Whenever we talk to Boards, Executives and CHROs, we find DIGITAL IS DRIVING COMPLEXITY and making it tough for CHROs to deliver value on the people and talent agenda. Often the starting point in the conversation is “what is digital?” Digital is the new world we all live, work and play in! We see advancing technologies at a rate like we’ve never seen before, but Digital is not just about technology! Other mega trends to be considered are end-market disruptions, consumerization, mass customization urbanization and demographic changes in workplace…all of which CHROs now have to take into account as they lay out their people and talent strategies.

Think back a few years ago, our lives were certainly complicated and we were solving puzzles day in and day out but they were manageable. There is so much more to manage so many moving parts and so much complexity. So, we see these massive Digital implications that are real today and we know it’s our role to help our organization prepare for this and YET we still have urgent and real important day to day issues that have to be taken care of.

THE FIRST BIG IDEA I want you explore with you is the issue of TACTICAL DRIVING OUT THE STRATEGIC. The urgent and immediate is crowding our ability to focus on the big-ticket items that we all know drives value. I just finished talking to a CHRO who’s based in Singapore and the first thing she said to me is “I can’t get to the stuff I need to get to, I’m just so busy”. This is not unusual! 

THE SECOND BIG IDEA. How many of us feel OVER COMMUNICATED with? People consume 3X as much information, daily as they did only five years ago.

THE THIRD BIG IDEA. Everything feels “URGENT” and we’re” ALWAYS ON”. 61% of people can’t ignore their electronic devices, checking them the hour after receiving text or email.

THE FOURTH BIG IDEA. The WORLD OF WORK IS CHANGING in ways we’ve never experienced before: –

  • For the first time in history, there are 5 generations in the workplace ….Same planet, different world. Digital means the gap between generations is now wider than ever
  • 70% of Americans own a smart phone, yet 41% have difficulty accessing work information from their mobile devices…..Digital makes it tough for organizations to keep up with pace of technology and the needs of employees
  • Less than 16% of companies report the ability to use data to make predictions and take action on future workforce
  • issues….. Data doesn’t necessarily equal insights or action

We know we have to do the talent work, we know it’s strategic but the tactical keeps getting in the way and it never ends up getting taken care of. And the biggest challenge we see is that there is suboptimal workforce planning which translates into significant missteps in executing business strategy, insufficient skills to compete in the future and succession gaps in critical roles and poor investment decisions in leadership development along with disengaged high potentials

THE FIFTH BIG IDEA. There’s a DISCONNECT BETWEEN CHROs, EXECUTIVES AND BOARDS. Part of this disconnect is between what CHROs believe to be the right things to focus on and what executives and boards believe need to be focused on. In Fortune 100 companies 39% of CHROs have turned over in the past 2 years. There’s nearly always two reasons for this: –

  1. It’s the CHROs own choice. They see what needs to happen yet they can’t convince the business leaders they’re working alongside so they leave for a new opportunity
  2. CHROs are doing everything they can but they just don’t have the capabilities in their team or the time to execute on the agenda because of other competing priorities, CEOs and or boards simply lose patience and the CHRO exits

So that’s the problem. You’re probably wondering at this point is this just a dark picture or is there a way to solve this problem


  • 85% stronger financial performance
  • 77% better strategy implementation
  • 75% higher revenue growth
  • yet only 45% have processes in place to do this work

How are you delivering on your strategic talent agenda? Are you creating space to focus on the strategic talent implications of your business strategy?

Audrey McGuckin consults with top CEOs and HR Executives to solve their toughest and most complex talent and leadership challenges. To connect with Audrey on how she can assist you and your organization, visit our contact page or message her directly at audrey@audreymcguckin.com.