Knowledge Center: Publication

Human Resources Officers

Transforming the Future. The CHRO as Chief Change Officer

11/12/2014 Lauren M. Doliva
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Today’s top CEOs now expect the CHRO to be adept in general management skills with broad business perspectives and a strategic mindset as a business leader. The key charge for the CHRO functionally is to turn talent management into an instrument of business transformation that advances strategy, develops agile leaders, and coalesces in culture. How do outstanding CHROs unite these strategic and operational demands? By becoming, in effect, the chief change officers of the organization.

No role in the C-suite has been transformed more – or has the opportunity to become more transformative for business – than that of Chief Human Resources Officer (CHRO). As CEOs have increasingly recognized the value of talent to drive business outcomes, they expect CHROs to possess broad business acumen and to transform traditional HR practices into powerful competitive advantages creating a new way of working in a world of continuous change.

Says William P.Sullivan, CEO of Agilent Technologies, “I have always believed that a CHRO has a much bigger role than employment strategies alone. We’ve seen proof of that at Agilent where our HR leaders have a deep understanding of business strategies and are always at the table in making strategic decisions and shaping the company’s direction.”

To fulfill this strategic role, the CHRO must possess a broad range of business knowledge and leadership skills, including:

  • Vigilance in scanning the external environment to anticipate business and talent threats and opportunities.
  • Strategic thinking skills to work with the CEO and executive team to set direction.
  • Cross-functional business understanding with a P&L orientation.
  • The courage and decisiveness, to prioritize, to succeed – or to fail fast and move forward.
  • The conceptual skills to shape the organization to meet tomorrow’s demographic challenges.
  • Financial acumen to broadly balance resources and understand the financial implications and trade-offs of investments in every aspect of the business, including talent.
  • Technological savvy to drive efficiencies and to engage the workforce through innovations in technology solutions.
  • A risk management perspective with regard to talent.
  • The ability to convey the importance of talent at all levels as a fiduciary issue to the board and the leadership team.
  • Legal literacy to help ensure a culture of compliance and integrity at every level of the organization and across borders.
  • Operational ability to ensure that the transactional aspects of HR are well executed in a world of fast-moving and changing expectations of the employee population.

To download the complete version of this thought piece, please click here.

Lauren M. Doliva Partner Emerita +1 415 9812854

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