It’s that time of year when I’m gearing up for SHRM 2015. I’m excited to see the changes in technology and social that continue to be shaping and driving this global community. Brand spanking new theories expound on how to better handle this gigantic new arena that is still known as talent. Some are better than others. Among them is a bona fide potential game-changer: the CHRO. Bring a Chief Human Resources Officer into the C-suite and you solve a whole bunch of problems — probably including some you didn’t know he or she could solve. Just as the other talented people occupying those Knoll chairs in the conference room all have specific purviews that complement the central focal point of the CEO, the CHRO does as well. With an interesting twist.
Here are the top 4 reasons a CHRO belongs in the C-Suite and everyone will be happier.
1) An organization is only as good as its talent. But the best and brightest is global, not local, which requires a far-reaching strategy. Also as important, at least 35% of workers in the United States are not on the payroll or part of regular salaried staff: they’re consultants, freelancers, project-based talent. Talent is more diverse than ever: multicultural, multigenerational; with a high probability that shared space will be virtual. To tap into such a disruptive, multifarious universe of talent, and successfully bring them into the organization, requires the insights and agility of a dedicated leader.
2) The CHRO is more like the CEO than you think. Many have found this surprising, but given the increasing sphere of HR, it shouldn’t be a shock: HR leaders have long combined managerial and people acumen; P&L and predictive strategic planning. Recently, researchers compared the CHRO to a range of other positions in the C-suite (including COO, CFO, CMO and CIO). CHROs were the ones that came closest to CEOs in terms of traits such as leadership style, thinking style and emotional competency.
3) More than ever, talent is on the front lines of the customer experience. Given the blurred lines (if any) between digital (online, mobile and social) and physical experiences, the customer experience depends more than ever on the talent it interacts with. One recent CHRO study stressed this nearly seamless new reality. A CHRO can spearhead talent analytics to dovetail with customer experience, and dovetail with marketing and mission. Moreover, given the zeitgeist of 24/7, 3D accessibility, here’s another big given: a cogent, inspiring, on-message employee brand is an enormous factor in drawing in top talent — the same talent who will then represent the brand to the outside world.
4) Workforce culture is a big deal, yes, but — There is still a disconnect between a holistic, strategic definition of workforce culture as if should effect and inspire recruiting and engagement, and how it’s really working. Whether it’s more perceived than real, it’s giving HR a bad name: recruiters and HR departments are confusing compatibility and similarities (arbitrary as same school, same sports, same hair) with talent that may not appear a good fit but would actually be so. Call in the CHRO to make strategic recruitment policies that work across the board, and dictate not who isn’t hired, but who is.
The researchers who found the striking similarities between CHROs and CEOs lobbed out a worthy suggestion: that organizations consider CHROs when recruiting for a CEO. But I’m thinking, wait a moment. Considering the givens (see above), how about we start by installing a CHRO in the C-Suite, so they can do their amazing job? To have a position in the C-Suite also eliminates the odd schism that splitting HR functions would create — another theory on how to reduce the intense overload that talent management now encompasses. Better to have one head, two bodies, than two heads. Given that HR is now inarguably more than an administrative paper shuffle, time to give it the place (seat) at the conference table it deserves. Yes, I went there – it’s #Buzzword time but maybe it’s going to happen in practice and not simply in theory.
This article was written by Meghan M. Biro from Forbes and was legally licensed through the NewsCred publisher network.