The Evolving Role & Duties of Chief Human Resource Officers

We continually talk about transforming HR; however, we rarely hear about shaking up the top—the role of the chief human resource officer (CHRO).

Traditionally, the CHRO has been responsible for the administration of the HR function, a very operational and tactical role. But as organizations strive to keep up with customer demands and industry competition, the CHRO has needed to evolve into more of a strategic influencer.

Influence

The CHRO was hired to provide advice and counsel by offering a different perspective about talent, benefits, and anything else that may affect employees. After all, a strong employee base propels organizational growth and innovation.

“The CHRO has to have the courage to say what needs to be said to the CEO—especially when no one else is saying it,” says Andrea Cranfill of FlashpointHR.com. “It’s also important to understand what the CEO needs to know in order to be effective. The CHRO is often in a position to help frame situations, provide alternative perspectives, represent the interests of the entire organization, and keep the CEO from being blindsided.”

Instead of merely focusing on behind-the-scene operations, the CHRO of today directs the business through influence.

Winning Talent

Good talent is hard to find, let alone attract and retain. As technology changes at a rapid pace, so must our recruiting strategies. However, it has been noted that many recruiters tend to stick with what they know best and avoid leaving their comfort zone. In other words, we talk a good talk about strategy and social media, but in the end, we’re still back to reviewing stacks of resumes that were posted on job boards.

We talk of talent strategy, but are we doing enough to win talent?

Talent strategy begins with the CHRO. This strategy involves key stakeholders as well as those supporting the talent function. For example, HR business partners work alongside business leaders and department heads to understand key initiatives and revenue goals. Recruiters engage in sourcing and securing the right candidates to fill open requisitions and build the talent pipeline for future needs. However, the evolving CHRO continues to provide insight and guidance around talent goals and tracks progress using metrics that support the strategy. The CHRO role is no longer about leading the HR function, but rather to rethink how to win talent. For example, people work differently than they did 5 years ago. To attract and retain talent, we have to work differently too.

In a Deloittereview.com report, “Disrupting the CHRO,” we learn, “With more variety in the offerings in the talent marketplace, more options for how to structure employment arrangements, and different types of attendant risks, the CHRO should rethink investments in talent in terms of their placement, expected future benefits, and duration.”

For the Love of Data

Historically, HR has relied on qualitative data and less on the numbers. Qualitative data is not as accurate as quantitative because it’s open for interpretation. It’s not hard and fast. And let’s face it, if you’re trying to get investment dollars or need to buy a new onboarding system, your CFO is not going to approve anything without real data. Part of the evolution of the CHRO is to understand data and how to quantify it for forecasting and budgeting.

Why should you love data?

Numbers are facts that can’t be disputed. And if you know your data…if you love your data, you’ll be viewed as a credible resource that can speak to the numbers.

The Deloittereview.com report shares the following, “CHROs should generate and syndicate clear problem statements specific to their industry and company situation, then deploy analytics to tease out the root causes and their dynamics. The use of analytics to design, defend, and activate a growth-oriented agenda will be a key source of newfound credibility and a hallmark of great HR leaders.”

When you’ve got a handle on the data, you no longer have to think on your feet…you’ve got the facts to back up your guidance.

CHRO’s need to evolve in order to be true influencers. Change doesn’t always happen overnight. Fortunately, CHROs and HR staff have the tools to undergo the evolution needed to meet the expectations of today’s organizational leaders.

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