How to Pitch Your CHRO on the Future of Work

Lee Polevoi

The concept of work is evolving and the role of Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) is no exception.

In the not so distant past, HR executives were expected to follow the company line and carry out directives as indicated, often left out of broader C-level strategy sessions and relegated to an execution-focused role. Today, forward-looking companies favor a more proactive role for the CHRO, with a focus on creating and implementing more aggressive talent management processes, actively shaping a creative and inspiring workplace environment, and helping prepare the organization overall for the Future of Work (FOW).

In many businesses, however, the old hierarchical structure persists. HR teams consumed by administrative tasks lack the time and resources to achieve the strategic goal of pushing the company towards becoming more agile. Their frustration only muddles the picture and delays implementation of agile practices necessary to face the challenges of the 21st century.

How can HR professionals pitch the advantages of FOW to the CHRO, so that he or she can make a strong business case for an agile talent structure to other executives? Here are key attributes to help persuade the CHRO to take action:

Significant Cost Reductions

Hiring in the gig economy can sharply decrease expenses related to job vacancies, such as the cost of projects suffering unexpected delays. On average, filling an open position through traditional channels costs more than $4,000 and takes more than 40 days to achieve, with many key roles remaining vacant for over a quarter. In sharp contrast, the typical contractor hiring process takes less than 48 hours.

Moreover, the increasingly prevalent need for qualified, specialized talent can be addressed more efficiently by working with contingent experts. Depending on the industry, a CHRO can make a good case for saving costs by retaining expert consultants on a temporary basis rather than consistently defaulting to full-time hires.

Meeting the Challenge of Business Expansion

Expanding a business — either into new markets, through product upgrades, or via of new product launches — often entails enormous costs. Adding labor expenses to the equation, many strategic growth plans are placed firmly out of reach.

But a more flexible approach to talent management involving hiring specialized project-based contractors for highly targeted tasks can make a huge difference in making strategic initiatives into a reality. Calling on a pool of contingent workers skilled in areas of business expansion may be just the solution senior leadership is looking for.

Streamlining the Hiring Process through Predictive Analytics

There is substantial inefficiency and even implicit bias that results when hiring managers rely too much on intuition and other assumptions, which HR professionals across the function can support with company-specific data. A more effective and cost-efficient approach leverages data-driven platforms and services, first evaluating current top performers, turning their skills into a metric by which a company can predict “whether a candidate will be a strong fit,” and harnessing artificial intelligence to target top candidates and achieve better hiring results.

New predictive analytics software and other emerging technologies streamline the hiring process and generate better results. C-suite executives concerned about the time, money and resources spent on recruitment and acquisition are likely to be receptive to a CHRO’s message on the benefits of predictive analytics, which both has a stronger ROI for the company and frees up HR professionals to focus on more strategic objectives themselves.

Building a Culture of Collaboration 

Traditionally, business functions have been siloed, stifling potential avenues for collaboration and highlighting a stark difference between permanent and contingent workers. As a result, C-level executives may be concerned that introducing a business model that promotes use of a highly skilled contingent workforce might alienate their full-time employees.

In fact, by creating a program that leverages a contingent workforce, leadership is creating ample opportunity to make a cultural shift within the company towards a culture of collaboration. Top enterprises are adopting this methodology (often called ‘Agile’), breaking down barriers and encouraging cross-team collaboration. This is further aided by the presence of contingent workers, who can seamlessly move in and out of workstreams on an as-needed basis, embodying the agile and flexible approach to team structure.

Leaders that have adopted the methodology of Agile, even across selective departments, are seeing increased innovation, efficiency, and adaptability to shifts in market changes or strategic initiatives. While this is a more revolutionary shift in the way that work gets done, it’s something with little-to-no impact on the bottom line and a potentially enormous upside by way of innovation and market leadership. This is an attractive value proposition to C-suite executives, moving the conversation away from HR initiatives that may feel tactical at heart to those that are fundamentally strategic.

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With all that the Future of Work has to offer — achieving cost reductions, meeting the talent challenges of expansion, streamlining the hiring process and building a culture of collaboration —what C-level executives can afford to ignore such compelling benefits?

A focused, company-wide approach to new talent solutions can generate unprecedented results in terms of efficiency, cost savings and competitive advantage. Once your CHRO is persuaded of the dramatic benefits of an agile workforce, he or she can become an advocate within the executive suite, inaugurating transformational change in the organization.


Th Catalant platform can help you increase your workplace agility and find the right talent, at the right time, for your most important project needs. For more on how CHROs and other key business leaders are moving into the Future of Work, check out our recent report, Reimagining Work 20/20.