HRO Today Forum: Eggs, Bacon, and HR Strategy

The HRO Today Forum – North America took place over three days during the first week of May 2017, with 500 industry leaders coming together to discuss the current state of HR outsourcing, future trends we can all expect, and new technologies soon to roll out.


One of my favorite parts of the HRO Today Forum is the opportunity to connect with industry peers and leaders who are passionate about people, and hearing their perspectives around the industry we support. As a new leader at WilsonHCG, I was fortunate to join our CEO (John Wilson), our EVP of Global Client Solutions (Kim Pope), and 20 chief HR officers from around the country as we hosted a breakfast to discuss the bottom-line, business impact of talent acquisition. Yes: eggs, bacon and HR strategy! 

We look forward to this breakfast because we enjoy learning and better understanding how other businesses operate. WilsonHCG was founded on the idea of bringing value to all companies and leaders we encounter, which made having breakfast with an intimate collection of HR leaders an excellent morning; listening and learning how they impact their businesses, remain innovative, and disrupt the traditional ways of supporting the HR function.  


Although new technologies and HR strategies are popping up more frequently (artificial intelligence to create efficiency, the use of "big data" to support business decisions, and the rise of talent acquisition as a marketing function), it was refreshing to here 20 chief HR officers discuss the power of technology but remain focused on their people – how they attract, acquire and retain their people.


Over the course of this breakfast, which lasted more than an hour, I came away with three unique observations:


Talent acquisition processes are impacting value-added business. We heard from “for-profit” and “not-for-profit” leaders and the message was consistent. On both sides, talent acquisition has a direct impact on companies' ability grow and sustain value-added business. The focal point of these discussions: talent acquisition processes need to be fluid and support business outcomes. For example, truly strategic talent acquisition brings understanding of the industry, company culture and the existing workforce; hones and refines sourcing procedures; helps refine lists of candidates to only best-fit talent; and increases engagement throughout an organization by integrating, for example, referral campaigns and inclusive onboarding campaigns. Above all, however, value-added talent acquisition recognizes its return on investment, using data and analytics, strategic workforce planning, among other talent strategies, to inform and improve business decisions.

The talent acquisition demand on businesses is diverse. The passion expressed by each leader in attendance fascinating. We discussed the impact of recruiting and retaining the best "sales talent", and it was inspiring to hear how many of the CHROs we spoke with have built strong partnerships with their Chief Sales Officers – squashed, quickly, was the often assumed stereotype that HR and business leaders aren’t in communication. It is clear that the demands on each business vary widely, and the CHROs in attendance reinforced my perspective that, as we evolve our talent acquisition industry, the ability to be agile, customizable and growth-oriented in terms of talent strategy is more critical than ever before.


Data and passion are interconnected. Data tells an objective story; passion supports the cause. The consistent use of data was evident among the leaders at our breakfast, as was the positive impact their forward-thinking leadership has on the businesses they support. The CHROs we met with have certainly earned their seat at the broader business table due to their ability to tell stories with strong and well managed data.  

The HRO Today Forum and breakfast we hosted were amazing experiences to meet with and learn from such passionate leaders. At WilsonHCG, we are always up for and open to this type of accountable, transparent discussion as it makes us all better leaders and allows us to learn from one another.

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Travis Furlow

As a VP of Client Solutions with WilsonHCG, Travis is responsible for supporting the growth of the Americas' region. Travis holds a deep passion for relationship management, performance management, and recruiting innovation. Travis started his career as a recruiter in 1995 and he has been an industry speaker and writer for the last 10 years.