The 2021 CHRO Agenda

March 8, 2021
Season 1, Episode 14

The Hackett Group Associate Principal Franco Girimonte and Senior Director HR Research Anthony DiRomualdo discuss findings from The Hackett Group’s 2021 HR Key Issues research, including how the pandemic has required HR to step up and play a greater role as a strategic advisor to the business. HR’s ability to enable high-performing organizational culture and better align talent with business needs, improve overall agility, and address workforce diversity issues are also covered. Finally the two experts talk about HR’s digital transformation and other technology initiatives, which have become more important in today’s largely remote work environment.

Show Notes

Today’s episode of the Business Excelleration Podcast is hosted by Franco Girimonte of the Hackett Group. Frank’s joined by guest Tony DiRomualdo, the SR Director of HR Research at The Hackett Group. The two will talk about the HR Agenda of 2021, the annual Key Issues research, and the Top 10 Most Important HR Issues in 2021. Franco highlights notable points on the list and then passes them to Tony for more insight.

In the first half of the episode, Franco and Tony walk through the top four HR issues that appeared on the 2021 list. They start with the number one, where HR’s first objective is to “continue to serve as a strategic advisor to the business.” This year, the advisory role will revolve heavily around working with members to ensure the business, and the individual, are navigating the pressures and stresses of COVID in the best way possible.

It’s no surprise next three objectives Franco and Tony look at fall under the umbrella of issues COVID has brought to the forefront of HR departments. These objectives are creating and maintaining high performing culture, aligning workforce strategy to business strategy, and improving HR’s overall agility and ability to pivot.

Moving forward to the second half of the episode, the two turn their focus on HR issues relating to modern-day issues in society. Tony explains diversity and inclusion initiatives are of utmost importance, as 2020 revealed that we must address certain long-standing bias’s against other groups of people. HR can improve diversity and inclusion practices by being aggressive in goal setting and in getting results. Working with senior leadership members will be crucial in doing so.

The final issue that Franco brings up to Tony is the importance of having the right technologies set in order to drive efficiency. Tony explains a number of different technologies have seen an increase in use compared to last year—robotic process automation, data analysis and visualization tools, and virtual assistants and chatbots seeing year over year improvement.


1:22 – Franco introduces Tony DiRomualdo.

2:09 – The #1 issue of the Top 10 Most Important HR Issues in 2021.

5:10 – How to create and keep a work culture built on community and trust.

7:25 – Aligning workforce strategy to business strategy.

10:29 – Tony defines what “Agility” means to the HR mindset.

13:00 – Getting results with diversity and inclusion in the workplace.

15:32 – The importance of key technologies and how different software’s can help drive efficiency.

22:51 – Final thoughts and wrap-up.