Bob's Gutsy Leadership Blog

The Head of HR – Wimp or CHRO Candidate?

Recently I was asked by an HR professional what it takes for the head of HR in a company to earn the Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO) title and a seat at the executive table. Having heard this question many times, I want to provide my view.

A head of HR needs to be a courageous leader. They need to be pushing the top executives in the organization to always have very strong players in the top jobs and the critically important jobs. That also means pushing to have average players moved out and talented players moved up. The person needs to be accountable for having a highly effective system in place to develop talent; generating a pool of very strong internal candidates for key jobs. Also, the person needs to have productive sources outside the organizations to spot highly talented –not necessarily experienced – external candidates.

This person also needs to be the force behind highly effective performance appraisal and compensation systems that significantly rewards strong performance, and identifies weak performance and forces the organization to deal with these folks.

When all of this is done well, the head of HR becomes very valuable and will get a seat at the executive table, and maybe a CHRO title.

Too many HR organizations simply put their energy into executing the existing, weak performance appraisal and compensation procedures, hiring hordes of generalists that work primarily at the lower levels, running the existing benefits programs, and that’s about it. They don’t confront and convince the top management to own and drive the development and deployment of outstanding talent.

OK you HR professionals out there, what do you think?

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