REVEALED: What CEOs want from HR

June 18, 2015 Leave your thoughts

CEOs value integrity above all else in HR professionals, and while they expect them to deliver results bosses are not intersted in how they do it, new research has discovered.

Research from University of Reading’s Henley Business School titled, ‘What CEOs want from HR’, has shed some light onto the over-arching motivations of CEOs.

CEOs aren’t interested in the details of HR, instead they merely expect you and your team to deliver the core HR processes well. They will only become interested in the mechanics of HR when it hinders other departments ability to perform.

“CEOs are interested in revenue growth, profitability, innovation, and the ability to retain customers,” says Jeff Schwartz, principal in Deloitte Consulting’s human capital practice and co-leader for Deloitte’s global talent initiative, “They are interested in business issues and talent issues, but not HR issues.”

However, this does not mean they expect silence from you. HR Directors will still be expected to contribute beyond the functionality of their position, with CEOs expecting both a HR Director and a ‘Corporate Director’, who can be active in “counterbalancing the other players around ethical and long-term sustainability issues.” The top of any company is often a lonely place, so, on a personal level, CEOs also need a confidant, someone who they can bounce ideas off or turn to for impartial advice.

Ultimately though, what they value most in a HR Director is integrity. The final question in the research was ‘if you’ve sacked a HR Director, what drove the decision?’ with the consensus among CEOs being a failure of integrity. A failure of technical expertise, strategic thinking, or commercial addressed can be rectified, but a failure of integrity is absolute. It cannot be fixed.

“Integrity is the key,” concluded the report, “But … can it be taught? It is critical that you look for it when you recruit and then constantly reinforce it in every conversation you have with every HR professional in your team. It needs to be a key criterion for promotions. It is also critical that you don’t let people in who have no integrity or let them survive. It is a virus, which CEOs clearly will not tolerate, so it needs to be stamped out.”

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