HR And The Chief Executive: Effectively Partnering The Business
In any successful organization, the key to future success is creating an effective strategic partnership between HR and the Chief Executive.
This ensures that the tactical and strategic considerations of the organization continue to work together, rather than in a disjointed manner or, worse, at cross-purposes.
The first way to create an effective partnership between HR and the CEO is to make the company’s approach to human capital part of the overriding mission statement of the organization. While the words “talent” or “human capital” do not need to explicitly appear in the mission statement, what does need to appear is a confirmation that the company fosters the right environment for certain types of workers and leaders to thrive.
Naturally, this then establishes hiring priorities for the organization. For companies that choose to focus primarily on customer service, for example, this means developing a hiring plan that attracts applicants who are focused first and foremost on providing world-class customer service. For companies that choose to focus primarily on building world-class products, this means hiring people with best-in-class product management and product development skills.
Another way to create an effective partnership between HR and the Chief Executive is to highlight the role of HR in driving quarterly results, such as top-line revenue or bottom-line profitability.
During quarterly investor presentations, for example, some companies take enormous efforts to highlight the role of global talent in driving forward key strategic goals of the organization – whether it is the penetration of select markets, entry into new geographic regions, or attracting new types of clients globally.
The third way to create an effective partnership between HR and the CEO is to raise the status of the head of HR to an executive function.
Just as companies may have a CIO (Chief Information Officer) or a CSO (Chief Security Officer), they may also have the analogue of the CTO (Chief Talent Officer). By elevating the position of HR head to an executive level, it ensures that considerations of talent and human capital always have the ear of the CEO.
This approach to talent can be seen at companies such as Google, where Laszlo Bock, SVP of People Operations, is a visible executive with enormous ability to influence the way Google is perceived in the marketplace by applicants. Google prides itself on being a world-class technology leader, and in order to execute on this goal, it must hire the world’s best technologists. As other companies compete for the same talent as Google, the company must continually raise the bar – both in terms of what it offers, and in how it makes HR part of the broader strategic mission.
Putting all three elements together:
Making HR part of the corporate mission, inserting HR into key stakeholder events such as quarterly earnings reports, and elevating the status of HR leaders to highly-visible senior executive positions – are part of a dynamic strategy of ensuring that HR and the CEO see eye-to-eye on a host of important strategic matters and can advance the growth of the organization.
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