Those of us that have been in the workplace for more than 25 years have seen and experienced the evolution of the Human Resources function. From being an appendix of the accounting and finance teams back in the 90s with mainly payroll and personnel administration responsibilities to today, where those in charge of the people’s agenda play a key role in critical business decisions, with a permanent seat at the table.
This evolution has transformed the HR function in most of the bigger companies, where priorities shifted from investing only in technology, sales, marketing and financial systems to investing in hiring top talent, developing leadership capabilities and driving organizational culture change. The reason behind it is the fact that most have suffered big losses. Not having the right people in the right jobs at the needed time, not only guarantees losing against the competition but having your company’s future compromised.
For the small and medium-sized businesses this transformation is yet to happen. It is demonstrated that businesses can grow from startups to stable businesses with no people experts whatsoever. Making talent mistakes, losing key people or having an organizational culture that makes the business stagger is seen as bad luck, employees’ fault or bad leadership. Even the market and economic circumstances are sometimes to be blamed.
The good news is that you can turn this around fairly quickly if you recognize that people management can be better strategized, planned and executed for superior results if you have the right subject matter expertise by your side.
A recent Harvard Business Review article, People Before Strategy: A New Role for the CHRO, offers an interesting perspective on how CEOs can empower the role of human resources to gain a trusted business partner. “It is up to the CEO to elevate HR and to bridge any gaps that prevent the CHRO from becoming a strategic partner.” A CHRO or Chief Human Resources Officer, also known as Chief People Officer, is that top strategic people expert that can, among many things: identify gaps between what is required for people to be successful at their work and the behaviors and skills they show to perform; design the best way to compensate and reward people in line with their contributions to the company; define those specific metrics that will predict people’s ROI; diagnose the organizational system and its dynamic to influence and intervene to improve productivity and energy.
Properly empowered, a Chief People Officer and his/her team, can be the force behind your organization’s transformation to achieve profitable growth and sustainability.