It’s up to CHROs to set a truly talent-driven tone for their organizations.
Most top executives recognize the competitive advantage of hiring and retaining an exceptional workforce. Yet the talent practices of their companies are often vestiges of another era, based on
organizational charts and static work processes.
In their new book, Talent Wins: The New Playbook for Putting
People First (Harvard Business Review Press, 2017), Ram Charan and
his co-authors Dominic Barton and Dennis Carey call for the dramatic
reinvention of the HR role so that the chief human resource ofcer
(CHRO) works alongside the CEO and CFO to manage human capital
with the same rigor that is applied to fnancial capital.
The authors argue that it’s time to adopt a novel approach that
eschews hierarchy and recognizes the need for agility. It’s a transforma-
tion that starts with the CHRO.
“The point is to broaden your perspective, so when you look at
problems, it’s not a narrow ‘siloed’ view,” says Charan, a Dallas-
based business consultant with an MBA from Harvard and more than
25 books to his credit. He shares more insights below.
How can CHROs gain the trust of
CEOs and CFOs?
Trust comes when the CHRO demonstrates that he or she understands the
issues the CEO and CFO are wrestling with and speaks their language.
That means top HR executives must
demonstrate business savvy. Where
should we place a talented leader so
the person can create the most value?
What capabilities must we build
within our workforce and how? What
hiring moves are competitors making
and how might those afect us?
What’s the best way for HR professionals to gain business savvy within
My co-authors and I frmly believe
HR leaders must spend time outside
HR working in operational jobs. The
tipping point has come where you
need CHROs who also have experience in a diferent function.
What next-generation technologies
will help HR transform companies
into talent-driven organizations?
The biggest change will be in the use
of algorithms and artifcial intelligence to remove unconscious bias
in making decisions about people. It
will be predictive—meaning it will
analyze complex factors to suggest
what kinds of individuals to hire
to reduce turnover and how
to spot leadership potential
in someone buried deep in
What are the keys to
developing an ideal
One of the
system is that the
bosses still need to
to take stock of a person’s develop-
ment. A year is too long for people to
wait to hear how they’re doing, espe-
cially for Millennials. But feedback
must be thoughtful, and leaders
must devote time to it. Another les-
son from GE is the simplicity of the
input: Managers coach the person
on what to keep doing and what to
change. It is always wise to identify
specifc areas for improvement and
to limit them to tackling just one or
two things at a time.
Talent Wins makes the case that
some workers should be able to
earn more than managers. Does
that include HR?
Compensation decisions are complicated, but our belief is that they
should be largely based on two
things: value creation and market
value. If HR professionals are making major contributions to business
decisions, their compensation should
What’s your advice for young
If you want to move up, seek
out new opportunities. Take
chances by moving into an
unfamiliar role, and
about the industry
and the external
talent moving to
center stage, it is
a great time to be
in HR—as long as
you have the thirst to
David Ward is a freelance writer based in
North Carolina. PHOT