What CEOs are expecting from HR

Many times, I have heard from CEOs regarding their frustrations about HR, in the sense that either they do not understand the business strategy or come with a plan without understanding the business needs. Generally speaking, in many occasions the top HR head is seen as transactional HR champion instead of the advisor who can translate business company needs into organizational & people actions to make sure the company deliver value to customers
CEO and C-suite executives are expecting that HR can deliver successfully transactional process but also design talent and cultural initiatives that leverage long-term, turnaround and/ or hyper-growth strategies. For instance, if an organization is experimenting an international expansion, one of the critical activities that HR needs to design and deliver is a talent acquisition strategy to bring the brightest people and critical talent to make sure the company delivers results. In addition, in this stage, a strong onboarding process would allow new employees understand the company’s culture, responsibilities, and expectations about their work and how they are adding value to the company. HR has to be one that drives and champion these processes to make sure the company have the right talent to support business growth
At the same time, CEOs are expecting from HR to be the business facilitator and advisor with regards to cultural and organizational effectiveness. For instance, if industry/market is being affected by an economic downturn, HR has to be the one partnering with the CEO and business leaders to make sure the organization can create synergies and efficiencies across subsidiaries and have an organizational structure that reflects and deliver results in this particular business context
Furthermore, CEOs want to see from HR on how they can help the organization to reduce cost. In order to be able to give this type of advice, HR needs to think outside the box and partner with senior executives to understand P&L statements, operating models, customer insights to make sure HR interventions are set up to face business challenges. For instance, HR can champion productivity programs where employees participate and bring their ideas as a team to management on how generates savings in their functional or cross-functional areas. This way, HR is bringing to the table a cost reduction, boosting collaboration, engagement, and teamwork
Finally, change management is something that HR needs to own and be able to bring the tools and project management plan to support the organization to adapt to change. I will explain more in detail this activity in a future article
To sum up, HR executives need to balance the strategic/transactional work and immerse deeply into the business to translate business needs into specific HR interventions. The CEO is responsible to set clear expectations about the role of HR and HR executives are responsible to check-in to make sure the HR objectives are aligned with the business
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Author
Albert Loyola is Managing Partner with Ignite Organizations, a talent and organization consulting firm. He serves as a trusted advisor to leadership teams on future workforce strategy, HR technology capabilities and integrated talent and HR solutions, he enables clients to address their future workforce needs and lead change in the face of digital transformation.
Albert is a People Technology Advisor & Speaker on the Future of Work, Employee Experience, Design Thinking and Artificial Intelligence in HR. His work has been featured on different business and HR tech magazines. Albert holds a Master Degree from Cornell University, in Human Resources
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