What CEOs expect from their top HR Executives

January 11th 2017 | Posted by phil scott

What CEOs expect from their top HR Executives

Human resources have always been responsible for the management of a valuable but often overlooked asset of a business – people. The demands on HR functionality within an organisation have increased in recent years, as the business world has changed. HR has become so much more than just the recruitment of staff and the management of their welfare and salaries. HR is now a vital resource in terms of ensuring business objectives are met with efficiency and within budget. So what qualities are CEOs looking for in their top HR executives?

HR business partners driven to succeed in a changing global environment

In today’s global economy there is an expectation from CEOs that their top HR executives are prepared for the challenges of multicultural diversity and a global marketplace. With the global business environment in a perpetual state of change, businesses must adapt to new political, social and economic systems in order to survive. However, in order to have the support network in place to cope with the demands of global business, the HR influence must take effect within the organisation itself – in the immediate business setting – to ensure the best staff are recruited, developed, kept motivated and retained. Senior HR professionals must also promote business values and ethics as well as support individual beliefs within a workplace of diversity. When the workforce feel supported they can then cope with the requirements of the wider business world.

Decision making, influencing and motivating

As the role of senior HR managers has transformed it is a mistake to perceive the HR function as simply the administrative job of doing business. Traditional HR skills must now be combined with a much deeper understanding of business structure and strategy. CEOs expect their HR managers to be business partners taking an active role in influencing key business decisions.

Top HR executives are in a role where they can oversee all business operations. CEOs therefore expect their HR business partners to have a niche talent for identifying the expertise of the workforce, enabling them to match individual employees’ skills to business needs. So as well as focussing on strategic personnel retention and developing talent, HR executives get involved with coaching and mentoring. The support they provide in developing employees to reach their full potential is critical for achieving overall business success.

It’s not all about skills

While professional experience is key to the success of a top HR executive, CEOs are looking for more than simply knowledge and skills; they expect personnel with drive, determination and a fierce ambition to initiate and develop positive change. As well as maximising talent, senior HR managers should become an integral part of the senior management team and should realise their vision to make a real difference. Rather than having a narrow and specialised HR skillset, CEOs want their HR business partners to adopt a broader approach to business. HR executives need the ability to recognise business priorities and manage their workload accordingly. They also need to assert themselves, making their voices heard to demonstrate their value and drive change. In short, CEOs are looking to create an efficient partnership with their top HR executives.

HR executives understand that people make a business

Whether an organisation is undergoing expansion or experiencing a period of instability, CEOs require their HR business partners to come to the fore in terms of their contribution to talent acquisition and management ensuring first-class communication with the workforce. It is imperative that the top talent is retained when a business downsizes and the best talent is attracted for growing businesses.

So, it’s apparent the role of a senior HR executive now holds a more prominent position within the corporate hierarchy. It is people who help a business survive and thrive during times of change and uncertainty and the HR executive leads the people. HR business partners will use all their expertise, knowledge and ambition to ensure the workforce is motivated to stay and develop their personal careers within that organisation rather than looking for a way out.  Succession planning is important to motivate employees and gain their loyalty, for with loyalty comes staff retention.

If CEOs recruit the best HR executives with an innate passion to lead the workforce and actively encourage staff motivation and development, then the result will surely be content, energised staff and great business success.