CHRODaily Accenture CHROs e1674598637397

CHROs want more support from the CEO

Last week Accenture released a report detailing the changing perceptions of CHROs in the minds of CEOs. The analysis found that while HR leaders are now seen as key business drivers, they often lack critical support and resources from CEOs, hampering their efforts to help move the business forward.

Nearly 90% of CEOs surveyed agree that their CHRO should play a central role in ensuring long-term profitable growth. However, less than half (45%) create the conditions for CHROs to thrive and drive business growth.

When it comes to HR, only 29% of CHROs surveyed say they have both the profile and conditions they need to be “high resolution” leaders, defined as leaders who are critical to driving digital transformation, growth business and create a positive employee experience. It’s a chasm attributed to CEOs’ inability to create a roadmap and strategic plan for their HR relationships, says Ellyn Shook, chief leadership and human resources officer at Accenture. But he notes that more CEOs today are realizing the intrinsic value of the role of human resources.

“During COVID, the CHRO has become a gold standard when it comes to caring for people, dealing with the war for talent, and now having to deal with other talent issues in some markets and industries,” says Shook. Namely, HR executives need more support from CEOs and new skills to reflect the changing needs of talent.

Creating the perfect conditions for a high-resolution CHRO requires CEOs to empower their HR manager to act beyond their title and operate as a legitimate business leader. This means giving them access to the latest technology and data and supporting their work in the same way as other C-suite functions such as CFO and CMO. It also means encouraging CHROs to expand their skill sets. Accenture research has found that top skills possessed by top HR leaders include: systems thinking, financial acumen, leadership, technology and data, strategic talent development, and business acumen.

“I’ve never seen a definition of the role of a CHRO where systems thinking plays such a central role,” Shook admits. “But that ability to make connections across the whole value chain is really what’s reflected in that ability.”

On the technology front, Shook says CEOs need to ensure CHROs fully understand relevant data and technology, so they can better drive transformation across the organization. It’s not just about providing training to leaders, but rather giving leaders the opportunity to access and use insights in new ways.

“In my company we have created a cross-functional control tower. I can see stage zero in the sales pipeline and from there understand what skills we need, when we might need them and where we might need them,” says Shook. “This allows me to go down the talent supply chain and ask if those skills are available at that time. Am I in the right place? And do we have the right amount? And if I don’t, then I can start retraining or hiring.

Operating with such technological proficiency to plan talent and growth needs is something many HR executives might not have been able to understand just a couple of decades ago. Now, it is imperative for a business to remain agile and competitive. “This is why it’s so important for a CEO to be clear in their expectation that executives, including CHROs, should act beyond the bounds of their normal role description,” Shook says.

Amber Burton[email protected]@amberburton

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