WorkForce Management online published an article last week entitled What the CEO Wants From HR. The article starts with the statement “At successful large companies, interaction between the CEO and the chief HR executive revolves around building and maintaining the very top layer of corporate leaders—and little below that.” The article goes on to say that in larger companies CEOs are only interested in the talent development activities of HR, especially the development of the upper management levels. It further says that CEOs are not interested in the operational aspects of HR and they have little tolerance of HR leaders who try to position HR operations as a strategic initiative. They expect it do be done and done well but they are not really interested in the day to day. And that is they way it should be.
Well I have news for WorkForce Management. In my experience working with small business the same desire on the part of CEOs is true. They want to know that HR is doing their job and doing it well but they don’t want to know the operational details. They are concerned about having the right people in the right place to do the best job. They don’t care what ID the person presented for the I-9. That only becomes a concern when the HR person screwed up and the company is in trouble. At that point operations becomes an issue! In his book, Human Resource Champions, Dave Ulrich says that one of the key competencies for HR is to be the Administrative Expert. And he says if you do NOT do that WELL you will basically fail at all else you do because you will have no credability. And that is very true. Not only will you have no credability you most likely will have no job.
If you are in HR and trying to be that “strategic player” you have to remember it is all about TALENT, getting it, developing it and keeping it. But that does not mean you can’t let compliance and admistration fall by the wayside. Those things still have to be done and done well. The CEO just doesn’t want to hear about them.
Thanks to Wally Bock for having the pointer to the article in his blog Three Star Leadership.