According to a CHRO trends report, in 2019, 47% of CEOs replaced their CHROs with external candidates. The statistic has been growing consistently over the past few years. This is alarming because it highlights a lack of capabilities in internal HR talent. If this continues, 2021 will be the year when more external HR talent would replace CHROs than internal HR talent.
What’s Propelling the Trend?
Over the past two decades, CHROs have helped companies navigate changing employee behavior and made impactful changes in HR strategy. These new HR leaders have increased the power and impact of the HR profession and made sure that topics like talent management, diversity, and employee engagement stay on the board’s agenda. CHROs are now trusted advisors to the CEO and board.
Many CHROs have transformed the company HR structure and reduced costs. These changes have elevated the role of HR and increased their influence in decision making. Not to mention, the historical ‘noise’ caused by poor communication between HR and the business.
However, this positive impact and influence are offset by an area that has failed to improve over the last few years – the quality of their team. HR leaders who have transformed elements of their organization, but have failed to make changes needed in their direct reports.
This delay in upgrading the quality of the HR team is the reason why more CEOs are hiring CEOs from outside. This also points out the need among CHROs to elevate the quality of their teams to complete their HR transformation.
Gauging CHRO Teams’ Performance
As a CHRO, we may tend to believe that our HR team is performing at its best level. However, a more concrete approach to gauge this is by asking the following three questions:
- Would your company leaders vouch for you and say that HR processes are executed seamlessly and deliver the results they expect and want to get to the top?
- Does your team have the ability to influence top executives on difficult topics and change the executive mind where a thorough understanding of business and operations is needed?
- Does the executive team trust your direct reports with their corporate lives?
If the answer to each of the above questions is yes, you‘ve built an outstanding CHRO team. Your management team should be complacent with your succession chart.
The answer of most HR leaders ranges between – “sort of” and “working on it”. It’s the lack of attention on improving the quality of the CHRO team that creates friction between the CHRO and CEO and senior management leaders. Your team’s mindset, capabilities, and performance reflect your competence. The cases where CHRO individually were strong but were let go because their team couldn’t deliver high performance.
Priorities of a Strong CHRO Team
The following three factors differentiate high performing CHRO team from others.
- A high performer’s mindset
- Capability building through experiences
- Executive advisor and influencer
These traits may not special, but very few CHRO teams fit the above criteria when assessed under the following areas.
High Performer’s Mindset
A high performing team:
- Works harder than others: Smart work always doesn’t pay off. High –performing teams realize that sometimes longer work hours are required to meet targets.
- Makes additional sacrifices: Projects and goals sometimes require giving up personal and family time. Team members may need to attend calls at odd hours, sacrificing my time and family time.
- Embrace relative performance: There will always be someone better at the performance. Each HR talent understands that their contribution will be compared to others. A higher performer in team 1 may be an average performer in a team
Capability Building Through Experiences
High performing teams believe that competence is built through experiences. So HR talent members should strive to get as much diverse experience as possible.
A few questions that can help gauge the competence of a high –performing team member are:
- In-depth understanding of HR: How many areas of human resources have a member had a high-quality experience in? Are they able to build effective and simple processes in payroll, talent management, talent acquisition, and learning and development? Are they comfortable with HR analytics and working with data-driven approaches?
- Learning agility: Can an HR team member learn from their experiences? Will they perform high in new and first-time situations? Can they figure out what to do in times of challenging situations?
Executive Advisor and Influencer
High–performing HR members understand HR inside out, while others know HR. An HR professional who understands the business will speak clearly to executives and advise them accordingly to set the agenda for HR. This way they gain the trust of the executive and become strategic advisors to them.
The following traits define HR leaders’ capabilities to be an executive advisor and influencer:
- Practical business acumen: An understanding of how the various business operations – finance, marketing, sales, customer service, work, etc. is important to take HR decisions and impact the overall goal
- Strategist: A comprehensive understanding of the company’s strategy, so they can work and align HR strategy accordingly.
- Social architect: Should have the potential to drive senior leaders’ change agenda and drive growth and revenue.
- Trusted advisor: They should be trusted advisors to executives; one point of contact whom executives call when they need to discuss organizational issues or need counsel.
Smiling female boss talking to business team – DepositPhotos