Pankaj Bansal, Co-founder and CEO of PeopleStrong
There are three kinds of CHROs. The first is the CHRO who gets the work done and oversees compliance. The second leads the talent heads, the talent acquisition team and the talent management team. The third kind are the ones who are becoming the transformers or drivers of business. They are more data driven and tech savvy. This third generation of CHROs are expected to be more agile and business centric in their approach, (which I already see happening). We also are looking to see greater representation of such CHROs on the board, which is also taking place.
CHROs today require strategic focus, ample courage and a strong character. While strategic focus was a competency required even in the past, its need today is amplified more than ever. Not just that, the CHRO should have the capability to look at the big picture and have the grit to take decisions and give other management teams the confidence to move forward with their decisions.
Today, the quality of HR in India is not as high as one would hope. Firstly, CHROs have to grapple with the low quality of team members. Secondly, the market is changing at a much faster rate than the evolution of HR thought itself. HR is still not equipped to meet the ambiguity that they face in this fast changing market. Thirdly, they are constantly struggling to align with the board, crippled without the kind of rights that would truly empower them.
If you look at other functions, especially the role of finance, the outcome of the function can be concretely defined. But to define a definitive outcome is a big challenge in HR.
Ideally, HR should have three components – Centers of Excellence, Shared Services on the operating part of HR, and Business Partners of HR who enable business. When these three components are missing, the result does not get translated into the desired employee experience. Currently, HR departments do not have these components, due to which the HR structure is not very effective.
CEOs today have extremely high an expectations from the CHROs and usually do not find the person matching their expectations. But they hire irrespective of that, and this results in unfulfilled expectations.
The dilemma is that on one side the CHRO’s agenda is not aligned with the competencies that his role requires or the CHRO becomes subservient to the CEO’s agenda. On the other side, CEOs expect CHROs to be wholly data-driven, establish a very objective HR structure and align HR strategy with business goals. The CHRO who meets the CEOs expectations will be someone in the middle, who is neither subservient, nor is completely misaligned.
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