BambooHR Blog

Required Reading: The IBM Global C-Suite Study

IBM Global C Suite Study

Are you familiar with the IBM Global C-Suite Study? If so, good for you; you’re an information hound. If not, don’t worry; we weren’t until recently, and we felt like we’d been left out of a secret club . . . until we asked around and discovered nobody else knew about it either. (And for the record, we aren’t sponsored by or being compensated by IBM in any way for this post.)

The story goes like this: In 2003, IBM’s Institute for Business Value began conducting surveys of C-suite executives—CEOs, CFOs, COOs, CIOs, CMOs, and of course, CHROs—in order to gauge perspectives on the current states of business, technology, and innovation. The 18th and most recent study in the series, conducted in 2015, contains a jaw-dropping amount of information from over 5,000 executives at the top of industry-leading organizations around the world. There are quotes and graphs and whitepapers and videos revealing valuable insights about how they run their respective companies and what they see coming down the road, both in their own industries and in business in general.

And here’s the kicker: it’s free.   

But you might be wondering why any of this matters to you, a mere worker drone from Sector HR.

It matters because if you’re in charge of human resources, you are the CHRO. Whether or not the title appears on your door, business card, or name tag, you’re it. And by knowing what other CHROs are thinking, you’ll start thinking like one yourself. If you’re not in charge, well, knowing what the people in charge are thinking certainly can’t hurt, and it might give you something brilliant to say at your next department meeting.

So, for all the rightful heirs to chieftainship out there, here are just a few of the ideas we think CHROs—titled or not—should take away from reading the study.


  • The job market is a technology arms race

For better or worse, technology has created an always-connected, always-on status quo in business. It also means savvy organizations are reaching farther than ever before to get first dibs on great talent, leaving the not-so-savvy ones wondering why they can’t find anybody worth hiring. HR already has a reputation for being old-fashioned, so if you’re still relying on the old “spray and pray” method of recruiting, now is the time to get caught up.

  • Business is converging on the value of human capital

In simple terms, the folks in the biggest offices in your building are starting to realize that people matter. We say all the time that “businesses don’t create value; people do,” but it seems like only recently that anyone’s started listening. The great news is that they’re going to be more willing to invest in things like culture and engagement, so long as someone can tell them why it’s wise to do so. That’s where you come in.

  • Analytics are HR’s new best friend

Executives think in business terms, and if they’re going to spend money on improving HR practices, they’ll also want to know how their investment is performing. If you can show early on how your organization is benefiting from additional HCM resources, you’ll get all the help you need. Compiling, analyzing, and presenting the data you control as an HR administrator is the easiest way to do exactly that.  


Is there a tech-forward bias coming through in any of this? For sure; that’s not very surprising when you consider who sponsored the study. We’re biased, too—we make software, after all. However, it would be a mistake to dismiss a huge treasure trove of free information as simply propaganda for the tech industry. After all, barring a meteor impact that sends us all back to the bronze age, technology is a big part of your life and your business now and in the future.

Go read the IBM Global C-Suite Study. Maybe not the whole thing, but at least the CHRO viewpoint. And then come back and thank us. We’ll be here.

We want to know what you think about everything we’ve discussed, and we’d love to hear your perspective on where HR is headed. Leave a comment below and start a discussion.


BambooHR is the #1 HR software for small and medium-sized businesses. We set you free from spreadsheets so you can do great work.

Find Out More

Sign up for our Newsletter

Why would you want to give us your email? Because that's the only way to get these tasty morsels of world-class HR wisdom delivered to your inbox every month.

We use cookies to improve your browsing experience. By continuing to use this website, you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.

Send this to a friend