Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs) have gone from fighting to get a seat at the executive table to becoming one of the most in-demand roles in the C-suite. Even before the pandemic, CHROs were facing shifting employee expectations. The last couple of years has accelerated the changes and introduced complexities we’ve never experienced before. CHRO challenges and opportunities are becoming more centered around the human aspect of human resources.
According to Spencer Stuart, “The issues that seem to matter most to boards and CEOs are leadership, talent, culture, DE&I and ESG. Business strategy is, of course, vitally important, but without the right culture, leadership and talent solutions, the smartest strategy is unlikely to be successfully delivered. These are all interconnected people-related issues. It is no surprise then that the past three years have seen a huge spike in demand for CHROs with more first timers being appointed in 2022 than in previous years.”
One of the challenges every CHRO is facing is how to successfully implement hybrid work solutions. “Many organizations feel they haven’t got it right yet. Reconciling the inequity perceived by those whose roles mean they can’t work remotely, understanding the relative advantages in productivity, harnessing the benefits of geographical neutrality, building engagement and collaboration are some of the challenges that we are all struggling with.”
Another challenge is keeping top talent. Companies that thrive will have an employee-focused culture. From flexible work schedules to reskilling and upskilling options, keeping employees engaged will require focus from the entire C-suite.
With no end in sight to the uncertainty in the labor market, companies need to be agile, and the CHRO is no exception. This is an area where the CHRO can take point in the executive suite. The need to create a culture that embraces change can be a competitive advantage.
Diversity also continues to be a challenge for CHROs. While there has been a lot of improvement in hiring, diverse teams must be set up for success. Creating a safe environment where people feel safe providing their opinions builds trust. For years studies have shown that a diverse team that trusts one another will outperform more homogeneous teams.
CHRO roles have become leaders in the C-suite. The breadth of challenges they have faced over the past few years has provided them with a broader view of the business and demonstrated to other executives the importance of culture in creating a strong organization.
This newfound level of involvement with their peers, combined with the new expectations of employees, has put CHROs front and center from a leadership perspective. CEOs would be wise to invest in their HR functions as a competitive advantage in today’s constantly shifting workplace.
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