention practices? At a people-first business, the DEI journey needs to be analyzed, tracked, predicted, and de-risked with the same rigor of any other powerful asset to avoid valuable talent turnover.


3.Voice of The Customer, HR Edition

“So that was the first thing we put in place – that mechanism to be able to communicate proactively to our employee base and answer how do we field the feedback. After every all-hands we had a survey go out to really understand how every employee is feeling, much like you would a customer in a marketing context… and then in classic marketing, we’re taking that feedback to design programming, create solutions.” – Sejal Patel Daswani, CHRO, Sunrun


For quite some time companies have been “people-centric” – but most have been focused on only “half” of the people required to make a business thrive: the customers, not their people. Millions in budget and resource allocation were spent to understand customers, their behaviors, their problems, what their day-to-day is, and programs built to have “the voice of the customer” present at the core of all initiatives.


This crisis has made leaders realize that resources need to be dedicated to “the other half” – internal people. In turn, it has shifted the focus onto the central role HR plays and exposed a lack of funding in critical areas that support the business. Until now companies hadn’t realized that people-centric visibility “inside” their talent pools is as important to survive and thrive as visibility into their customers “outside”. 


HR is now leading the core function of the business by finding agile ways of understanding diverse segments of the talent pool and providing a feedback loop to more quickly understand what contributes to success and therefore grow the business.


Culture Alignment: Building People-Centric Businesses with Data

2020 is the year of people, where leaders focus on the alignment of culture and revenue objectives. By understanding and measuring the unique experiences of different populations inside and outside our organizations, HR and HR tech are turning the page for organizations to more effectively support both their people and the business. 


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