First day of anyone’s first job is always special. I still remember my first day which was over two decades ago. I was a graduate engineer fresh out of college, starting my career with big dreams! The first person I met was the Chief Personnel Officer. He introduced himself as the go-to person and guardian for all personnel related policies, practices and compliance to regulatory requirements. He gave me a printed booklet which had most of this information and requested me to read it carefully. This was the last time I had a meeting with him during my five-year tenure in that company. I could indirectly see that this role was administrative in nature, assisting in attaining recruitment goals, interviewing senior candidates, keeping the policies updated, employee training and employee satisfaction interventions.
Over the last 25 years this role has evolved big time. The title of “Chief Personnel Officer” is almost redundant today and the Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO) is a more popular title. However the change is more on the scope and focus of this job. Today’s CHROs are witnessing four significant shifts happening around them.
- Social business– Today’s workforce are avid users of social media tools in their personal life and are looking for a similar experience in their professional life. Many organizations have implemented social and collaboration platforms to facilitate this need. Organizations do realize that collaboration across supply chain is essential to produce superior business results and client satisfaction.
- Big Data Analytics– Volume and Variety of HR data collected ranges from sources like applicants, employees, surveys, assessments,performance evaluations, expert analysis, tagged skills in social media and so on. The challenge increases multi-fold since majority of the data is in unstructured formats and impossible to store them in rows and columns. It is safe to say- “All data in HR is Big Data.”. Today’s sophisticated technology can derive deep insights from this data and predict outcomes.
- Behavioral Science– Organizations are increasingly using science based assessments to hire. Companies are seeing benefits in accurately predicting cultural fit that is tailored to the drivers of their organization and match that accurately with that of the candidates’. The focus on deriving insights of human behavior is greater than ever before.
- Rise of Independent Worker– Gone are the days when organizations had the tolerance to hire and train employees and expect peak productivity in 4-6 months time. In today’s connected and highly competitive world, workforce is expected to start being fully productive much earlier. There is also a bigger focus on “specialization” and depth in expertise which has increased the lime light on independent workers.
Here are some common characteristics I see today with individuals who are performing this role successfully:
- Elevate talent related initiatives to board room discussions
- Enabling the organization towards replacing “guess work” and bring in “precision” in human decisions via analytics
- Foster collaboration across the supply chain to accelerate client experience
- Lead by example in adoption of social platform
- Listen to the voice of organization and align employee engagement initiatives
- Enable employees with the information they need including today’s popular system of engagement- Mobile
- Outsource operational HR processes
Today’s successful CHROs are adapting well to these shifts and also exploiting them to their advantage. Those who are not, must quickly realize change is imminent.