Veritude Research Finds That When It Comes to Workforce Planning, HR and Business Leaders Agree Their Working Relationship Needs Work

Can We Get Along? How Does the Relationship Between Business and HR Leaders Impact the Successful Implementation of Business Strategy?

BOSTON, MA--(Marketwire - November 1, 2007) - According to a new research report released today by Veritude, a leading provider of talent acquisition, consulting and management services, there are significant gaps in the working relationship between HR and business line leaders. The report, "Working Together, Working Apart," shows agreement that talent acquisition and retention are the top business and workforce challenges facing companies today. However, HR must improve their business leaders' perceptions of their skills and abilities and business managers must learn to turn to the "people experts" for support in addressing these significant workforce issues.

Veritude commissioned Blue Bell, Pa.-based Attitude Measurement Corporation to conduct an online survey designed to define and understand three areas: the top strategic challenges that face business and HR leaders; the working relationship between business leaders and HR; and, how HR's relationship with business leaders affects the implementation of workforce plans. One hundred and one business leaders (each responsible for at least 500 employees) and 99 HR leaders (director level or higher) from companies with more than 5,000 employees were surveyed. The survey results were compiled, along with recommendations related to the findings, in "Working Together, Working Apart."

The most compelling statistic to come out of this research revealed that 57 percent of business leaders said they either do not have an established relationship with HR or that it would not occur to them to include HR in implementing workforce plans. According to the survey, HR leaders feel that business leaders minimize their role in workforce planning and believe they are perceived as lacking financial acumen and the skills to help with important functions, including talent acquisition.

More key findings revealed:

--  Both business and HR leaders agree that talent acquisition and
    recruitment top the list of strategic business issues.
--  Twenty-three percent of business leaders and 19 percent of HR leaders
    see HR as not involved in developing strategy, or only involved in helping
    to implement strategy.
--  Fifty-five percent of business leaders versus 80 percent of HR leaders
    rate HR as "well versed" in financial acumen.
--  Ninety percent of respondents currently have plans in place to address
    critical workforce challenges.

Additionally, business and HR leaders are frustrated with one another when it comes to day-to-day operations. For example, 21 percent of business leaders perceive HR as not being able to find the right people for the job, not having bandwidth, or lacking responsiveness to business leader needs. On the other hand, HR leaders believe business leaders set unrealistic time frames, lack an understanding of workforce issues (such as the challenges of finding qualified candidates), and are inconsistent in implementing initiatives.

James McCoy, senior vice president of Consulting Services for Veritude, commented, "Although this study reveals there is room for improvement in the relationship between business and HR leaders, we are reminded that finding and retaining top talent is the number one issue facing corporations today. As a result of this research, and the insight into the relationship between these two groups, organizations have an opportunity to make the proper changes necessary to effectively achieve their business goals."

On a positive note, both groups agree they want HR more fully involved in workforce strategy and implementation. According to recommendations found in the report, it is incumbent on HR to accept business line leaders as their clients and take on the responsibility of improving the working relationships. HR leaders recognize that a part of their charge is to insert themselves into the business as partners. When HR leaders were asked what they can do to support the business, 42 percent stated that they need to stay abreast of business issues and be a partner by asserting the HR perspective, such as presenting workforce issues and solutions proactively.

McCoy added, "There is reason for optimism in the degree to which both groups want HR to be more involved in implementing strategic initiatives that address these critical issues. This consultant/client model means approaching business leaders with 'solutions' to business challenges. HR should take the role of proposing alternative strategies that achieve business goals while ensuring compliance."

Top Line Recommendations

The report outlines a full set of recommendations designed to help HR leaders take the lead with their business line "clients" in building new working relationships. HR leaders are encouraged to focus on three key areas:

1.   Be Strategic: HR should take the lead driving human capital management
     strategy and inserting themselves in the strategic planning process.
     Business leaders need to recognize the importance of HR strategy in
     achieving business results while working to develop a deeper
     understanding, acknowledgment, and respect for the function.
2.   Develop Strong Working Relationships by Setting Goals: As with any
     important business initiative, business and HR leaders need to
     recognize the value in a strong working relationship. HR must assume
     ownership of cultivating and nurturing this relationship.
3.   Keep Your Eye on Operations: Both business and HR leaders should
     refocus their efforts on the reallocation, outsourcing, or
     streamlining of resources to minimize operational problems.

To download a copy of Veritude's report, "Working Together, Working Apart," visit

About Veritude

Veritude, a division of Devonshire Investors, the private equity arm of Fidelity Investments, was founded in 1986 as the internal provider for Fidelity's North American staffing needs. Today, Veritude offers a full suite of services including Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO), staffing, managed services and consulting. Veritude's unrelenting commitment to outstanding customer support and candidate quality offer competitive advantages to clients and rewarding career opportunities to associates. To learn more, call 1-800-597-5537 or visit

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Contact Information: Media Contact: Pamela Marshall The Devon Group 732-224-1000, ext. 18 pam(at)