Winning over anti-HR CEOs

If your CEO sees HR in a negative light, what steps can you take to undo these perceptions?

Winning over anti-HR CEOs
While in general, the HR function has evolved and now mostly has a seat at the table, some CEOs may still view it as an annoyance or something far less strategic.
Christina Ho, head of executive development services at the Marketing Institute of Singapore (MIS), talked to HRD about what could be done to demonstrate the value that HR can bring to a business.
More than administrative
For CEOs who see HR as a purely administrative function, practitioners should develop case studies and demonstrate the role that HR plays both within the organisation and in other firms, Ho said.
“The key is to amplify the success that the organisation has gained as a result of active HR involvement. The most important thing is for HR to demonstrate the value it can provide.”
Create specific cases of how HR adds value in areas such as talent management, succession planning, compensation & benefits, performance management and employee satisfaction, Ho said. These cases must be aligned to the organisation’s goals as well.
“HR directors need to create specific measurements for the HR function which align to the bigger goals of the organisation and actively drive initiatives, awareness and deliverables of HR functions through internal communication and marketing.”
Conducting organisational health checks and voice of employee (VOE) surveys are two ways to increase staff engagement and maximise exposure, she added.
“HR directors should establish their presence as a key cornerstone for collaborative partnership with other departments, be it in driving revenue, reducing project costs, identifying talents for business continuity, etc.”
Leveraging technology and big data solutions may also help the CEO recognise and appreciate the value that HR can bring to the organisation.
Financially beneficial
If the CEO prefers to align with the CFO and merely sees HR as spending instead of saving money, HR should work collaboratively with the CFO and be more involved in projects that maximise profitability.
“HR is viewed as an ‘indirect cost component’ which basically means they do not directly contribute to the bottom-line of the organisation,” Ho said. “Making themselves visible in these projects and demonstrating their contribution and impact to the role of the CFO is a large consideration.”
The expectation here is to have the CFO recognise the impact of HR and thus justify its existence to the CEO.
“It is equally important for the HR personnel to build a formidable relationship with the CEO, so that needs and goals can be anticipated and worked on for the organisation to grow.”
As well as building a relationship with the CEO, HR can also facilitate relationship building between the CEO and the rest of the organisation, she said.
“The HR director and CEO also have to be clear on the roles and responsibilities of the HR team and its deliverables. Communication is essential in the effective functioning of any organisation.”
Related stories:
Does HR really have a seat at the table?
Dealing with the HR identity crisis
How to get along with your CFO

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