Heads of human resources in organisations of the 21st Century have a responsibility to earn their respect through the quality of value proposition they offer to the people side of the business.
Understanding the fundamentals and triggers of the overall business strategy is critical to the relationship they build with the chief executive officers (CEOs) of their companies.
Several CEOs who attended the first Deloitte CEO-CHRO Exchange Forum last week, said they expect more from their human resource managers.
Chief Human Resources Officers (CHROs), popularly known as head of Human Resources, are corporate officers who oversees all aspects of human resource management and industrial relations policies, practices, and operations for an organisation.
Usually, a CHRO is responsible for developing and executing human resource strategy in support of the overall business plan and strategic direction of the organisation, specifically in the areas of succession planning, talent management, change management, organisational and performance management, training and development, and compensation. The CHRO provides strategic leadership by articulating HR needs and plans to the executive management team, shareholders and the board of directors.
Many of the CHROs that participated in the Deloitte Nigeria forum in Lagos acknowledged the critical importance of building a cordial and healthy relationship with the CEO but noted that the reality if slightly different.
“A CEO is a father of all, and should not be showing favouritism to certain department,” Anthony Arabome, HR director, African Finance Corporation (AFC), said during a presentation. “Relationship between CEOs and CHROs should be collaborative, trusting, and progressive. A good CEO must lead by example and be a competent corporate referee.”
Udom Inoyo, executive director, HR at ExxonMobil, said, “CEOs need to recognise that HR is the glue that binds the organisation.”
Nuru Adams, CEO of FCMB, disclosed that a lot of executives were under pressure to deliver their mandates. Hence, they respond more to the managers that speak the language they understand. A well-suited CHRO, for him, is that person that understands the vision of the business and ultimately earns a place on the table.
It works both ways, Wale Agbeyangi, managing director of Cordross Capital, said, saying, “Apart from the CHROs understanding the business, it is important the CEOs understand the intricacies of HR.”
Joseph Olofinsola, partner, West Africa Consulting, Deloitte, clarified the role of CHROs. According to Olofinsola, CHROs provide clarity of vision, connects and integrates HR work to drive business strategy and meet business outcomes.
“CHROs need to work on the business and not just work in the business,” Olofinsola said.