Research Report

2021: The Year of the HR Leader


The 2020 pandemic has highlighted the strategic importance that HR has played in the adaptability and survival of many businesses.

Many of the recommendations HR leaders have previously been advocating for such as retraining and upskilling, mental health and wellbeing, and the importance of company culture, are now key c-suite considerations for the future of many businesses.

This paper looks at how HR professionals and key HR issues are viewed through the eyes of the C-suite and what can HR leaders do to claim their seat at the top table. If the 2008 recession is now viewed at the period when CFOs came to prominence, will 2021 be the year of the HR leader?



We surveyed 200 c-suite leaders and 200 CHROs to get their views on key HR issues and what difference of opinions there were.

  • As a result of the pandemic, more HR leaders have had more interaction with the board
  • Upskilling workforce, hiring new talent are of higher priority than redundancies
  • Many business leaders believe that they do not have the talent needed to survive next 5 years
  • Employee well-being is now a board level issue.

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"Only 16% of businesses have the talent needed to survive the next five years."

"40% of CHROs are working with the board on a long term employee development programmes"

- LHH Research: 2021 - Year of the HR Leader


About LHH

In today’s marketplace, organisations are discovering the need to turn their attention inward to find their future talent. At Lee Hecht Harrison (LHH), we help companies see the possibilities in their people. Through assessments, coaching, upskilling and transitioning, companies can realise the untapped potential within their own workforce, resulting in increased productivity, morale, and brand affinity. 

A division of The Adecco Group – the world’s leading HR solutions partner – LHH’s 4,000 coaches and colleagues work with more than 7,000 organisations in over 60 countries around the world. We make a difference to everyone we work with, and we do it on a global scale. We have the local expertise, global infrastructure, and industry-leading technology to manage the complexity of critical workforce initiatives and the challenges of transformation. 


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