What do senior leaders want in their CHRO?

A new survey has revealed a number of key characteristics the C-suite deems essential for successful CHROs

What do senior leaders want in their CHRO?
In a recent survey, 80% of corporate executives agreed that their firm could not succeed without support from a CHRO who is both assertive and data-driven.
The survey, run by Visier and conducted by Harris Poll, collected answers from 301 executives of US firms with revenues of $1 billion or more. Results such as the one above revealed which CHRO traits were deemed most vital to achieve business success.
Amongst the executives polled, the results most interesting to CHROs are listed below:
  • 81% value business acumen over technical HR skills within senior HR professionals
  • 79% say the CHRO should demonstrate business savvy, creativity and innovation
  • 78% feel it is essential that the CHRO contribute directly to business performance
For those moving up the HR career ladder, the survey found that most executives actually think the best CHRO candidates come from outside the HR function itself.
Overall, 63% of all executives think that the most successful CHROs come from other areas such as finance, operations or legal. This percentage increases for executives in C-suite, chairperson or president positions with 79% of respondents saying that the best CHROs come from outside HR.
“The fact that executives (and CEOs in particular) expect to find top CHRO talent outside the HR function is likely due, in large part, to the perception of HR’s data savviness,” John Schwarz, CEO of Visier, wrote in a corporate blog post.
In particular, CEOs want to see their CHRO in a similar way to the CFO, he said. This means the CHRO has to be a strategic advisor to the business who can utilise hard data when forming strategies.
“When I was CEO of Business Objects … I always valued the HR executives who could provide an informed point of view on talent issues, and even welcomed those opinions that diverged from my own, provided they were based on evidence.”
Executives are seeking potential CHROs in other functions for a reason, Schwarz said: “HR is most often process-oriented – providing support for transactional processes, like hiring, performance reviews, and compensation reviews. But this is less of a focus for executives.”
This can be seen through the survey results with 81% of executives putting core business knowledge over technical HR skills, he added.
Related stories:
How CHROs can build a partnership with their CEO
How can HR introverts grab the CEO’s attention?
Does HR really have a seat at the table?

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