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Human Resources Should Have the Seat at the Head of the Table

May 22nd, 2018

female business leaderA new book is helping to make the case that the path to CEO should pass through HR.

In Talent Wins: The New Playbook for Putting People First, the authors make a powerful case for CHROs to lead the management of an organization's human capital. An article on the website of the Society for Human Resource Management quotes this passage from the book:

"Leaders at talent-driven companies are as focused on talent as they are on strategy and finance. They make talent considerations an integral part of every major strategic decision."

The article then asks, "Does that mean those organizations should have chief executives with backgrounds in HR?" The clear answer is a resounding "yes."

Pointing out that the CEOs of companies with such household names as Dunkin' Donuts, General Motors and Xerox are all led by HR professionals, the article cites Deloitte's  2018 Global Human Capital Trends report which declares that the traditional metrics by which a company is measured -- financial performance and product or service quality -- have been supplemented by "their relationships with their workers, their customers and their communities as well as their impact on society at large." These factors have long been the domain of human resources.

Gaylyn Sher-Jan, chief people officer and vice president of enterprise services for one of Boeing's companies, unequivocally says, "HR leaders are perfect for the chief executive role."

"Chief people officers and CHROs are ready to take on the business functions, customers and internal operations now that they've had a seat at the table," she says. "Their ability to handle and navigate the tough issues of culture, ethics and values puts them in a unique position for leadership."

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