CEOs on HR: HR’s clear vision

by Josh Gliddon21 Mar 2014
Chris BeerChris Beer, chief executive of eyewear and eye care company Luxottica, says his management philosophy is a little different to that of his peers. That’s because he’s adamant the HR director and HR department make an indelible contribution to the overall running of the business.

“Culture drives performance,” he says. “I also believe that for every person you employ, you have an impact on 10 other people.”

For a company like Luxottica, which employs 8,500 people, the overall impact of the business has to be measured across 85,000 people, including family, friends and other stakeholders.

“Our goal is to be better every day as leaders, and to look after everybody,” he says. “Based on that philosophy, if I was to pick my team, I always start with HR. Most CEOs go the other way.”

Beer adds that he values HRDs who can align the strategy to the culture initiatives and enable the key pillars of the strategy to drive culture and performance.

“An effective HRD needs to be somebody that is intuitive and can partner with me. [They need to] have the big picture and the fundamental building blocks in place and not worry about transactional things,” he says. “In the end, for me and for Luxottica, it’s about strategy through culture.”

Beer’s tips for HR working with the CEO
  1. There has to be a common value about what culture and performance is. If there is a common philosophy [about] what the objectives are, you feel comfortable aligning with that.
  2. Can you make strategy happen? We have a culture that is very caring, but has an edge to it. We want to grow future talent. We invest in leadership development, but you have to perform.
  3. Be clear what value you add.