What Are the Major Challenges You Are Facing as an Executive HR Leader

The workplace is changing, and HR executives are ready to tackle what’s to come head on. From February 26th – 28th, CHROs and VPs of HR gathered at the JW Marriott in Miami, Florida for the HR Management Institute, to collaborate on HR solutions that will improve their organizations. Before the conference began, we polled the attendees from organizations including Best Buy, BASF, Corus Entertainment, L Brands, NBC Universal, Northwell Health and Schneider Electric, asking them, “What are the major challenges and concerns you are facing as an Executive HR Leader in your organization today?” The top 3 responses we received were: ‘Leadership Development’, ‘Talent Development’ and ‘Employee Engagement.’ 

With these concerns top of mind, the 2 ½ days consisted of roundtable discussions, networking opportunities and speaking engagements designed for HR leaders to foster innovative dialogue and work together to improve the HR industry. The discussions dove into solutions for developing leaders, attracting & retaining top talent, recognition programs that drive culture & engagement and leveraging technology to enhance HR capabilities. Equipped with innovative tools and information, attendees headed back to their offices ready to implement new strategies and best practices.

Are you ready to share your voice? The HR Management Institute is taking place for a 2nd time this year from July 23rd – 25th, 2017 at the Rancho Bernardo Inn in San Diego, CA. Please email to request a copy of the agenda.

Q&A with Ricoh USA, Inc.

Our HR conference, the HR Management Institute, took place in February 2016. The initiative was a great success and we were lucky to have spent the 2 ½ days with incredible CHROs and VPs of HR from America’s leading organizations. Additionally, we had an amazing speaker panel and had the privilege of hosting Donna Venable, EVP of HR, and Michael Jones, VP, HR, US Field Operations, from Ricoh USA, Inc. The duo shared their insights on how HR is playing a strategic role in Ricoh’s evolving transformation and their speaker session was one of the highest rated at the program, as attendees found their content extremely valuable.

We sat down with Donna Venable and Michael Jones from Ricoh to learn more. Take a look at our Q&A below!


1.     When did Ricoh’s HR team decide it was time to make its own transformation and what did the team do to initiate the transformation?

The HR2020 transformation primarily focused on our HR field delivery teams. Ricoh HR was, and continues to be, on an evolutionary journey. We’ve explored outsourcing recruiting and benefits administration, adopted strategic business partners aligned to our senior most organization leaders and we’ve centralized many transactional areas. We’ve also realized that, on the backend of supporting a number of business integrations, functional structure/alignment changes, as well as the organization’s overall cultural transformation and adoption, we could pause from those engagements and focus specifically on our field delivery team.

The HR2020 transformation had a few catalyst points, including engagement of C-suite business leaders to share how we envisioned greater support and business impact through a more efficient field delivery structure. We also engaged cross-functional senior HR leaders and field HR leaders from the beginning so they could contribute to every aspect of the vision and play an active role in the creation of our roadmap.

2.     Can you share some of the points of Ricoh’s HR2020 initiative?

In no specific order:

  • Evaluate and identify gaps in HR services or HR delivery
  • Incorporate cross-functional collaboration
  • Define decision governance (including conflict resolution)
  • Implement a dedicated project manager/leader
  • Implement a talent assessment review for new roles and expectations
  • Communicate, communicate, communicate; we chose to communicate often using various communication vehicles - email, face-to-face, group calls, video
  • Engage external consultant for independent perspective

3.     What challenges did Ricoh face when implementing new technologies?

We didn’t experience what may be considered typical challenges with implementation. What we found was a greater need to collaborate and coordinate with other stakeholders, i.e. IT, business functions, that also had other high priority activities with similar key resource groups. This collaboration ensured linkage across the entire HR organization.

We also spent considerable time working through access, license distribution, cross team interfacing (i.e. - benefits, employee relations).

We simplified the complexity of implementing and introducing new functionality by building new technology into our overall project plan versus leaving it as an IT-owned project. We were also able to utilize IT knowledge/experience with newer technology platforms already in use with IT, thus contributing to an easier on ramp.

4.     What was the best takeaway for Ricoh from the HR Management Institute?

Honestly, we have discussed several. In general, we thought the quality of speakers and their topics were very good and timely, and we feel several of the sponsor/vendor connections will provide us the opportunity to explore further enhancements to our HR services. We also felt a number of the network connections will allow for best practice sharing, and we did identify 4 action/best practices that we are actively working to implement.


Every year we host two HR programs and our second one for 2016 will be taking place July 17th to 19th at the Four Seasons Hotel Westlake Village, CA. Registration is officially open to attend. If you are interested in collaborating and engaging in innovative discussions on how to improve your HR strategies and workplace with CHROs and VPs of HR like yourself, join today and secure your spot.