What Drives Company Performance and the Role of HR

4 mins

Keynote speaker- Hein Knaapen, Managing Partner at CEO.WorksOn 26th September we ran a webin...

Keynote speaker- Hein Knaapen, Managing Partner at CEO.Works

On 26th September we ran a webinar with keynote speaker Hein Knaapen to discuss ‘What Drives Company Performance and the Role of HR’. We opened the discussion by Hein sharing the challenge most CEOs face around finding the time to think about the future before the day to day takes over. 


Many high energy executives find it challenging to maintain focus on essential matters and Hein was keen to emphasise the importance of focusing on core business challenges rather than becoming fixated on various solutions. He advocates for a thorough understanding of the business needs in terms of talent to create value. 


Talent challenges and Leadership capability 

The conversation went on to discuss talent concerns in organisations, particularly focusing on the need for precision in understanding talent challenges and aligning talent strategies with business needs for optimal outcomes. The conversation touched on the variability in effectiveness across different types of organizations, such as big Corporates and private equity firms, in managing talent. With various examples of companies used to illustrate the complexities and nuances of talent development and the role of HR as well as underscoring the need for HR to be ruthlessly focused on company performance and to cultivate leadership capabilities across the organization for sustainable success. 


Value Creation 

Hein shared his views on the challenge of focusing on what truly matters for company performance and value creation. There is a tendency to get overwhelmed with various initiatives and suggests the need to concentrate on individual strengths (signature strengths) and the few impactful priorities that align with a company's success profile. The conversation delved into engagement surveys, emphasizing the importance of pinpointing, and enhancing strengths rather than trying to improve everything. Hein acknowledged the difficulty of maintaining focus amidst the dynamics of a big corporate environment and the importance of creating alignment around the management/board table. He shared insights on how HR leaders can help CEOs and boards prioritise purposefully and concentrate on what truly matters. The need for a gradual approach, teaching, and challenging others to enhance the understanding of business implications and drive impactful decisions. Recognise that it is transformational journey, aligning actions with what matters most for company performance.


Setting Ambitions and Achieving them 

We then discussed how to help individuals, particularly in HR roles, navigate from setting ambitions to achieving them. The conversation emphasized the importance of prioritisation, aligning talent with objectives, and the need to focus on critical capabilities that drive company performance. The conversation also touched on the challenge of connecting HR initiatives to company value, especially in the context of sustainability. The discussion highlights the need for HR to shift from a broad approach to a more focused and impactful strategy that aligns with business goals and performance metrics. The importance of measuring specific skills and competencies, linking them to organisational success, and upskilling managers to drive performance. 


There is a necessity for HR to evolve in its capability and approach to play a more strategic role in the organization.


Hein’s takeaway thoughts were:


  1. No one has ever managed to change the world overnight.
  2. It’s Easier to Act Your Way into a New Way of Thinking than to Think Your Way into a New Way of Acting