Why CHROs Don't Become CEOs in Our Company

Why CHROs Don't Become CEOs in Our Company

Feb 28, 2023

Among the CEOs of the top 100 companies worldwide, barely a CEO comes from the HR domain. The exceptions are MetLife, Areva, General Motors, and Xerox to mention a few.  

It is obvious, that a CEO needs to know to a great extent everything - Finance, Marketing, Technology, Process, and Strategy in and out. People skills are the basics, that one expects from him, and even though people management is a major task that he needs to handle in all circumstances. 

How do you expect the CEO to create a rapport or close working relationship with the CFO, CTO, or CMO or with all of them if he has no know-how in their areas? Cross-functional expertise is of utmost importance. Lack of expertise in other work domains for HR is one of the reasons for CHRO not being considered as one of the promising candidates for the CEO portfolio, no matter how competent he or she may be in their domain. 

Moreover, the HR domain is being influenced by the strong bias of activities like planning cultural activities, holding seminars, inviting motivational speakers, arranging Interviews, organizing health check-ups, organizing blood donation camps, sports-day arrangement, health and welfare activities of employees, maintaining a harmonious relationship between labor and management, etc. 

Whenever we talk about HR, we recall the above stereotypical activities. It’s time to ask HRO whether He or She, what have you done to come out of this stereo image about their Profession. 

Many Stereotypes biased against the HR profession are outright toxic, poisonous, degrading, humiliating, inglorious, and demeaning, but getting offended or displeased will not change anything. The huge load lies on the shoulders of CHRO to deny or to remove or to eliminate misapprehended, misinterpreted, or misread information and witticism against the HR function and ensure that they do not get the corner seat. They have to work hard to change the stereotypes or remain offended in isolation. 

Further, no functional achievement of the HR function is being noticed or appreciated in comparison with other work domains. HR works more or less on intangible things that would not glare the eyes of management for being noticed exceptionally. Have you ever heard of any company where CHRO is being awarded for substantially improving productivity by reducing employee attrition and dissatisfaction towards company management? 

Have you ever done anything tangible to change CHRO? 

Excelling beyond expectation and standing out clearly above your work domain is the biggest requirement for any domain leader to qualify as CEO. 

If you haven't achieved something extraordinary in your work domain, be assured that you won't even be considered for cross-functional exposure, let alone the CEO's job.

Being a People person is just ‘NOT Enough’! 

Today’s CHROs need to evolve. They should own the human capital agenda. They should operate just as a ‘Business Unit President’ does, and be accountable to the CEO.  

CHROs are in the people business and People do matter along with Business.