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The Transforming Role of the Chief Human Resources



The Transforming Role of the Chief HR

Human Resources has become a multi-sided function and companies expect their HR leaders to be well-rounded.

Long gone are the days when human resources revolved around administrative and finance-related tasks. In the current business scenery, HRs are not only expected to cater to the requirements of the personnel but also handle the needs of the whole company.

The Role of the Chief HR

The CHRO position is as diverse and vast as it can get. These days, organizations seek people for this role only if they possess knowledge across a myriad of industries and skills with respect to disparate business units. A CHRO acts as a keystone of the company, a force that drives the organization’s culture as its competitive advantage and also as a harness that girds the business in the fierce ongoing war of talent. In point of fact, the chief HR is considered to be the most resourceful person out of everyone who reports to the CEO, as stated in the Harvard Business Review.

The Path to the Top

The CHRO role is unconventional and so is its path. As a matter of fact, there is not just one route that takes you to this position. Traditionally, going by the orthodox linear track, an HR professional moves up from being a recruiter to generalist to a human resources business partner to becoming the regional head and the process goes on & on.

However, HR practitioners are taking up new interesting roles which is definitely a new trend in the industry. Almost one out of four is holding a general management position in some business unit, twenty-one percent are managing a leadership function in finance, moreover, ten percent are into sales and marketing roles. Also, close to thirty percent are holding a remarkable international leadership project which is possibly a reflection of the worldwide nature of big corporations.

Looking at Chief HR appointments over time, it is quite clear that such trends are more noticeable among the new, young appointed Human Resources leaders. As observed, fifty-six percent elevation in international experience amidst new CHROs in comparison with the longer-occupancy ones.

Though general management tasks can provide CHROs with a wider view of the firm, studies suggest that leading particular spheres of human capital like Learning and Development, Compensation, and Diversity and Inclusion are also crucial components of an HR career. Although a few of Fortune 100 Chief Human Resources Officers have worked as regional or divisional heads of HR, the fact is clear that managing those roles are not a prerequisite for reaching the top.

The Changing Direction of Winds

Analyzing the backgrounds of new CHROs and the ones who were appointed years ago, there is a reduction in all conventional HR experiences. As only fifty percent of those who were appointed in the past three years have served as regional and divisional HR heads while this percentage was much higher amongst those who were appointed in earlier years.