Solo or Symphony?

Do your C-suite leaders have the same view of your workforce?

Posted by Robert A. Dicks, Michael Fuchs, and Garry Spinks on April 23, 2019.

We’ve all seen those images that seem to show one thing, but when the camera pulls back or shifts to another angle, we find out the real picture is quite different than it first appeared. It can be the same when looking at the business. Every C-suite includes a variety of functional specialists who consider the business through their particular lens, whether it’s the CEO, CFO, COO, CIO, CHRO—whomever it might be. The CEO is tasked with minding the big, presumably complete, picture. But pulling that true picture together, particularly in terms of most organizations’ biggest expense—the workforce—means the C-suite has to start thinking and acting symphonically about workforce decisions, rather than as a collection of solo acts.

Orchestrating the symphonic C-suite
Every member of the C-suite makes investments in the workforce, which itself is critical to the organization’s performance, brand, and reputation. But too often, executives make these decisions on their own. In fact, 73 percent of the leaders we surveyed told us their C-suite leaders rarely, if ever, work together on projects or strategic initiatives.1 They look at multiple data sources in isolation, which leads to overlapping, duplicated, and overall potentially inefficient efforts. When this approach is taken, and decisions are made in silos, it can be impossible to make strategic choices that drive maximum value throughout the organization. Decisions based on incomplete data are often focused on cost reduction, rather than the value and organizational performance that could be derived from the investment.

Source: Deloitte Consulting LLP

Instead, senior executives should be looking at critical workforce decisions in concert with one another, viewing them as strategic investment choices that drive value throughout the organization, just as they would other balance sheet decisions. The Human Capital Balance Sheet orchestrates the symphonic C-suite, where executives work from a single and complete set of data to understand the baseline human capital (all-in labor) cost of their organization, make key workforce investment decisions together, and monitor and measure the impacts of those decisions.

Source: Deloitte Consulting LLP

Through this harmonization, companies can begin to differentiate themselves with the way work gets done through effective investments in their people.

An example: Rewards Optimization
The Human Capital Balance Sheet can be described as a single, transparent view of the workforce from the lens of cost, value, and risk. It analyzes these factors to understand how investment drives organizational performance. This helps executives align on people priorities and make well-informed decisions about where to increase or maintain investment, or where to eliminate or cut back, in order to deliver the greatest return by optimizing the organization’s human capital investments.

One example of this approach in practice is Rewards Optimization. Too often, the types and variety of rewards offered by an organization, from the typical pay/insurance/retirement offerings to more novel offerings, have been based on industry benchmarks or even whatever perk might be in fashion. But as the workforce continues to become more diverse—older, younger, and made up of a variety of worker types beyond full-time employees—so have its needs and preferences. The type of reward one segment of the workforce values may not be the same as another’s, and some rewards may not be particularly valued by any segment, making them a poor investment.

This is where Rewards Optimization provides clarity and actionable insights into the relationship between the value employees place on a particular rewards program feature and the program’s overall value-cost ratio. By taking a conjoint survey, employees indicate which program features are most important or most valuable to them and which are least important or least valuable to them.

With this framework, organizations can:

  • Better understand employee preferences using actionable data
  • Make fact-based decisions regarding employee benefits, engagement, and loyalty
  • Structure and customize their compensation, benefits, and rewards programs to satisfy employee preferences while managing costs
  • Invest in the right rewards programs not only to motivate their current workforce, but also to help plan for the needs of the future workforce

Based on Deloitte’s experience, Rewards Optimization data analysis can yield reward packages that the vast majority of employees (frequently 70–80 percent) prefer over their current packages.

From solo performers to symphonic team
In today’s disconnected environment, it’s nearly impossible for the C-suite to know if they are making winning workforce decisions and driving investment dollars to the programs and parts of the workforce that will deliver the greatest return on investment and create the required value for the organization. The Human Capital Balance Sheet can help to change this fragmented view. Leaders can gain the insight to make well-informed decisions beyond the often limited vantage point of their own functional silos.

Even more, the Human Capital Balance Sheet can help leaders see the value that comes from acting symphonically. More than half (54 percent) of survey respondents told us their companies are not ready, or only somewhat ready, for the level of executive-team collaboration they believe is now required.2 Capitalizing on the labor-cost-to-value insight provided by the Human Capital Balance Sheet could be the spark that not only fuels symphonic readiness but also turns it into well-orchestrated reality.

Robert A. Dicks is a Deloitte Consulting LLP principal and the leader for Human Capital’s CFO Services market offering.

Michael Fuchs is a Deloitte Consulting LLP principal and the leader for the Human Capital Balance Sheet.

Garry Spinks is a Deloitte Consulting LLP managing director and a leader for Rewards Optimization.

1 Dimple Agarwal, Josh Bersin, Gaurav Lahiri, Jeff Schwartz, Erica Volini, “The symphonic C-suite: Teams leading teams,” The rise of the social enterprise: 2018 Deloitte Global Human Capital Trends.
2 Ibid.

One thought on “Solo or Symphony?

  1. Reality (Truth) : Most C-suit executive just do not think about organization culture or design and only interested in their KPI or KRA to remain in limelight. Now the time has come to change such thinking (or positional arrogance!).

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