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The Future of HR Partnerships

The Future of HR PartnershipsSeventy percent of CEOs expect the Chief HR Officer (CHRO) to be a key player in enterprise strategy, but only 55% say CHROs are meeting this expectation.

Many HR leaders are ill-prepared for this greater responsibility; in fact, only 20% of Fortune 250 CHROs have working experience outside the HR function.

CHROs, therefore, need strong relationships across the C-suite to plan and achieve more—and more cross-functional—enterprise objectives.

What is the state of these relationships today? We asked executives from Finance, IT, Compliance, Audit, and R&D about their peer relationships with their CHROs and what HR must do to create a successful organization in the future.

Four major themes emerged from these conversations:

First, healthy functional partnerships start with network performance1.

Executives are eager to leverage HR’s enterprise-wide reach to source and share best practices that save time and money. They also want help attracting, developing, and retaining the talent they will need to transform their functions.

Similarly, progressive CHROs are capitalizing on cross-functional relationships, making use of other functions’ unique capabilities to develop products and services to better manage talent.

Second, executives highly value CHRO coaching.

A CHRO must be a strong peer coach to establish and maintain personal partnerships within the C-suite. Executives appreciate being able to ask a CHRO for direct feedback on their own projects, for advice when making talent decisions, and for help when preparing for challenging talent conversations.

Third, great HR support goes beyond talent management.

The best CHROs and HR leaders are business leaders first—business leaders who focus on HR. They apply their business acumen to proactively identify issues impacting strategy to influence talent and non-talent decisions alike. They are fully integrated members of the leadership team who effectively prioritize talent solutions that have the greatest impact on business results, and they meet their commitments to delivering them.

Last, big data is creating big expectations for HR’s future.

Rapid technological advances are changing how work is done. C-suite executives expect that these advances, in addition to new investments in HR analytics, will enable the HR function to bring more insightful and scientific talent analytics to management decision making.

1 Network performance: improving others’ performance and using others’ contributions to improve one’s own performance.

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One Response

  • Bruce Kneuer says:


    I appreciated the notion of “network [non-IT] performance” and I tweeted about it just now. I don’t think you have a Twitter handle, but if you do, glad to tweet again and tag you. I used CEB_news as the source handle.


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