Recession an opportunity to partner with CEOs

by 18 May 2009

HR leaders need to understand their business from the bottom up and how it competes in the marketplace in order to add value for their CEO, according to a US HR expert.

“CEOs need HR leaders who can add value to strategic decisions,” said Wayne Cascio, global leadership chair at the University of Colorado’s School of Business.

“They want HR leaders who are comfortable with numbers and are able to discern their implications, and they want HR leaders who can convey important intelligence about the workforce – likes, dislikes, preferences, and aspirations.”

Cascio said CEOs want to have confidence that HR leaders are true partners when it comes to managing talent and competing on “smarts”.

In response to the downturn, he also said that the best HR leaders are responding with courage, conviction and inspiration.

“They are serving as the conscience of the CEO, and actively influencing him or her to communicate a vision for the future of the business and to share information (the truth) with the rest of the organisation on a regular basis,” he said.

“The best HR leaders are driving change; not just implementing changes from the agenda set by other executives.”

In addition to this, good HR leaders are keeping abreast of changes in the economic, political and legal environments, and are able to describe the implications of those changes to senior executives.

“The best HR leaders are actively modeling high ethical behavior, and are being proactive in encouraging others to do the same,” he said.

“If the message to the organisation is ‘We’re all in this together,’ the best HR leaders ensure that an egalitarian philosophy matches actual practices in areas such as compensation, (sharing the pain), incentives (sharing gains), and performance management (ensuring that every employee knows where he or she stands).”


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