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Human resources isn't traditionally seen as the most innovative, or even most influential, department in a company. But today's Chief Human Resources Officers are changing the game, challenging the common perception of HR as just an administrative department and positioning themselves instead as critical to business strategy.

This fundamental shift in talent management inspired us to bring some of today's foremost HR leaders, from some of the most successful companies across the U.S., together to discuss the changing role of HR, and how company leaders can drive organizational change. In March, we partnered with management consulting firm Ferrazzi Greenlight to host 30 of the most innovative and progressive HR executives at the CHRO Community Summit in Los Angeles. With conversations spanning everything from employee engagement to corporate responsibility to equal pay, the ideas and energy of the group demonstrated the power of HR to not only transform organizations for the better, but also impact the world.

Over the next several months, we'll dive into the major themes and creative ideas from the Summit, with the goal of spurring conversations in the greater HR community about how we can have a positive impact on our companies, our employees and our communities. Here's a sneak peek at what we'll be discussing.

Creating a Feedback Loop

Companies' approaches to performance reviews are rapidly changing. As more and more organizations operate at one of two extremes—relying solely on a ratings system or forgoing ratings completely in favor of less structured feedback—others, dissatisfied with both options, are forging their own path and reinventing performance reviews completely.

Thinking Like a Company of One

What would you do if you only had one person in your company? Would you treat them differently? What would you do for them that you're not doing for your employees now? This was a common theme that came up across several HR topics (compensation, feedback, benefits). The consensus was that we're at a point where technology can help make career personalization a reality—both gathering the necessary information to understand an employee's needs and delivering a customized experience to everyone at the company.

Investing in HR.IO

The “digitization" of HR has been a hot topic for a while now, but not all companies understand the power of turning real world information into digital data. Technology can not only help complete HR tasks faster, but also improve employees' lives and the company's bottom line. By aggregating data from feedback, engagement surveys, compensation and other digitized HR practices, companies have better insight into their biggest talent challenges and opportunities.

Building a Diverse Company

There's a ton of discussion about diversity in hiring, but many companies are not matching their actions with their words. Why? It's not for lack of trying. Something that can sound so simple is actually quite hard. Hiring a more diverse group of employees is just a fraction of the challenge—creating a more inclusive company culture is much more difficult.

Following the Rules of (Employee) Engagement

Engagement surveys are almost as old as the HR profession itself—and for many companies it's been almost as long since they reevaluated their methodology. But the fact remains that engagement surveys are full of incredibly valuable data. Innovative HR executives are rethinking the way they evaluate engagement, so they can address how employees are feeling and create more meaningful policies.

We're in an era of truly strategic HR, and we're excited to share tried-and-true, impactful strategies employed by some of the most innovative people in the industry in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!

Photo: Creative Commons