What do CEOs really think of HR?

by Miklos Bolza21 Aug 2015
“[If] you peel back the layers at the vast majority of companies, you find CEOs who are distanced from and often dissatisfied with their chief human resources officers (CHROs) and the HR function in general," wrote the Harvard Business Review (HBR) in July.

However, a new survey by the 
Economist Corporate Network (ECN) entitled, Aligned for success? Strategy, talent management and the role of the CEO in Asia: The picture in South-east Asia, begs to differ.

The report found that 82% of Asian CEOs see their head of HR as a key player in their organisation’s strategic planning. This is higher than the global average of 55% - a trend which may stem from the characteristics of Asian economies.
 
“Given the shortages of staff, and especially leaders, any plans for the future must necessarily consider the implications for talent,” the report writes.
 
Additionally, an overwhelming 90% of CEOs said the HR strategies of the organisation aligned with their business strategies, another indicator of this parallel thinking between the two parties.
 
As the HBR was reporting on a global rather than local trend, this shows that Asian CEOs are much more in sync with their HR teams. This can be seen in the original ECN report which found that 81% of Asian organisations conscientiously take a proactive HR approach where “the HR head has a seat at the strategic table and is actively engaged in strategy formation”.

The ECN survey also asked Asian CEOs about how they defined talent management. For the vast majority, it included attracting and retaining the right people, creating a talent pool or pipeline, and succession planning.
 
This means CEOs tend to see HR in strategic rather than functional terms. In fact, very few actually defined talent management as including training, maintaining the current workforce and evaluating performance which shows there may be some disparity between how CEOs and HRDs perceive the role of HR within an organisation.
 
In other bad news, only 15% of HR departments in Asia use a fully integrated tech solution for all aspects of talent management. Considering the strategic importance of performance management, L&D and compensation management within an organisation, this is one factor which CEOs and HRDs should seriously think about improving.

What do you think? Are you in sync with your CEO? Please leave us a comment below!
 
Related articles:
 
Survey unveils top APAC HR priorities
 
How is HR viewed by senior leaders?
 
Do CEOs spend enough time on HR?

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