HR as CEOs - Respecting Human Value

Posted in Human Resources Articles, Total Reads: 2324 , Published on 15 November 2011

“Leading CEOs are keenly aware of the value of their people,” says Jack Welch, the now retired CEO of General Electric: “The day we screw up the people thing, this company is over.” Bill Gates of Microsoft puts it this way: “Take our 20 best people away and I can tell you that Microsoft would become an unimportant company. Sam Walter the founder of Wal Mart when asked about his success replied “people are the key”.


Out of the 3 main requirements of a business i.e, Resources, Processes & People; People is the only long term sustainable advantage an organization has as resources can be acquired and processes can be imitate.

According to a recent McKinsey Report 6 out of the 10 issues engaging CEOs are people issues. Out of the four most important duties of a CEO, CEO’s 2nd duty is building culture and third is Team Building; both the duties require people orientation and skills. We have come across many CEOs with great intellectual capabilities but they could not succeed in the job of CEO, though they were great managers

In the present knowledge based economy when value of intangible assets such as intellectual capital, brand value, innovative ideas is outdoing the value of had assets CEOs need to be focused on how to optimize their people and should be able to work closely with their key people to be able to co-create.

Above mentioned facts reiterates that to be a successful CEO one needs skill beyond functional expertise, one needs to have team building skills, so that one can manage cross functional teams with productivity, one needs to connect well with the employees to align them with business goals and his vision, one needs to identify the needs and aspirations of its people so that right thing is offered to right people.

With the above mentioned facts the million dollar question arises that when HRs have required skills to succeed in their job, why only a few CEOs belong to HR function. I am sure a meticulous count will hardly make it to a double digit number. The two main issues hindering the road of HR becoming CEO are:

•   Intent of HRs: In a recent survey only 27% of VP HRs expressed their intent to become CEOs.

•  Lack of faith of other departments:  HR function is essentially seen as a support function, and this transition is usually unachievable to them.

What is required from HRs part is to have confidence and gain skills by moving laterally in the organizations, they should also express interest in other functions and gain insight into working of the business organization is in and organizations on their part should give a fair opportunity to HRs to prove their mettle and respect the key skills HR bring to the table. HRs should step out of the comfort zone and make the move as the transformation in the perception of people is required lest the path to becoming CEOs is closed for HRs forever.

This article has been authored by Aastha Garg from IMT Ghaziabad


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